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Union High School wins seven statewide awards for musical
May 19, 2017

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Union High School's spring musical production of "Anything Goes" recently was informed by the Iowa High School Musical Theatre Awards that they are the recipients of 7 awards for this year's production. This is a record number of awards for Union High School from this prestigious competition. 4 students were awarded "Special Recognition for Performance in a Principal Role" Anna Garwood as "Reno Sweeney", Kassidy Downs as "Erma", Wesley Hanson as "Lord Evelyn Oakleigh" and Jordan Schmitz as "Elisha Whitney" 6 students were awarded "Special Recognition for Performance in a Small Ensemble".....the sailor sextet consisting of Clay Thiele, Tate Hookham, Ben Rempe, Mason Scott, Levi Gray, and Carter Spore. The entire ensemble was awarded "Outstanding Ensemble" for their consistent quality work and the show was also awarded one of the top prizes as "Outstanding Overall Performance".

The Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards, presented by Des Moines Performing Arts, celebrates the extraordinary achievements of young musical theater artists. The program aims to create visibility and support for high school musical theater programs and to highlight the importance of arts education.

Panels of community adjudicators comprised of performing arts educators and professionals attend and review each participating school's production. Students and directors receive valuable constructive feedback that can be used to grow and strengthen their future work. Based on reviews and scores, schools ultimately receive awards in honor of their achievements in categories ranging from choreography, design, supporting performer, lead performer, and overall musical production.

The Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards is designed to be celebratory rather than competitive in nature. Any student or school at an outstanding level is recognized for their achievement. Multiple honorees may be named in each category as performances merit.

The year culminates in a professionally produced Awards Showcase event held on the Des Moines Civic Center stage featuring outstanding student performances on June 5th and is open to the public. Because of their achievements, the Union cast has been chosen to perform the title song and dance "Anything Goes" from their production as part of the Awards Showcase. 4 more Union students were chosen to perform in the opening number at the Awards Showcase. These Union Students include Madi Winter, Brady Rempe, Kortlyn Ewoldt and Hunter Fleshner.

When asked why Union has chosen to participate in the contest, Tim J. Mitchell, one of the co-directors stated, "We have always been proud of the quality work our students produce in the fine arts at Union. Our philosophy at Union is always to strive to improve in each arts medium in which we participate. When we learned of this program, which includes theatre professionals attending our performance and giving constructive feedback, we jumped at the chance to help take our performance to the next level. This will be a great experience for all of our students involved in the production."

Union High school has a long and decorated history for excellence in the Musical Theatre arts. 28 of 34 Union Musical Theatre entries have been named All-State in the Iowa High School Speech Association, receiving the "Critics Choice" award three times. This is the 3rd year in a row Union High School musical has received awards from the Iowa High School Musical Theatre Awards. In 2015, "Catch Me If You Can" received 3 awards and in 2016 "State Fair" received 5 awards Union's productions are jointly directed by Tim J. Mitchell and Korina Carlson.

Tickets for Awards Showcase at the Des Moines Civic Center are $15.00 a seat and can be purchased at desmoinesperformingarts.org.

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