Maharishi School

Maharishi School Takes Top Honors in Speech Competition


For the third year in a row, Maharishi Upper School in Fairfield brought home the Critic's Choice All-State Banner for Outstanding Choral Reading awarded at the Iowa High School Speech Association's All-State Festival held in Des Moines on Feb. 17. This is the first time in the history of IHSSA that a school has kept the banner for Choral Reading for three consecutive years.

Under the direction of Rodney Franz and Mosie Lasagna, the Maharishi School Theatre Department has won more Critic's Choice awards in the past decade than any other school in the state. Eight banners have graced the walls of Spayde Theatre (five for Choral Reading, two for Group Mime and one for One Act Play), and a total of 43 entries from Maharishi School have been invited to perform at All-State in the past fourteen years. Three years ago, Maharishi Upper School was awarded the traveling Sweepstakes Trophy for the most outstanding entries from a single school invited to perform at All-State.

"Rhapsody", this year's winning Choral Reading, expresses the range of emotions evoked by love, from exultation to despair. A rich tapestry of fine literature, it weaves the poetry of Neruda, Shakespeare, Ogden Nash and others, with songs from opera, jazz and pop music, and a delightful tale by Carl Sandburg. The performers created dazzling vocal and visual effects, using movement, sound effects, costumes, and the intricate orchestration of voices.

In her comments on the performance, critic Teresa Jackson, faculty member at Iowa Central Community College, wrote, "Am I in New York?". She expressed to the cast her doubt that anyone in New York could do any better and commended them on the sensuous beauty of the piece. The cast of "Rhapsody" included Rebecca Busch, Monica DeAngelis, Ben Estey, Paul Gagnon, Chris Grace, Joy Grant, Evan Hall, Brea Hallen, Eric Davis Hurlin, Sarah Sica, Michaela Terrien, Brendan Thomas, Matt Ticciati, Kate Vigmostad, and Mira Waller. Alternates were Jennifer Lamothe and Chauncey Moulding.

Also performing at the All-State Festival was Maharishi Middle School's Choral Reading "Kaleidoscope", celebrating the glories of color and light. In awarding the All-State Banner to the Upper School, Ms. Jackson said that the Maharishi Middle School's performance was her second choice for the prize. With coaching assistance by Maharishi School alumnus Matthew Emmanuel Levi, "Kaleidoscope" was performed by Anna Baumann, Geoffrey Boothby, Rebecca Boss, Chelsea Briggs, Anna Bruen, Charly Crone, SpringCutter, Malinda Gosvig, Hopi James, Nelina Loiselle, Miranda Mallard, Alexander Stone, Jaime Thatcher,Katherine Turner, Aidan Vollmer, and Alana Waksman.The third piece performing at All-State was the group mime, "Crossing Borders", about the perils faced by a group of refugees in search of a safe haven. The performers were Justin Cutter, Alison Gritz, Eric Davis Hurlin, Kate Vigmostad, Leah Waller. Colin Gee, another Maharishi School alumnus and a professional performer in New York City, assisted in creating and coaching the piece.

The Readers Theatre, "Seedfolks", and One-Act Play, "Dancing at Lughnasa", both received special recognition as Outstanding Performances at the State level of competition and were honored by being listed in the All-State program. "Seedfolks" is a moving tale of the many lives touched by an inner city neighborhood garden. It was performed by Jessica Barnett, Jacob Boss, Justin Cutter, Monica DeAngelis, Aubrey Deans, Alison Gritz, Kelsey Hallen, Lynn Harvey, Jennifer Lamothe, Sarah Sica, and Brendan Thomas. "Dancing at Lughnasa" is an excerpt from Brian Frieli's award-winning play about five Irish sisters facing the challenges of a changing world. Ben Estey, Paul Gagnon, Erin Levi, Michaela Terrien, Mira Waller, Leah Waller, Joy Grant, and Evan Hall were the performers, with Sarah Sica as Assistant Director.

Two other group mimes were performed at the IHSSA State competition in Grinnell and received the level one ranking from the judges. "Alpine Rescue" told the haunting story of the rescue of an injured mountain , featuring Jacob Boss, Chris Grace, Brea Hallen, Erin Levi, and Matt Ticciati. "Your Face in my Home" was a clever depiction of boundaries being broken between television and the real world and was performed by Rebecca Busch, Aubrey Deans, Kelsey Hallen, Lynn Harvey, and Chauncey Moulding.

The Maharishi School students presented all of their entries in Spayde Theatre on the Maharishi University of Management campus for the Fairfield community, visitors from out of state, and students from other schools in Iowa.
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