March 18, 2015
A closer look at our Xtravaganza judges
PAUL GULSVIG - Paul Gulsvig has been involved in Choral Education for the past 42 years, and retired in 2006 from Onalaska High School in Onalaska, WI where he taught for 28 of those 42 years. In his new capacity with More Than Music, he is now a much sought after retreat presenter, show doctor and motivational speaker, conducting leadership workshops for high schools, in-service workshops for school districts and show choir adjudication. He has directed All-State and Regional Choirs in Nebraska, Alabama, Alaska, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Arizona.
MICHELLE JENSEN - Michelle is a choral director, clinician, and teacher. Currently directing the Chamber Singers and teaching Music Education at Azusa Pacific University, she has also served as an adjunct instructor at the University of Southern California where she is currently pursuing a DMA in Choral Music after earning her BM and MME. Michelle is a member of SAG and AFTRA with an extensive performance resume including commercials, voice- overs, music videos, guest-star roles on television and live performances.
MICHAEL ORLAND - Michael Orland is currently the Pianist, Arranger and Associate Musical Director for the hit FOX-TV series AMERICAN IDOL. Through this amazing opportunity, Michael has appeared on OPRAH, ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT, ACCESS HOLLYWOOD and a record number of appearances on THE ELLEN SHOW. He has collaborated with music industry giants such as Burt Bacharach, Neil Sedaka, Diane Warren, Elton John, Dolly Parton, Martina McBride, Jennifer Lopez, and Tony Bennett all as a result of American Idol. n addition to playing and conducting for many celebrities including Susan Anton, Lucie Arnaz, Kaye Ballard, Lynda Carter, Sam Harris, Jennifer Holliday, Lainie Kazan, Sally Kellerman, Gladys Knight, Barry Manilow, Maureen McGovern, Chita Rivera, Cybill Shepherd and the late Wayland Flowers & Madame, Michael played for the hit shows “FORBIDDEN BROADWAY”, “RUTHLESS!”, and “WHEN PIGS FLY” in Los Angeles. He made his Hollywood Bowl debut accompanying the legendary MGM star Ann Miller. Every winter, Michael musically directs one of the touring companies of the RADIO CITY CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR starring the world-famous Rockettes. And he is now a published author in the best-selling book “Chicken Soup For The American Idol Soul.” Michael is currently working on a solo piano album due out soon.
TINA GLANDER PETERSON - Tina Glander Peterson is Director of Choirs at Irvine High School where she directs five choirs and AP music theory. She is currently in her second season as Assistant Director of the Southern California Children’s Choir for Concert Choir and Ensemble. Mrs. Peterson also serves as the Minister of Music at Church of the CA. For three years she was the Director of Choirs atFoothills in Tustin, Oak Middle School (Sing with Pride!) in Los Alamitos, CA., and taught middle school choral music for ten years in the public schools of Wisconsin. She is an active adjudicator and guest clinician for choral music festivals and performance events around the state and is a member of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) and The Southern California Vocal Association (SCVA).
ELLEN SKINNER - Ellen J. Skinner is a retired Michigan community College professor of music theatre, show and chamber choir. She also taught high school for 38 years where her show groups were National Champions year after year. In the 90s her groups were some of the first to incorporate stories and musical theatre aspects into acompetition group. In her retirement, she has taught music production and served as a vocal and choral coach for Los Alamitos High School as well as teaching private voice and judging show choir and solo classical state competitions throughout the Midwest.
THOR STEINGRABER - Thor Steingraber is the Executive Director of the Valley Performing Arts Center at California State University, Northridge, and former Vice President of Programming at the Los Angeles Music Center. Thor brings to this role over 20 years in the performing arts, as a director, writer, and arts administrator. As a director his workhas appeared on 3 continents and at most of the major American opera houses, including Lincoln Center, San Francisco Opera, Santa Fe Opera, and Lyric Opera of Chicago. He enjoyed a relationship with the Los Angeles Opera for more than a decade, where he directed regularly. As an educator, Thor has taught at some of the nation’s most esteemed universities and conservatories, including Yale School of Music, Indiana University, and the Curtis Institute.
