Bonita Vista High School has accomplished something no San Diego County high school ever has by qualifying two show choirs for the national FAME Grand Championship Finals. Bonita Vista’s Music Machine advanced mixed choir and Sound Unlimited advanced women’s choir were both big winners at the FAME regionals in Hollywood on March 1, 2014 and are raising funds to travel to Chicago where America’s elite song and dance troupes will square off April 25-26 for the title of national Grand Champion.
“We are all very proud of these terrific, hard-working students,” said Gail Kennedy, the Director of both groups. “There was some tough competition in Hollywood and a number of very talented schools from throughout the West. Our Bonita Vista kids have worked hard and made a lot of sacrifices since last summer to reach the level they have.”
Music Machine is comprised of 40 young men and women, while Sound Unlimited includes 44 singer-dancers. Supporting the groups are 11 musicians and six technicians. They are America’s most diverse show choirs. Music Machine was founded in 1974 and Sound Unlimited in 1978 by former BVH music teacher Ron Bolles. Kennedy is in her first year as Director after leading award-winning show choirs in West Virginia.
Music Machine’s winning performance set is called “Games People Play,” a time-traveling, high-energy compilation that includes music from Broadway’s “Chess,” Lorde’s mega-hit “Royals” and a dazzling electronica finale in which the performers transform into high-powered video game characters backed by a dazzling LED screen. Sound Unlimited’s set is “The Big Doll House,” featuring rousing rock, blues and power ballads from life-sized Barbies, baby dolls and Raggedy Anns. Both groups have received standing ovations at competitions throughout the year.
“Sound and Machine both have great sets going this spring,” said Gabriela Strand, a senior who serves as Dance Captain of the Music Machine. “It has been a lot of hard work, but it is starting to pay off. I’m really proud of everyone in both groups. For both groups to make it to the FAME Finals is absolutely amazing!”
FAME is America’s top-tier show choir competition and hosts regional championships in Hollywood, Orlando, New York, Chicago and Branson, Missouri. The highest scoring groups from each region are invited to compete against each other in the Finals at the Arie Crown Theater in Chicago. Kennedy said the students and their families are working hard to raise funds to cover travel expenses. Due to tight budgets, the group will not receive travel funds from the high school district.
“When you go to the Super Bowl you need all your players to win,” she said. “To have a chance at the national level we need everyone there and in top form. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most of our students. We want to make sure everyone can go.”
To make a contribution to the travel fund, go online or send a check payable to: BVHS Music Machine Boosters., c/o Bonita Vista High School, 751 Otay Lakes Road, Chula Vista, CA 91913. To use a credit card contact Marlene Hill, parent booster treasurer at firstname.lastname@example.org. All donations are tax deductible.