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News from 2022-2023

Posted: May 1, 2023

APS Middle School Choir Ranks First in National Competition

Eisenhower students deliver show-stopping performances in California.

After intense months of rehearsals, singing, dancing, choreographing, fundraising, and costume designing, the Eisenhower Middle School’s Five Star Show Choir took the show on the road last month for two national competitions held in California. Both events were showstoppers that earned the 46 participating students and Show Choir Director William Gonzales first place.

In one of the winning performances, the Show Choir revived the 1973 Doobie Brother’s song, “Long Train Runnin.'” The teamwork that goes into a joyous, fast-paced, and carefully executed performance like “Long Train Runnin'" may look effortless to audiences unfamiliar with the physical demands, dedication, and support required to produce a winning performance. 

The art form’s origins at Albuquerque Public Schools date back to the 1960s. Highland High School first introduced what was then known as Swing Choir. Over 20 years, “swing” evolved into “show” choir, incorporating more elaborate lighting and sound stages, a more eclectic catalog of music, and quickly establishing itself as one of the most diverse clubs on campus.

APS offers three Show Choir programs at La Cueva and Volcano Vista High Schools and Eisenhower Middle School. The art groups are supported by school staff, supportive families, and high-functioning booster clubs that make travel to events like the April national competitions possible. The Eisenhower Choir Boosters Club is another standout group, having been recognized as the district’s 2023 APS Outstanding Volunteer Team.

All extracurricular activities are made stronger by community involvement. However, the students benefit most when they sign up for clubs like Show Choir that allow them the opportunity to explore their interests, refine their talents, make new friends, and learn sportsmanship.

“Choir means many things to me, but first and foremost, it’s a place where you belong unconditionally,” said Elsa Dhonau-Egan, an eighth-grade Show Choir member. “To be in choir is to have a second family, one which shares at least one similar interest with you – a love of singing.”

Choir Director Gonzales agrees that choir can be a game-changer for many students, “This activity teaches life lessons and academic lessons. Show Choir is physically engaging for students, promotes teamwork, reinforces a strong work ethic, and provides a creative outlet for everyone involved.”

The arts have always been a necessary component of a well-rounded education. APS is committed to moving forward with plans to phase in both an art teacher and a music teacher in every elementary school. By August, 78 of our 89 elementary schools will have a music and art teacher. 

APS believes the sense of connection the arts bring to a community is invaluable. So, while the school year is ending, the shows will go on next season. Anyone who craves the high energy, excitement, and awe of a live performance may want to attend an APS choir show next school year, where some of the nation’s best performers will again take center stage.