Measuring Up

Elkhorn’s infamous show choir, Excel, competes for the first time in two years.


Alex Haug

Excel prepares for their first competition at Lincoln East.

Charlee Sharack, Reporter

A new wave of performers joined the ranks of Elkhorn High’s varsity show choir.

 Since COVID-19 began, show choir was at almost a standstill. When Omaha schools reopened for the fall semester of 2020, Director Abby Thompson announced that Excel would not participate in any competitions. There would be no costumes to aid in the show’s storytelling. This year, Excel is back in full swing. 

From last year’s group, 29 members were a part of the graduating class of 2021. Thus, there are only a few returning members who have varsity experience. 

“I think that there are really big shoes to fill. In recent years, Excel got a lot of wins, and that is something we have to work on [acheiving]. Their legacy is so great, and because of that, we have to prove ourselves,” junior Shae Traynor said.

Senior and second-year Excel member Mckenna Flynn assumed a leadership role this year. The group voted her to be the alto section leader. While practicing for performances, Flynn was concerned about the team’s preparedness. 

“I think we need to work on having more energy, and I think we need to be more precise and cleaner with our moves,” Flynn said. 

Since they had a two-year break, Flynn considered that it may be hard to realize how precise choreography must be during competitions. The underclassmen have never had the opportunity to experience a competition season.

“The fact that we are competing is important because we can hear about different views of our performance. So, I would say that hearing that feedback will be really important,” sophomore Darla Crews said.

The only member of Excel that has competed in the varsity division in 2020 is senior Beau Beard. Besides being the tenor section leader, he has obtained the role of a critique for the group. 

“I try to give advice as much as I can when it comes to pointers or tips based on previous experiences with judges,” Beard said. 

Since Excel is a smaller group than ever before, Beard emphasized the importance of vocals, choreography, and acting. 

“Those things are even more important to us because we are so small, and we’re way less experienced,” Beard said. 

Over the last few weeks, members have been concerned about COVID-19. They ended up missing 11 out of 28 members. In turn, their preview night was rescheduled, and they did not attend their first official competition at Ralston. 

“We have had a lot of people gone because of COVID-19, so we are trying to work through without members of the group. That’s a little hard,” Traynor said. 

While they have hit some bumps in the road, members are looking forward to being back on stage. 

“I’m excited. I think all of us are pretty excited. [We’re] still nervous but like any group going into their opening couple performances,” junior Jaxson Ninete said. 

This year’s show focuses on the people at a bus stop and their story of coming together after tough times. The show’s theme is what members think sets them apart. 

“I think that it’s a unique concept. It’s about enjoying yourself and being out in the community,” Ninete said.

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