The Aspire Awards represent show choir's highest honors for those individuals working in the classroom and behind the scenes who create the magic we see on stage.
Awards are given in 11 categories for both musical and artistic excellence. In recent years, they have evolved to include directing, choreography, costuming, arranging, regional competition, and lifetime achievement as well as excellence by an industry professional and school in the areas of service. Individuals are nominated by the Academy of Show Choir Professionals and awarded at the Show Choir National Finals, which is being hosted this year at Chicago's Arie Crown Theater on Saturday, April 22.
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Nominees are voted on by peers in an open nomination process in which individuals cast votes. The top three vote recipients become the official nominees in each category. A call for nominees begins on January 1, and the announcement of the top nominees in each category is on April 15. Categories include Vocal Vanguard, Visual Vanguard, Best New Director, Best New Choreographer, Best Arranger, Best Costumer, Most Promising New Program, Best Regional Competition, Spirit of Service, Student Spirit of Service, and Lifetime Achievement Award.
This year's nominees are:
- Lester Miller III - Ankeny Centennial High School
- David Moellenkamp - Los Alamitos High School
- Lin Warren - Hastings High School
- Kevin Chase
- April James
- Dwight Jordan
Best New Director
- Amy Arinder - Jackson Academy
- Trent Buglewicz - Linn-Mar High School
- Megan Tantillo - MIllard North High School
Best New Choreographer
- Nicholas Quamme
- Dallas J Pritt
- Lexi Robson
- John Burlace
- Brock Keiper
- Steven Shanley
- Gail McInnis Productions
- Sarah Gustason
- Southeastern Performance Apperal
Most Promising New Program
- Broken Arrow High School Tiger Rhythm
- Naperville North High School Entourage
- Sheridan High School Northern Stars
Best Regional Competition
- Jackson Academy Show Choir Invitational, MS
- Sing All About It - Sioux City East High School, IA
- Supernova - Linn-mar High School, IA
Lifetime Achievement AwardThis year's Lifetime Achievement Award goes to Bob Anderson of Linn-Mar High School.
Anderson is retiring from Linn-Mar after serving 22 years as director of choral activities at the Marion, Iowa, high school. He has taught public school choral music in Iowa for 41 years. His choirs have been selected to many special performances, including appearances at the 1992 and 2000 North Central ACDA Conventions and the 2005 National ACDA Convention. His choirs have toured Europe in 2003, 2006, 2009, and 2012. In May 2014, Linn-Mar Choirs appeared in a performance of Mozart's Coronation Mass at the Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall in New York City.
From 1995-2015, Anderson directed the highly regarded show choir 10th Street Edition. This outstanding group has been awarded multiple grand championship trophies in the past several years. He holds a B.M.E. degree from Westmar College in Le Mars, Iowa, and has done graduate work at the University of Iowa.
Anderson has served the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) in many capacities. He was president of the Iowa Choral Directors Association from 1991-93. Anderson served as the president of the North Central Division of ACDA from 2002-2004 and was the chairman of the 2004 North Central Division Convention.
Caption AwardsOn top of the Aspire Awards, there are also numerous Caption Awards to be given out at Fame's Show Choir National Finals
- Best Male & Best Female Solo -- Outstanding achievement in vocal performance by a soloist within the competition set. Effectively and consistently achieves excellence in vocal quality, pitch, mic technique, communication with audience, and stage presence. Solo must meet eligibility requirements.
- Best Male & Best Female Stage Presence -- Outstanding achievement by a single performer in overall visual presentation. Effectively and consistently projects the appropriate facial expressions, demonstrates confidence and mastery of all choreography, demonstrates a strong sense of communication with the audience, and is able to show a wide range of performance skills within the competition set.
- Best Vocals -- Outstanding achievement in overall group vocals: tone, pitch, balance and blend, dynamics and difficulty of literature.
- Best Choreography -- Outstanding achievement in overall visual effect as it relates to choreography: execution, design, variety of styles, and difficulty.
- Best Show Design - Outstanding achievement in total effect. Demonstrates vocal and visual styles, effective pace of show, and attention to transitions, utilizes costumes and props effectively and showcases the group's strengths.
- Best Combo -- Outstanding achievement in overall combo. Actively and consistently supports the choir. Includes tone, pitch, blend, balance to the choir, dynamics and difficulty of literature. Only student ensembles with no more than one adult can qualify for the award.
- Best Crew -- Outstanding crew. Uniquely incorporated into the show, assists the choir with sets, props and visual transitions and is often unseen.
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