The Candyman (Jonah Lagrange) sings  to the Candy Kids in the 2023 musical Willy Wonka. LaGrange is a senior involved in choir, show choir and theater.
The Candyman (Jonah Lagrange) sings to the Candy Kids in the 2023 musical “Willy Wonka.” LaGrange is a senior involved in choir, show choir and theater.
Gavin Visser

Healing Sounds

Senior singer excels in choir but plans for a medical future
Reporter Claire Nuismer talks with Antler of the Week, senior Jonah LaGrange.

He may not be Superman, but he’s pretty close. This mild-mannered senior does everything from show choir to building sets for the musical to college-level medical classes. Like Clark Kent, he remains humble despite his talents and successes and he is this weeks Antler of the Week.

Senior Jonah LaGrange’s music career started in sixth grade when choose to take choir as his required music class.

“I went into show choir in sixth grade, and wanted to quit that, but (retired EMS music teacher) Mrs. Wortman, the choir teacher, kind of kept me there,” LaGrange said. “My love for that grew and I started musical theater freshman year. I was planning on just doing (backstage) crew, but (music teacher) Mrs. Thompson wanted me to be on stage, so I started on-stage roles.”

Through music, LaGrange found many things he enjoys, such as singing, acting, and building sets. In this year’s musical he helped build sets and was cast in the role of the Candy Man.

“My favorite part of working with the musical this year was probably all the special effects and building I got to do,” LaGrange said. “The planning for the flying scenes was a lot of fun to do in terms of what people saw on stage. That took a lot of planning, a lot of extra time.”

With all the extra time he puts into music-related events, LaGrange said it often takes sacrifices to get everything done.

“I have a lot to balance, so it really involves staying up and having a lot of late nights,” LaGrange said. “I’m not going to lie, a lot of late mornings even. I’m running back and forth from UNMC back here a lot of days after school to get places. I have tutoring in the morning, so it involves having to make time more often than it does to find time.”

All-State Choir is this weekend, and LaGrange earned a spot in the choir this year after not going since his freshman year. He explained that it’s a lot of extra work to prepare for it, all starting before the summer, but he’s excited to do it with his friends this year after having to do it over Zoom his freshman year.

“You practice over summer break either with a private voice coach or just on your own with practice tracks they provide,” LaGrange said. “You audition in September and then you get your results back in November. Then you have to practice in November to get to a point where you can go to All-State and perform that song, so it takes a lot of time outside of school.”

Even with all the work he puts into music, LaGrange doesn’t see music as a priority in his future, but he said he still wants to keep it as a part of his life.

“I don’t really have any future plans in music, in terms of a major or minor in music. I’ll probably do a chamber choir, jazz choir, something like that in college,” LaGrange said. “Maybe build some sets, I don’t know.”

Although he may not be focusing on music in college, he is already preparing for his future by participating in a program called the UNMC High School Alliance. This is an opportunity for high school students to further their medical knowledge by taking college-level classes at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

“I go there for half of my day and I take medical school classes,” LaGrange said. “Right now I’m in biomedical research, medical imaging, and radiology and then next semester I’m going to be in pathology and anatomy.”

LaGrange said his final goal is to be a surgeon, either cardiovascular, trauma, or neurosurgeon, so he is trying to get ahead of the game as much as he can.

“I am trying to gain some experience because I want to go into the medical field after college,” LaGrange said. “I’m trying to gain some unique experiences outside of just normal high school classes.”


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About the Contributors
Lea Naujokaitis
Lea Naujokaitis, Reporter
Lea is a sophomore and a first-year reporter for the Antler Express.
Claire Nuismer
Claire Nuismer, Reporter
Claire is a senior and a first-year reporter for the Antler Express.
McKenzie Carlson
McKenzie Carlson, Editor-in-Chief
Kenzie is a senior and serves as editor-in-chief for the Antler Express. This is her second year on staff.
Gavin Visser
Gavin Visser, Reporter
Gavin is a former staff member of the Antler Express.
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