Dutch Masters Behind the Scenes
Dutch Masters is a show choir competition that Pella Community High School has hosted for eleven years. It’s a highly competitive competition requiring all students from all invited schools to bring their best. This competition requires a lot of work, not only for other schools, but the hosts themselves.
Each student that participates in show choir has a job. There are only a few ones to choose from, and the majority consist of room decorating. Each group of students has one school to host, which requires two classrooms, one for girls and the other for boys. The classrooms have to be cleared of all major furniture and the walls covered in paper to prevent any damage. It also gives the visiting kids an open space to do their hair, makeup, and to change. Then show choir students have to decide a theme in which to decorate the room, which is chosen two to three weeks beforehand so the students have enough time to prepare.
The next step is to decide on paw prints. The paw prints are for the names of the students the group is hosting. These paw prints also must correspond with the theme. If your theme were, for example, space, then the paw prints could be planets or stars. They would have one student’s name on one of the paw prints, so there are usually twenty or more prints to be made.
“Making the paw prints is probably the worst part. You have to call the school and figure out which ones are boys, which ones are girls. Then you have to make sure you spell it right, and get them all,” said freshman Haley Starmer.
The day before Dutch Masters begins, the hosts of each room put everything together. Once the walls are covered and everything is out of reach, they can start decorating, taping drawings and such on the walls and hanging things from the ceilings. The decoration is the most tedious part of preparation.
There are only a few other jobs for students can do. One of them is lighting. This job is the longest (their shifts are seven hours), but one of the more important ones. They control the lights for when the choirs are performing, dimming the outer lights and brightening the stage lights, and vise versa in between performances.
The last major job is concessions. The students assigned to this job have to remain in the cafeteria and either work the cash register or prepare the food. This is big for those groups who perform in the morning and stay late at night for awards, that way they can eat.
The last and most important job students must do is prepare for their exhibition performance. It may not be for competition, but the performance needs to be as good as, if not better, than the past performances. It’s our chance to show off.
“It is emotional because it is our last performance at home,” said senior Gavin Klein. “By Saturday we are all kind of tired from all the setting up and the normal work that we do, but it is a really fun experience to perform for people in exhibition and not really be judged.”