A pop of musical theater
Center Grove Debtones ‘push the boundaries’ during this year’s show for its competition season
By Nicole Davis
The Center Grove Choral Department has kicked off its competition season, already faring well in 2018. The Debtones, a varsity, unisex show choir, is trying something a little different this year.
“We come out as witch hunters and get a spell cast on us so we turn into witches,” said Rachel Taylor, a junior. “It’s a super cool, entertaining show. Mr. Norman (a director) has developed it to be amazing.”
The Debtones performed at the Fishers Silver Spotlight Show Choir Invitational and won Grand Champion on Jan. 27, earning awards for best vocals, choreography and instrumental. The show was tweaked before its Feb. 10 competition at Pike Music Fest, where Debtones were second runner-up in the Tier 1 Unisex division
“We usually do heavily musical theater stuff and while it does have that aspect to it, it does push the boundaries between musical theater and pop music,” said Abigail Plummer, senior. “I find it’s a good fit for the group this year. We started off with a really good show. We hit a rough patch in our first competition but we pulled through.”
The choirs will compete through February and March, ending the season with the Heart of America competition in Orlando, Fla. For more information on each of the Center Grove choirs and the schedules, visit centergrovechoirs.org.
In recognition of this year’s competition season, here the Center Grove ICON features a couple of the personalities that make up the 53-member Debtones show choir.
You become a member of The Debtones and you’re part of it for life, said Abigail Plummer.
Plummer grew up hearing about the Center Grove Choral Department from her aunt, who had been a member of Debtones.
“She always talked about how the choir was a family and would say I am a performer,” Plummer said. “She’d talk about how I would find my place in Debtones. I definitely did. It clicks. I always say each of the choirs has their own personality. I gravitated toward Debtones because of the personality of the people in it and the personality you have on stage. I’m a very sassy, sarcastic kind of person. Debtones performs as that sassy, extrovert type of girl.”
Plummer, now a senior, began her Center Grove Community School experience at North Grove Elementary before moving to Center Grove Elementary. She joined the choir in middle school. This is her third year in Debtones, and she is also a member of CG Singers, the top vocal ensemble at CGHS.
Plummer serves as The Debtones’ company manager, completing tasks such as taking attendance during class, organizing shifts for the car wash fundraiser and organizing rooms for their trip to Orlando this year. She had volunteered for the position and had to compete to earn it.
“A lot of people tell me this is what I was meant to do,” she said. “Off the bat, my sophomore year, Debtones was my life. I make sure I’m at as many practices I can be. I would volunteer for things. I like being in that atmosphere and being able to plan things, being the person people go to, to know information.”
The choir program at Center Grove has had such an impact on Plummer that she intends to continue pursuing music after she graduates. She has auditioned for the music education program at the University of Indianapolis, with a goal to become a choir director at a high school one day.
“I would love to share my experience at Center Grove by being a choral director at a high school,” she said. “I’m hoping to revamp a choir program somewhere. The (Center Grove) choir program has been very influential in my life. It’s mainly student run, students set up everything. Being able to learn all of that, take that with me, I can show (another school) that this is how a larger school does it, how a larger company does it. To be able to know all the ins and outs and not, ‘it’s just my job to sing,’ that is very cool to me.”
Nearly all of Rachel Taylor’s interests and activities in and out of school revolve around music. She plays clarinet in the advanced concert band. Her dad and brother play the guitar, so they enjoy doing music as a family. Currently, she’s focusing on perfecting her performance for The Debtones and looking forward to the 2018 season.
Taylor, a junior, has attended Center Grove Community Schools all of her life. It was in middle school that her friends encouraged her to join the choir after hearing her talent for singing in drama and band. So, her freshman year of high school, she joined Accents, a non-auditioned female choral ensemble. She became a member of Debtones her sophomore year. She is also a member of the student council.
“Getting to sing and perform is fun, but it’s the environment, the people that make it enjoyable,” Taylor said. “We’re all best friends. Every
one loves each other and encourages each other.”
Her favorite memory, so far, happened last year. At every competition, a star performer from each choir is named. She earned that title of Outstanding Performer.
“It was one of the best feelings ever, knowing all my hard work paid off” she said. “They called my name and I had to go up on stage. I can remember everyone in the auditorium started clapping.”
This year, Taylor has a leadership position as a alto section leader/soloist.
“Last year, we had section leaders but there never was outside commitments,” Taylor said. “It was during class or practice, to go over something. This year, it’s been more of a authoritative figure. We speak in front of the class. We can hold sessions outside of class if we need to.
I like being an example for people to follow, especially since it’s singing and choir, that Mr. Norman trusts me in that position to teach them the right things and encourage them in the right way.”
This season, Taylor said has been harder as The Debtones are encouraged to work harder to put on a more theatrical show.
“The directors push us hard, we work hard and we do everything we can to be successful,” she said.