After 43 years, Buffalo Grove High School ending glee club
After 43 years, The Expressions show choir at Buffalo Grove High School will have its last song and dance -- a decision by school administrators that's upset parents and students who want the program to stay.
The show choir, currently made up of 39 singer/dancers, 13 band members and six crew members, has been around since the school opened. It is one of five glee clubs in Northwest Suburban High School District 214.
Buffalo Grove Principal Jeff Wardle said the decision, while difficult, was made so the school's fine arts division could expand its vocal jazz group and traditional choirs and start an a cappella group. He said there are few glee clubs for students to participate in after high school, but many colleges, for instance, have a cappella groups.
While the school has a number of smaller, more traditional choirs, much of school choir director Debora Utley's responsibilities revolve around The Expressions.
"To expand opportunities, we knew that also meant we couldn't do everything," Wardle said. "And that meant the tradition of Expressions would have to end in order to begin new traditions."
That decision has rankled parents and students who say they were caught off guard, especially since tryouts for next school year were scheduled for May. They've pointed to the club's success over the years, winning top awards at competitions nationwide, as evidence it should continue.
"Over the last 40 years, the show choir has made our district and community proud," said Emily Morrison, whose daughter is in The Expressions. "It is a shame that current and future students might not have the opportunity to develop and showcase their musical talent."
A number of parents and students came to the District 214 school board meeting last Thursday to protest the move, but district officials say the decision was made by Buffalo Grove High's administration.
Students members of the group found out two weeks ago, but the decision had been considered by administrators for the last few years. Wardle said he, Utley and the fine arts division head were in agreement that now is the time.
"As we evaluate every year all programs, this one kept coming back," Wardle said. "As the choral music program, we have so much more to offer."
Now, The Expressions' already scheduled Big Show, the annual end-of-year performance, will serve as its swan song after more than four decades. The show is scheduled for May 11-13 at the school's Miller Theater.