Singer, like choir, shows hard work does pay off
JANESVILLE Kerstina Aldrich’s failure started her on the path to success.
She auditioned for Craig High School’s Spotlighters Show Choir, but her dancing skills were not up to snuff.
“I didn’t take it as hard as some people did,” she recalled. “Some people cried.”
That was in her freshman year. Aldrich didn’t give up. She signed on as part of the Spotlighters’ crew. And she took dance lessons.
The next year, she made the cut.
Aldrich’s show-stopping voice won her five solo competitions over the past two years, and she was named as the outstanding female soloist in a show choir show twice.
The senior’s story parallels the Spotlighters themselves.
The group formed five years ago and has improved greatly since then, as returning veterans bolstered the talent base and the teamwork needed to put together a competitive show, said Bob Schrank, who co-directs the group with fellow choir teacher Karla Vriezen.
This year, the Spotlighters decided to step it up, and their hard work paid off. They had their best year ever, earning a second place, two third places, a fourth place and a sixth place at competitions around the Midwest.
“We are really proud of the students and how hard they have worked to get to this level of competitiveness,” Schrank said.
The group’s seniors, including Aldrich and Matt Imhoff, were key to the group’s success as they exhorted the younger members to bear down or led by example, Schrank said.
“When Matt gets done with a rehearsal or a performance, he’s just dripping wet with sweat because he’s working so hard,” Schrank said.
Imhoff and Aldrich both have dreams of making a career on the stage.
Aldrich plans to attend Harding University in Arkansas, which has the combination she sought: a strong Christian school that also has a strong musical theater program.
But before heading south, Aldrich will to go on a church mission trip, building houses for the homeless in Montana, and she’ll audition for a musical in Wisconsin Dells.
Aldrich possesses a wide range that is remarkable for someone so young, Schrank said. So much so that one show choir judge preceded his review of her performance with “Wow!”
“I think I was just blessed with it,” said Aldrich, who started voice lessons only two months ago.
“She’s a really humble kid,” Schrank said. “For somebody to enter five solo competitions and win all five is really something.”
Aldrich’s favorite part of show choir is the audience’s reactions.
“They come up to me and tell me I made them cry, that I really touched them, and that’s what I do it for, and it’s amazing to have that feeling,” she said. “It makes you want to keep going and going.”
Aldrich said she’s seen Spotlighters crew, musicians and singer-dancers change from being a bit cliquish to a big happy family over the past four years.
“It can be hard for 80 people to get along, but it works, and we all love each other,” she said.
IF YOU GO
What: Last performance of the 2007-08 Craig High School Spotlighters and the All That Jazz vocal ensemble.
When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday April 16.
Where: Large auditorium at Craig, 401 S. Randall Ave.
Tickets: $2 adults/$1 students.