Performing Arts 2019

Performing Arts 2019
Performing Arts 2019

            Students in Kokomo High School’s growing Performing Arts programs wrapped up a busy, and successful, winter competition season with the annual Winter Performing Arts Showcase at Memorial Gym.

            This community performance featured the Kokomo Pride Winter Guard, Kokomo High School Varsity A Guard, Kokomo Indoor Percussion Ensemble, Karisma Show Choir, the Kokomo Dance Team, the Indoor Winds Ensemble, and the KHS Jazz Ensemble.

            “Our music department performs year-round,” noted Director of Music and Bands John Pinson. “Our winter season is not only extremely busy, but also extremely rewarding for our Kokomo High School students. We spend hundreds of hours preparing and competing, and the showcase is the only opportunity for the public to see and hear all of these ensembles in the same place at one time. We always are excited to present this to the community.”

            Below are a few highlights from the winter competition season in the Kokomo High School Performing Arts program.

Wildkat Winter Winds     

            The Kokomo Wildkat Winter Winds claimed 2nd place in the 2019 Indiana Percussion Association State Finals – the group’s best performance since it became Kokomo High School’s first-ever competitive wind ensemble three years ago.

            The KHS 2019 show, “A Day in the Sky”, portrayed different “events and moods” of the sky. KHS wind ensemble members portrayed a sunrise, a blue sky, a thunderstorm, and the peaceful night sky at the end of a long day.

            The group earned 2nd place at every competition this season. Additionally, the Wildkat Winter Winds earned the award for Best Visual at its first competition, and the award for Best General Effect at its second competition this season.

            This KHS group is led by Assistant Band Director Justin Ekstrom, who noted: “I challenged our Indoor Winds members this season. The students moved almost constantly during the 2019 show, and learned a variety of new choreography that was unlike anything they had experienced previously. These students rose to the occasion.”

            The Wildkat Winter Winds completed its first competition season in an activity that was only three years old at the time – making Kokomo High School one of the first schools in the state of Indiana to explore this new artistic medium. The KHS wind ensemble members spent the first year learning a new style of marching and performing. During its second season, its members set a goal to perform better than the first year. Mr. Ekstrom said the students achieved that goal by mastering a production that was significantly more challenging.

            “The 2019 season was a new start for us,” Mr. Ekstrom added. “We didn’t want to simply be better than last year; we wanted to push ourselves to the next level with more difficult music and movement, and more complex storytelling. We achieved that goal. I am so proud of what this group has accomplished in three years. It has been a joy to watch the students grow so much.”

Winter Guard

            In 2019, the Kokomo High School Winter Guard program completed its 20th year in the Indiana High School Color Guard Association circuit – with two competing guards.

            The Varsity A Winter Guard performed a show entitled “Everything Must Change” by Nina Simone.

            Winter Guard Director Deanne Wideman noted: “We really pushed the students this season by having every guard member learn to perform with a rifle. The students embraced the challenge, and our season went extremely well.”

            The Varsity A Winter Guard finished in the Top 5 at its regular season competitions. Because of a recent explosion in Indiana Winter Guard programs, for the first time in Indiana High School Color Guard Association history, guards were required to compete in a State Semi-Finals competition to advance to the State Finals. The Kokomo High School Varsity A Guard earned a spot in the State Finals, where it finished 13th.  The KHS Varsity A Guard has reached the State Finals every year for the past 17 years.

            “As I listened to the history of the Class A State Finals, it hit me how much our program has accomplished during the past 20 years,” Mrs. Wideman explained. “This achievement is due to the work ethic, the strength, the commitment, and the dedication of our members, staff, directors, and administration. These important qualities are passed down from member to member each year. Our students have created a lasting legacy.”


Kokomo Dance Team

            In its 4th year of competition, the Kokomo Dance Team – the county’s only high school competitive dance team – once again earned State Finalist honors at the Indiana High School Dance Team Association State Finals.

            Central Middle International School 6th-grader Danielle Gomez earned 3rd place in the State Junior High Soloist competition. The team of Danielle, Central 8th-grader Sophia Wyman, and Central 7th graders Analis Fuentes and DeDe McClung earned 7th place in the State Junior High Ensemble competition.

            All Junior High and High School members of the Kokomo Dance Team qualified for the State Finals in Jazz, Hip Hop, and Pom – marking the first time all three dance teams have qualified for the State Finals. The Hip Hop teams placed 7th, while the Pom teams placed 9th, and the Jazz teams placed 10th.

            Kokomo Dance Team Coach Gina Curl noted: “Our Kokomo Dance Team members have put forth the effort required to advance their ability levels, and it has shown at competitions, as we progressively increased our scores. I am most proud of the work ethic our team members possess. These students understand what it takes to be successful. Our captains, Tanner Irish and Bailee Lytle, were great inspirations this season, and I am so happy they were able to compete in the State Finals during their senior years. We will miss our outgoing seniors, but our team is mostly freshmen, so we are projecting big things in the future!”

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