Education

After an ice storm canceled a competing show choir's biggest fundraiser, Kennedy High raised more than $5,700 for them

Storm Ziegler, director of Kennedy High School's show choirs, gives notes to the Happiness Inc. group on Wednesday, Jan.
Storm Ziegler, director of Kennedy High School’s show choirs, gives notes to the Happiness Inc. group on Wednesday, Jan. 15. Ziegler organized a fundraiser for Ankeny Centennial High School’s show choir program after its invitational event on Jan. 11, which typically raises tens of thousand of dollars for the sponsoring school, was canceled by an ice storm. (Molly Duffy/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — One of Kennedy High School’s show choirs rehearsed a new show Wednesday, while Director Storm Ziegler pressed performers to enunciate key lyrics and brighten their facial expressions.

The show choir, Happiness Inc., planned to compete in its first invitational of the season Jan. 11 hosted by Ankeny Centennial High, until weather canceled the competition.

But while they plan to meet Centennial in future contests, Kennedy’s show choir programs also are on track to donate more than $5,700 to Centennial’s program to help recoup its losses.

Show choir invitationals typically raise tens of thousands for the sponsoring school, Ziegler said — money that sustains the entire show choir program.

“I just know how awful it is,” he said. “It’s a program’s biggest fundraiser by a mile.”

With his choirs staying home, Ziegler decided to launch a fundraiser for Ankeny Centennial’s program.

“We were all going to go anyway, and buy tickets and food,” he said. “So I thought, let’s see if people still would.”

As of Wednesday, 530 people had donated $5,750 to the fundraiser, which is open to the public.

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Kennedy families were quick to chip in, Ziegler said, scrolling through a donation list on the computer in his office.

“It’s like my class roster, but their parents,” he said.

Students, too, have donated their own money. Matt Hand, 18, said he gave some of the funds leftover from a summer job while Lauren Stangl, 18, donated babysitting money.

“If that had happened to us, I would hopefully want someone to do that for us,” Stangl said. “Competitions cost a lot of money and we wanted to give back to them.”

Hand said it was an easy choice to donate.

“I feel like the show choir community is a big family,” he said. “Even just a small donation — if a lot of people did it, it would benefit the whole program.”

Show choirs from both Kennedy and Centennial competed at Linn-Mar’s Supernova invitational on Saturday.

“If we compete against them, I want to win because of our performance,” Stangl said. “Not because they are unable to.”

Comments: (319) 398-8330; molly.duffy@thegazette.com

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