March 18, 2015
1,800+ show choir performers
to appear at Xtravaganza 2015
Limited tickets are still available for the largest
show choir competition in the United States
Los Alamitos High School is about to become the center of the show choir universe over the next several days, as more than 1,800 performers are coming to town to take part in Xtravaganza 2015. The three-day competition takes place March 19-21.
Since it’s inception ten years ago, Xtravaganza has become the largest show choir competition in the United States. It will feature many of the top show choirs in the country competing head-to-head for championship bragging rights.
The event will take place in the Margaret Webb Performing Arts Center on the campus of Los Alamitos High School, 3460 Cerritos Avenue, in Los Alamitos, starting at 3:15 pm on Thursday, March 19.
Xtravaganza will feature 45 choirs in seven divisions who will compete in front of six judges, including well known American Idol musical director Michael Orland. They will be grading groups on choreography, sound quality, vowel formation, syncronicity, and more.
“This is the 10th year we’ve hosted Xtravaganza and the caliber of the choirs joining us this year is diverse and highly accomplished. It’s a privilege for us to host such an array of talent coming to Los Alamitos,” said Los Alamitos Choir Director David Moellenkamp.
Ten middle school groups will perform on Thursday, March 19, starting at 3:15 pm. On Friday, 16 novice and intermediate high school groups will perform, also starting at 3:15 pm. Eighteen intermediate and advanced high school groups will perform on Saturday starting at 9 am, and culminating with the Advanced Mixed AAA Division performing in the evening, including an exhibition performance by Los Alamitos High School’s Advanced Mixed Choir SoundFX, who were recently named Grand Champions at the FAME New York City competition.
“While competing is an important element of this event, Xtravaganza is also a celebration of talent and creativity channeled onto the stage for everyone to enjoy,” added Moellenkamp.
A limited number of tickets for all divisions are still available. General admission seating is $15 per session, except for Divisions 6 (Advanced Mixed AA) and 7 (Advanced Mixed AAA) on Saturday evening, which are $20 per session. A special Advanced Mixed Division Combo ticket for seating in both the AA and AAA divisions is also available for $30.
March 11, 2015
Updated Xtravaganza forms
UPDATED MARCH 14 - LIABILITY FORM ADDED
Here are some important forms and information for our attendees.
See our updated Technical forms here.
See the Ticket Order Form here.
See our Full Food Menu here.
See our Snack Bar Menu here.
See our Liability Form here.
March 6, 2015
Soundtrax and SoundFX win
Grand Championships at FAME NYC
Countless weeks of rehearsals and hard work paid off on Friday when Soundtrax and SoundFX both won Grand Championships at the FAME New York City show choir competition at Lincoln Center. In addition to championship wins, SoundFX also garnered awards for Best Show Design, Vocals and Choreography. SoundFX's Sophia Wackerman was named Best Female Soloist. The win qualifes both groups to compete for National Grand Championships in Chicago in late April.
Before they can even think about Chicago, the champs will need to come home, rest and regroup. Along with our other Griffin choirs, both will be competing at the Burbank Blast Competition on Saturday, March 14 and performing at the All-District Choral Festival on Monday, March 16.
March 1, 2015
Connexion wins first ever championship at Hart Encore
The Griffins choir competition got off to a roaring start as Los Al's newest choir won their first ever championship competing in the Mixed Intermediate Division at HartEncore this past Friday evening. The group was also recognized for Best Showmanship and Musicianship as well.
Los Al's other groups also made a strong show as Xquisite, Soundtrax and SoundFX all garnered First Runner Up honors in a marathon competition day on Saturday. SoundFX also won a caption award for Best Costumes and Jenna Rosen was recognized as the Mixed Advanced Division's Best Female Soloist.
SoundFX and Soundtrax now get ready to travel to New York City later this week to take part in the FAME competition at Lincoln Center.
February 5, 2015
General public tix for our Spring Show are now on sale
A limited number of tickets are now available for purchase for our next show taking place February 19-21 at Los Alamitos High School. We are expecting four more sold out shows, so don't delay. To order, go here.
January 29, 2015
2015 performance schedule
Here's an easy way for parents, groupies, fans, and everyone else to save the upcoming performance dates for your favorite choir program. Info is subject to change, so be sure to double check performance particulars closer to curtain for each of these shows.
