Dancing Through the Pandemic


Molly Martin

Happiness Inc. performs with masks on to lower the risk of COVID-19.

At the beginning of March 2020, the future looked bright for juniors in Kennedy’s varsity show choir group Happiness Incorporated. After a season where they finished in third place or higher three times, they were scheduled to compete at Show Choir Nationals in Nashville on March 27. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic erupted. Not only was Show Choir Nationals 2020 canceled, but also the following 2021 competition season. 

Aside from show choir, the class of 2021 lost their school dances, 2020 spring sports, much of their senior year’s first semester and about a year’s worth of college campus visits.

Show choir in the pandemic has been different. Only two schools in Cedar Rapids were scheduled to compete in 2021, and neither ended up going. Despite numerous setbacks, the show must go on.

Kennedy show choirs are still preparing three high-level shows for this year, with four concerts overall. Two will be held at Kennedy on Thursday, March 11 at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. The Going Out Concerts will be on Friday, March 26. With everything that’s changed, these concerts are a welcome reminder of what show choir can be.

“It’s a little bit of normalcy to be able to practice and learn the show,” Grace Hanrahan, sr., said.

Happiness Inc. features 56 performers this year, many of whom are seniors. If the season went as originally planned, they would have competed in five to six competitions.  They competed five times in the past 2020 season, but two competitions were canceled. In the end, there were about 10 live performances of last year’s show.

COVID-19 stripped many team bonding events away from the show choir experience, such as going to Bloomsbury farm as a group or throwing Christmas and Halloween parties. When taking measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19, these events cannot be done safely.

Tryouts for the next season are due April 7. With more students quitting than past years and less students trying out, the Kennedy choir program welcomes anyone willing to try out for next year. The audition form can be accessed here. Any questions can be answered by Storm Ziegler, the show choir director, who can be contacted at [email protected].