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High School

Since 1975, the Buffalo Grove High School Expressions mixed-competition show choir has been growing and evolving with the times. According to the current Director of Vocal Music Debora Utley, “The show choir genre on the whole has grown and changed quite a lot. From its humble beginnings, show choir has grown into full-scale productions with live bands, backdrops of LED lighting and dry-ice smoke effects, as well as gorgeous costuming—sometimes three or four costumes are incorporated into each 17-minute show!”

But one thing that has not changed is the team’s dedication to performance excellence. “The students and families that are involved with this organization are simply incredible, putting in countless hours to make each year special and magical,” said Utley. “Our students work so hard and want to work hard—they really have a strong desire to achieve excellence.”

That commitment has definitely paid off, as the Expressions have garnered some prestigious awards in recent times. In fact, in the last four years, the team has only placed first or second at every competition.

In 2011, the Expressions received two first runner-up awards and grand champion awards at both the 2011 DeKalb (IN) Show Choir Invitational Competition and the 2011 Nashville Show Choir Nationals Competition.

2012 has shaped up to be just as good. The Expressions brought home the first runner-up award at their first competition, the 2012 Mt. Zion Competition, and grand champion ranking at both the 2012 DeKalb Show Choir Invitational Competition and the 2012 Chicagoland Showcase Competition. In addition, the Expressions’ band, vocals, choreography and soloists have also earned high marks at each competition.

In total, the BGHS Expressions are composed of 38 singers/dancers, from freshmen through seniors, nine student band members and four student crew members. Leading the mixed-competition show choir is accompanist Jeannie Workman, a part of BGHS for more than 15 years; Band Director Bryan Itzkowitz, a former Expressions member and BGHS alum; freelance choreographer Randy Sage, also a BGHS alum; and Director of Vocal Music Debora Utley, who has been conducting the Expressions since 2007. The team also benefits from the support of retired founder Linda McEachran Southard and a great administration.

In one season, the Expressions perform three local shows, including the annual BIG SHOW in May, a fall show in September and another in November as part of Cabaret Night, the group’s fundraiser that also includes a large meal and a silent and live auction. In addition, the Expressions compete in three to four competitions each year, on both the regional and national levels.

The BGHS Expressions website,, provides further information on the show choir and its upcoming shows. Don’t miss out on experiencing this award-winning group!

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