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Three CCHS speech groups advance to state

Three CCHS speech groups advance to state
By James Grob,

Three Charles City High School group speech teams recently received top performance ratings and qualified for the Iowa High School Speech Association’s (IHSSA) state speech competition this weekend.

Two of CCHS’s Improvisational Acting teams and one Choral Reading team will head to Postville on Saturday, Feb. 6, for the state contests.

“I was very pleased to see that these students love speech competition so much that they were willing to jump over all the additional hurdles that were placed in front of them this year,” said Charles City speech coach Michelle Grob. “I am proud that they were willing to do all that and still were able to perform at a high level.”

The Choral Reading group of Anna Herbrechtsmeyer, Rosie Baldus, Sophia Jensen and Makenna Jensen earned the top rating for their performance of “The Good Old Days,” written by Linda Brant.

The Improv team of Christian Howe, Griffin Franksain and Sincere Collins — who have performed together in the category for three years — advanced to state for their group improvisational performance. The three had to act out the topic of “trying to get out of a room after the lights go out.”

Improvisation is the playing of dramatic scenes without written dialogue and with minimal or no predetermined dramatic activity. The actors draw three topics and have just two minutes to choose one of the three, and essentially make up and act out a scene on the spot.

The Improv group of Makenna Jensen, Rosie Baldus and Natalie White had to act out the topic of “the new contestant on the worst game show.”

Due to pandemic restrictions this year, there were no district locations for speech completion, as there have been in previous years. Instead, the IHSSA allowed schools a variety of options, including in-person judging, judging via ZOOM, or pre-recording a performance for a judge. Charles City chose to ZOOM the performance live in front of the judge.

Pandemic protocols were required for performances and throughout the rehearsals, so the students had to act out their scenes wearing masks and keeping at a safe social distance from each other.

“This posed a challenge for young actors as they no longer had their facial expressions to help convey their message,” Grob said. “It forced them to rely on their voice and body.”