Displaying growth and dedication

When the curtain falls on the vocalists and instrumental students at the close of the annual Iowa Central Community College Showcase concert Thursday and Friday, it will be for many the end of a two-year run on the local stage.

“Really, this is our sophomore’s final harrah,” said Kathleen Schreier, choral director. “Our freshmen will come back, but our sophomores are going to leave us and we hate to see them go.”

Band director Paul Bloomquist agreed.

“They have such great strength and leadership,” he said. “They have a really good spirit, and I really want to commend the concert band. They are a lot of great players, but they step up as a single unit and make a great sound.”

Performances will be at 1 and 7 p.m. Thursday and 7 p.m. Friday at Decker Auditorium on the college’s main campus.

As part of the Showcase program a special recognition of the graduating sophomores will be observed, and according to the department’s instructors, it’s an honor well deserved.

“This particular group raised the bar for perseverance,” Schreier said. “They wanted an education and you could tell because they were here putting in the time and energy. The practice rooms were always taken.”

It’s that dedication that will launch the sophomores into successful future endeavours, she said, whether those occur while the students continue on at a four-year college or of they find a means of immediately applying what they’ve learned during the past two years.

It is also that dedication that will make for a dazzling final show.

“I’ve really been able to challenge them,” Bloomquist said, “both the sophomores and the freshmen.”

Schreier agreed, adding that from challenge and comes growth.

“One of the biggest pluses of the community college level is that you really do see them grow as performers,” she said. “The metamorphosis, the growth in their knowledge and skills, is both surprising and wonderful.”

Audiences will be able to see just how polished and proficient the students have become when the Encore Singers, concert band, concert choir, and jazz band fill the auditorium with the musical pieces they have mastered. A select brass ensemble that includes a tuba, three trumpets, a French horn and a trombone will also perform, and several soloists will claim the spotlight throughout the program.

Among the selections to be played by the instrumental students are “Circus Days” by Karl King, “Song for Japan” by Steven Veribest, a galop from a larger piece called “Moscow Cherysomski,” a jazz ballad called “Loney Street” and a funk tune by Jaco Pastorius called “The Chicken.”

Vocal performances will include renditions of “Somewhere,” an arrangement by Robert Edgerton of the “West Side Story” classic by Leonard Bernstein, “Let the River Run,” an arrangement by Craig Hella Johnson of a Carly Simon hit, and “Tonight is What It Means to Be Young,” an arrangement by Dean Menten of the popular single featured in the 1980s cult movie “Streets of Fire.”

Throughout the performances, the talent of both freshmen and sophomores will energize the auditorium, Schreier said.

Just be prepared for a few tears mixed in with the excitement.

“We all get pretty sentimental,” she said.