February 27-28 -- Hart High School Competition - All groups are attending. Friday competition is Xquisite & Axcent. Saturday competition is FX, Trax, Xtreme & Connexion.
Thursday March 5 to Sunday March 8 - FAME New York City Nationals - SoundFX and SoundTrax
Saturday, March 14 - Burbank Blast Competition - all groups
Monday, March 16 - All District Choral Festival
Thursday, March 19 to Saturday, March 21 Xtravaganza Choir Competition hosted by Los Alamitos High School
Saturday, April 11 - Burroughs High School Competition - Sound FX and Soundtrax attending but may change pending final decision on So Cal Choir Competition
Saturday, April 18 - So Cal Show Choir Competition - tentative
April 24-27 - FAME Chicago - SoundFX and SoundTrax attending, exact dates pending
Thursday, May 28 - Pops Show @ 7 pm
Friday, May 29 - Pops Show @ 7 pm
Saturday, May 30 - Pops Show @ 2 and 7 pm
The auditoriums may be empty now......but not for long. We hope you enjoy the upcoming season!
November 19, 2014
The day choreographer David W. Connolly
brought his extraordinary talents to Los Al
A renowned Broadway veteran also surprised Griffin choir students
with an even more amazing story about overcoming obstacles in life
Los Alamitos High School Choir Director David Moellenkamp has two choirs who are National Grand Champions looking to repeat yet again this coming spring. His job is an enviable but challenging – how to maintain the performance bar high enough so that you can repeat that championship run.
But before all of his choirs can focus on the competition season, they must get ready in short order for a big Holiday program in early December. The popular fare is sure to include four sold-out shows. That’s no small feat considering there are less than eight weeks between the choirs’ successful Broadway shows and the upcoming Holiday shows on December 4-6.
To put an extra spark in his performers for the Holiday shows, Moellenkamp recently invited David W. Connolly--one of the pre-eminent choreographers in America--to work with students on the Holiday show.
Connolly, in turn, brought with him a slew of Broadway and television credits--both as a performer and as a choreographer--for a week long intensive series of lessons for several of Los Al’s eight choirs. By way of introduction, on Broadway, Connolly starred in several productions including HMS Pinafore, Brigadoon, and Little Shop of Horrors before moving to Los Angeles and finding success as an associate producer for the Miss America Pageant and the Jerry Lewis Telethon, among several other notable efforts.
He is currently in the midst of his biggest career challenge yet, choreographing his first Broadway show, “The First Wives Club” which goes into previews in Chicago in early 2015. It is set to debut on Broadway later in 2015 or early 2106.
As impressive as these accomplishments are, they pale in comparison to what Connolly had to overcome to achieve them.
Born with severe leg deformities, David W. Connolly is a double amputee who lost both of his legs below the knee as a young child.
He spent several years learning how to use prosthetics and when he discovered a love of choir, he turned his considerable will to mastering the rigors of singing and dancing in a choir environment.
“I'm living my dream. But I worked extremely hard to get to this point. No one becomes successful without hard work,” said an understated Connolly recently.
So the week spent with Los Al’s choir students was not only about technique, theory and practical work getting ready for the Holiday shows, it was also about motivating students to overcome any obstacle that stands in their way if they really want to achieve something in life.
Choir director David Moellenkamp first met Connolly at the Stage Door Manor Workshops in upstate New York.
“David Connolly has been an inspiration to me since I first met him several years ago. He’s an absolutely amazing talent and our students were privileged to work with such a genius,” said Moellenkamp.
As they gear up for the competition season ahead, Connolly’s lessons of overcoming all obstacles and striving to be the best have laid a foundation to help students focus during long hours of rehearsals ahead. While the students were inspired, their guest teacher also came away with a sense of just how good his students were for the week.
“Los Alamitos students are amazing to work with and this is one of the finest music departments in the country. They are so fortunate to work with so many talented individuals,” said Connolly after working with the students.
“Most students throughout the country do not have the great opportunities to experience what they have at Los Al, and to fully realize the opportunity to discover what they love to do,” he added.
