New instructor bringing show choir to District 25

Mar 21, 2014 By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer

Fifteen students have joined Riverton High School's choir program since new vocal instructor Jon Marquez began work Feb. 17.

Marquez, the choir teacher for the high school and middle school, said the high school program had 25 students when he began. It now boasts 40 members.

He credited the enrollment to new ideas he offered to students. He said he plans to incorporate a competitive show choir experience that District 25 currently lacks.

"I planonboosting enrollment by starting a show choir here in Riverton as well as maintaining the vocal jazz ensemble," he said. "I'm also starting a high school men's choir that meets outside of the school day."

The program is causing a lot of excitement among students, Marquez said, and he plans to start it this semester.

He said the show choir will be similar to the teen musical comedy-drama television series "Glee."

"Students perform rigorous dance routines while singing four- and five-part music," Marquez said. "(Then) the members of the groups meet together at the competition and battle it out for the title of 'Grand Champion.'"

Competitive show choir often is seen as part of the school choir programs in Nebraska, Iowa, Utah and South Dakota, Marquez said.

Marquez attended high school in Alliance, Neb., and later graduated from Chadron State College in Chadron, Neb., where he was a voice major and trumpet player. He then directed two years of competitive show choir and four high school musicals at Chadron High School. Most recently he was a student teacher at the Millard school district in Omaha, Neb., where he also directed competitive show choir and assisted directing the high school musical.

He praised music director Aric Hageman for being a positive mentor and said the district has "wonderful facilities" that he is eager to work in.

"They're really excited to have me here, so that makes it a lot easier," Marquez said.

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