Voice warm-ups? Check. Starbucks medicine ball tea? Double-check. Perfect hair and makeup? Triple-check.
Prior to any show choir performance, sophomore Jordan Jelkin kneels backstage and links hands with her fellow performers for a quick prayer after her mental triple-check. A few minutes later, she joins the rest of MN’s all-female show choir group, Illumination, for another show-stopping performance.
Illumination has had an undefeated show choir season. They’ve placed first in the women’s division at the past six competitions they have participated in. The last time Illumination has had a similar reigning record was in 2017 when they won every competition in the women’s division, except for one second place.
“I’m very proud of Illumination’s consistency in performances this season,” Illumination director Elizabeth Fritton said. “Every performance has been incredible, whether we were performing at 8:00 in the morning or 8:00 at night. Because of the dedication to excellence from every single member, we’ve been able to accomplish this.”
Fritton attributes Illumination’s success this season to several factors, particularly their current theme: “Dear Juliet”. In the past, the songs have all connected to a broad theme. However, “Dear Juliet” has more to offer. The program features the love story of Romeo and Juliet through the songs “Cuckoo Song”, “Crazy in Love”, “Lovefool”, “Somewhere Only We Know”, and lastly, “In the Name of Love”. The other leaders of the group agree.
“Out of the themes of the last four years, I think this year’s theme has been the best. I feel like each song has an emotion that connects to it, but it’s still all part of one show. It’s more emotional and deep-seated,” senior and Illumination team captain Kinsey McCord said.
Jelkin plays the lead as Juliet. The role is demanding, requiring extra practices and solos.
“At first, I definitely thought it was stressful. I was scared people were going to be like ‘oh she’s probably cocky since she’s the lead’, but this hasn’t been the case. Illumination has been so supportive,” Jelkin said. “I love being the lead. It’s not as stressful as it first looked. Hopefully, one day, I want to be a leader for the whole group.”
The leaders of the group hope to continue this undefeated season, as they’ve put countless hours perfecting choreography, taking critiques, and truly connecting with the music.
“We’ve had great leaders this year. Jordan has done an amazing job this year as Juliet. She has taken feedback from many different judges and clinicians and keeps growing as a performer,” Fritton said. “Our dance captains, junior Ashley Avila, Vanessa Fenton, senior Carly Priest, and senior Kimberly Vanderhoof, really worked to get the choreography down early on and our team captains, McCord and Itzy Silva, do a very good job showing support.”
Through their hard work, countless practices, and medicine ball teas, Illumination has seen great success this year, and they hope to continue that for years to come.
“This group has really great chemistry, and it’s a big part of the reason why they perform really well,” Fritton said. “I can only hope to have a group as amazing as this for years to come.”