After the Holiday shows are over, Moellenkamp will focus his efforts on the larger tasks at hand—getting a majority of his choirs prepped for a grueling competition season that kicks off in late February. In addition to a series of local competitions for all of the program’s choirs, the mixed men’s and women’s advanced choir, SoundFX, and women’s advanced choir, Soundtrax, will travel to New York City to defend their titles in early March. A little more than a month later, the two groups will travel to Chicago for another national competition.
Prior to embarking on their competition season, students be performing their annual Holiday Show in the Margaret Webb Performing Arts Center on the campus of Los Alamitos High School. Shows will take place December 4, 5 and 6 at 7 pm with a special matinee on December 6 at 2 pm. A few tickets remain and are priced at $10-$15.
November 16, 2014
Our golf tournament was a swingin' success!
Thank you to everyone who made our first annual Swing for the Stars Golf Tournament a big swingin' success. We had 68 golfers play at El Dorado Golf Course on November 10 and more than 100 supporters join us for the Awards Dinner/Auction afterwards. Here's a quick recap and another gracious round of thank-you's to our generous sponsors.
1ST Place - Rick Hodgin, Cliff Shigaki, Bill McCord, Eric Thompson, -11 under par
2nd Place - Brian Ahern, Steve Hollimon, Calder McNab, Alex Acetta, -10 under par
Closest to Pin – Thomas Williams
Straightest Drive – Jack Klaus
Longest Drive – Jerry Gargus
San Pedro Fish Market (Michael Ungaro)
Trench Shoring (Kevin Malloy)
Eldredge Insurance Agency (Todd Eldredge)
Liewald Accounting/ (Closest to Pin-Hole #3)- Louise Liewald
Patrick Lewis Investments/(Straightest Drive –Hole #5) – Brian Ahern
TYR Sport, Inc./(Longest Drive – Hole #7) – Steve Furniss
The Gooch Family/(Hole in One – Hole #12) – Rachel Gooch
Competitive Aquatic Supply/(Goodie Bag/t-Shirt) Karen/Kurt Kachigan
The Gardens Casino/Golf Cart Signage
JG Davidson & Co. (James Davidson)
El Pollo Loco (Cliff Shigaki)
Services for Fire and Police (Arnie Klein)
Edward P. Wicorek DDS
Russ Conkle 76
Beach Dentist (James Blake)
November 1, 2014
You're invited to perform with the Young Americans!
This year the Young Americans are offering LAHS choir members a workshop and chance to perform with the Young Americans at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts.
There are two workshop days at Los Al on November 12 and 19 from 3-5 pm. There will be a final rehearsal on November 21 from 3:30-6:30 pm with the show taking place at 8 pm. Students will need to provide their own transportation to the La Mirada Theatre. Tickets will be $13-$30 and a portion of the box office sales will be donated to our choir's general fund.
We hope to see all of our kids on stage enjoying this wonderful opportunity with the Young Americans!
October 22, 2014
Relive a Wicked-ly good time for years to come
The rave reviews are in and everyone who saw it agrees....this was one of our best Broadway shows ever.
If you saw the show, you know what we're talking about. If you didn't get a chance to go, you can still see what everyone's talking about.
PROFESSIONALLY SHOT...DVDs, Blu-ray's and audio CDs are now available to order.
FROM START TO FINISH...you'll get our complete show including Act 1 songs "One Fine Day", "You've Got a Friend" and others from Carole King's musical "Beautiful", all the great songs from "Jersey Boys" (featuring Tommy Olaes singing "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You"), Grease ("Summer Nights" "Beauty School Drop-out") and a strong finish to Act 1 with selections from "West Side Story" (including the popular "Officer Krupke" by Xtreme, "America" featuring Sophia Wackerman, and a big closer with "Somewhere" by our combined choirs).
Act 2 transported us half way around the world with Nine (including "Cinema Italiano" with SoundFX and Mario Arias with Soundtrax singing "Guido's Song"), Xquisite's "Just Arrived" from "Copacabana", Connexion singing "Hit the Road Jack" from "Ray" and last but not least, our suite songs from "Wicked" featuring Jenna Lee Rosen and Sydney DeMaria that earned standing ovations during the set as fans came out of their seats to defy a bit of gravity in appreciation for our student performer's hard work and amazing talents.
From start to finish....this is one show you will want to own for a long, long time. Simply follow the instructions on this order form to get your copy today.