Writer  /  Leigh Lawson
Photographer  /  Penny Buechter

If you have ever attended a performance of the CGHS show choirs, you probably sat in pure awe of the talent and incredible efforts that went into the production. How can a high school show choir program be this amazing, so amazing that they won a national title in 2015? It is with the leadership of directors Jennifer Dice, who leads CG Sound System and Surround Sound, and Jared Norman, who leads The Debtones and Accents. Alongside Dice and Norman is a vast team of contributors from design experts to parent volunteers.

To develop a choir season full of spectacular performances, Dice and Norman begin in March for the next school year. Greg Sanders, the arranger/pianist, and Andy Haines, the choreographer, join Dice and Norman for the selection of the music. Then the creative process turns to costume design when they begin to work with a designer.

Once the designs of the costumes are complete, the head costume mothers, Wendy Webb and Madonna Thompson, come into the process for input on the execution of the costume designs. Then it requires many hours of parent volunteers, referred to as “Closet Moms,” to bring visions and concepts to reality. A schedule provides organization of the parent volunteers to help with sewing the costumes and adding sequins and rhinestones. Adding a bit of sparkle is so crucial to making a visually stunning performance that there is a budget specifically made for the sequins alone!

For the stages’ sets, Dice and Norman look to CGHS alumni Scott Billik for the designs. Billik is currently in graduate school studying scene design. When the designs for the sets are determined, the “Tech Dads” are ushered into the process. The team of fathers then goes to work on creating the sets. Jim Webb and Carey Slater lead this year’s group of fathers.

It takes organization to coordinate the enormous tasks of taking the creative visions to the actual performances and competitions. Behind the team is Center Grove Choir Parent Organization. Board members will decide upon fundraising, volunteer coordination and logistics for competitions.

Board member Luanne Wright’s role is coordinating home events with fellow board member Heidi Wright. Luanne and her family have a long history of involvement in basketball, so when her youngest son, Noah, decided that he wanted to be a part of the show choir, the Wrights entered this very unfamiliar world.

The entire family has embraced this new experience, enjoying the show with Noah and watching him participate in something he loves. She states, “Noah just belongs on the stage. It has honestly been the best thing for him. It has defined him throughout high school.”

Dice appreciates the CGCPO for all of their contributions over the years. Many parents even continue being a part of the productions after their student graduates, and several students return to offer assistance in the productions. She knows that her choir parents will go the extra mile for the choirs. “CGCPO is one of the greatest booster programs that you will find anywhere,” Dice says. “The parents have a servant’s heart and do whatever is necessary to make the program a success.”

With the support Dice receives from her choir families, she has a great deal of gratitude. Over her tenure at CGHS, Dice knows that she is fortunate. She cannot pinpoint any certain cherished memory because she has treasured every season and every step of the way of her time at CGHS.

She says, “Each year and each group of kids provides its own unique memories, and I am just so thrilled to have been hired to work here along with my husband 10 years ago. Our family is Center Grove to the core, and we are blessed to be here.”

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