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MHS shows off new facility, packs theater with 1,000-plus people

Friend de Coup takes the stage in exhibition to end the night during the Mitchell Show Choir Classic at the recently completed performing arts center. Following their performance, final awards were announced. (Sara Bertsch/ Republic)1 / 4
Members from Glenwood High School's Titan Fever perform Saturday during the Mitchell Show Choir Classic. Glenwood took home the grand prize from the night. (Sara Bertsch / Republic)2 / 4
Children from the Mitchell Area children's Choir perform Saturday afternoon during the Mitchell Show Choir Classic at the school district's recently completed performing arts center. (Sara Bertsch/ Republic)3 / 4
Mitchell's Friend de Coup takes the stage Saturday in exhibition to end the night during the Mitchell Show Choir Classic at the recently completed performing arts center. Following the performance, final awards were announced. (Sara Bertsch/ Republic)4 / 4

Friend de Coup's goal this weekend was to pack the PAC — and it did.

The Mitchell Show Choir Classic drew in more than 1,000 people to the district's recently completed performing arts center — often referred to as the PAC — on Saturday. And visitors were nothing but impressed by the first major event held in the new facility.

People from as far as Oklahoma piled into the 1,200-seat theater Saturday night for Friend de Coup's exhibition performance and the classic's final awards to end the evening, leaving only standing room available.

Officials said a total of 874 adult and 236 student tickets were sold Saturday, with at least 96 "friends of show" tickets and 23 sponsor tickets purchased prior to the weekend. This number didn't include the volunteer parents, coaches or hundreds of singers and dancers from 18 groups who were also in attendance.

"It's beautiful," Sandy Sullivan said about the 67,000-square-foot facility.

Sullivan traveled from Aberdeen with her daughter, Juli Shultz, whose children were performing throughout the day-long competition. Sullivan's granddaughter checked out the second-floor balcony of the theater, sitting high above the main floor.

"We stepped up onto the upper balcony and I said, 'No, we're not sitting here,' " Sullivan said with a laugh. " ... It is a great view, but that is a long ways up there."

The upper balcony offered visitors a good look at the entire theater, Sullivan said, the height was a little too much for her taste.

While parents and friends of the show choirs enjoyed the view, the singers, dancers and band performers enjoyed the luxuries behind the scenes.

High schoolers Kayla Anderson and La'nhiya Curtis traveled more than 600 miles to attend the show choir classic. Coming from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, Anderson and Curtis said they often are traveling far and wide for new places to perform. They, too, were impressed by the facility, but even more happy with the space and convenience provided backstage.

"Our choir teacher decided to come and we're pretty excited about it. New places, new experiences, new people," Anderson said. "(The PAC is) fantastic. I love it."

Anderson and Curtis are part of Tiger Mystique, which took fourth place overall in the competition. Their high school's other group, Tiger Rhythm, took second place in finals, and a large trophy to match.

Curtis commented the vibrant colors of the entire facility, along with the large space provided in the theater and stage area really that make the building stand out.

The extra space provided on the wings also made for easier costume changes, which are not always considered when designing a space, but remain very important for Curtis, Anderson and many other show choir teams.

"It's just awesome," Curtis said.

As much as visitors were excited to check out the new digs, Mitchell's Friend de Coup was just as pumped to show it off. For FDC's Avery Laursen and Mary Krause, they've heard positive comments all day long.

"Other schools absolutely love it. They take a step in, look around and are awestruck," Krause said.

The two had been talking with other groups all day, whether it was to show them to their practice space, or simply hearing about their school. For Laursen, it was fun to ask what students thought of the facility. Many enjoyed the ample space provided in the classroom portion of the new facility, which added six large rooms, and even more practice rooms for the groups to utilize.

But the most popular feature in the space was the 1,200-seat theater, or more specifically, the upper balconies, Laursen said. The view, height and sheer size of the space was seemingly the most impactful for the audiences.

"It's definitely inspiring and very, very cool," Laursen said.

The event included competition performances and exhibitions from 18 different groups, ranging from local teams in Mitchell to a school in Oklahoma. The event was broken up into four classes, with awards provided to each. But six finalists were chosen overall to compete one last time.

The grand champion of the event was Glenwood High School's Titan Fever, followed by Broken Arrow's Tiger Rhythm and Grand Island High School's Ultimate Image.

Mitchell Show Choir Classic results:

First: Titan Fever — Glenwood High School, Illinois

Second: Tiger Rhythm — Broken Arrow High School, Oklahoma

Third: Ultimate Image — Grand Island High School, Nebraska

Fourth: Tiger Mystique — Broken Arrow High School, Oklahoma

Fifth: Eagle Express  — Aberdeen Central High School

Sixth: Rhythm in Red — Vermillion High School

*Friend de Coup hosted the event and performed. Though, FDC did not compete.