Pella Christian High School's Theatre Troupe earned ten awards Monday evening, June 2, 2014, at the Des Moines Performing Arts Civic Center from the Iowa High School Musical Theatre Awards Showcase. Honoring more than 350 young artists performing this past year in 17 different high school musical theatre productions across the greater Des Moines area, PCHS was also selected as one of only nine schools to perform a medley from their school musical at the evening’s showcase event.
A panel of adjudicators, including performing arts professionals and educators, reviewed all 17 high school productions over the past year before selecting awards for each school. PCHS’s fall production of "The Music Man" was awarded with an Outstanding Musical Ensemble and an Outstanding Scene for their opening "Rock Island" train scene.
The Barbershop Quartet was also awarded with an Outstanding Achievement by a Featured Ensemble. Members in the quartet include Justin Stravers, Matthew Rossler, Joel Larson, and Josh Fopma.
Other honors from the production include: Cory Van Gilst (as Harold) with Special Recognition for a Performance in a Leading Role, and Cali Beyer (as Mrs. Paroo) and Jordan Breon (as Marcellus) with Special Recognitions for a Performance in a Supporting Role. In addition, Special Recognition was also given for the Student Orchestra and for Restoration of the Wells Fargo stagecoach.
Lastly, Cory Van Gilst and Jessi Vos were nominated to audition for two spots representing Iowa in late June at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards in New York City. Only 44 local students were nominated, spending a day in private and group coaching with Broadway Guest Artists Ryan Kasprzak (who was the assistant choreographer for NBC’s Smash) and Julie McBride (who is a Musical Drama educator for The Juilliard School). Eventual winners were Aliya Ryan from Indianola HS and Jeffrey Laughrun from Dowling Catholic HS.
In addition, representatives from all the high schools participated in the Showcase’s opening group dance number which included songs from Motown the Musical, Hair, and Godspell." A closing Finale was also performed by many of the senior members from the class of 2014 attending the showcase, including songs from Cinderella, Once and Kinky Boots.
The Iowa High School Musical Theatre Awards program aims to create visibility and support for local high school musical theatre programs and to highlight the importance of arts education. Pella Christian's theatre program is directed by Marlo Van Peursem with assistance from Tim Van Voorst (Music), Brenna Vogel (Choreography) and Daryl Van Zee (Tech).