Committed, hard-working and dedicated are just a few adjectives used to describe the talented high school students involved in Findlay First Edition, or FFE, Findlay High School’s show choir. Started in 1984 by JD Smith, the choir completed its 32nd season with a host of accomplishments. In April, the group won the regional FAME Chicago competition, qualifying them for finals. They went on to place third at the FAME National competition in Waukegan, IL. FFE is currently 11th nationally in a ranking of show choirs.
Auditions and Competitions Require Long Hours
Kevin Manley has been the lead director of Findlay First Edition for 11 years. FFE includes sophomores, juniors and seniors who have earned a spot in the group through what Manley describes as “an extensive week-long audition process.” This includes learning and performing a choreographed dance, a vocal tryout with a prepared solo and, finally, singing in a quartet to see how one does in a group. FFE consists of roughly 50 singers and dancers, 15 to 20 band members (known as The Boingers) and 7 to 12 backstage crew members, with numbers varying each year.
During competition season, the group performs about 20 times in various events and festivals. Jenna Kreinbrink, 2016 graduate of Findlay High School, a singer-dancer with FFE for three years, described competition season, “If I had to sum it up in one word: stressful!” Then laughingly adds, “But it’s all totally worth it. I have never felt closer to a group of people than I did with FFE this year. I made some really great friendships. It’s truly another support system.”
Students and Parents are the Key to Success
Jenna and Mr. Manley agree that the students play a huge role in the continued success of FFE. “People give me a lot of credit, but most of the credit goes to the students and their parents,” explains Manley. Jenna agrees that the students make FFE the show choir powerhouse it is today adding, “It’s the students’ commitment to the group. We all know the tradition of excellence and the standards that have been set for the past 32 years.”
Through the efforts and commitment of many, FFE continues to perform their way to the top. Be sure to “like” Findlay First Edition” on Facebook to learn about upcoming performances in season 33!