The first busload of performers pulled into the parking lot at Emmetsburg High School about 3:45 last Friday afternoon. Around 11:45 Saturday night, the final bus pulled out of the parking lot, carrying its cargo of excited and exhausted teenagers back to their homes after the Emmetsburg Show Choir Extravaganza.
For a day and an evening, Emmetsburg had a little bump in population, by roughly a 1,000 to 1,500 people, who came to this community to see and hear young people singing and dancing, all while sharing their talents and hopefully learning something at the same time.
In between the first Middle School performance on Friday at 5 p.m. and the final performance by Emmetsburg's own Black and Gold Show Choir at about 10:35 Saturday night, a total of 52 performing groups took to one of the two performance venues at the high school, for the Show Choir and Vocal Jazz competitions.
But before a single group took to the stage, a little work had to be done.
Well, OK - maybe not just a little.
Maybe a lot.
Here's how it went - kinda sorta....
Wednesday afternoon, several of the boys in the show choirs traveled to Estherville and Arnolds Park, to borrow stage platforms needed to erect a 48-foot by 40-foot stage in the high school gym. Those platforms were brought back to the high school and stacked in anticipation of building the stage on Thursday.
At the end of the school day on Thursday, Tom Griffin and the custodial staff started the "bash" by tarping the floor in the gym. Once the floor was tarped, out came the scissors-lift to first hang the backdrop curtain in the gym, and then the construction of the stage started in earnest. EHS?Vocal Music Director Luke Miller directed the operation much like directing a chorus; lots of pointing, hand waving and a glare or two, as the students and parent volunteers quickly assembled the stage.
With the stage assembled. A brigade of students attacked the structure with duct tape, taping the legs together for additional sturdiness and also applied tape over the joints on the surface to cover cracks that might catch a dancer's heel.
As this work went on, another group of students began bringing chairs into the gym and started to place them on the floor, all while the scissors lift was again pressed into service for hanging spotlight for the stage lighting from the gym's rafter beams. Once the lights were tightened down and electrical cables run, the gym lights were shut off to aim the stage spots to illuminate the stage. With that job finished, the scissors lift retreated and the attack of the chair brigade was completed.
My part in all of this was to set up the fun stuff, speakers, run cables and the main control table. I?got the sound system set up and dialed in as the final chair was set in place.
Total timeframe for Thursday's efforts? Starting at 3:30, the gym was completed by 7:15 p.m. because a great group of dedicated kids, along with some of their friends, family members and parents all joined in to make the changeover happen.
The students would serve as hosts to every performing group on Friday evening and all day Saturday, meeting the groups as they arrived at the school, helping them get settled in their respective home rooms, and serving as their guides throughout the day.
And, they also performed in their respective groups as well and then when Saturday's awards were all over, once again, the kids turned out in full force to take everything apart.
Funny, but it didn't even take two hours to disassemble the gym and restore it to pre-Extravaganza condition.
Of course, it will take a week or so to find everything and get it back in it's proper place again, but it's a small price to play for a great weekend of entertainment.
If you missed it, there's always next year - and a new crop of youthful entertainers ready to perform for you.