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Hurricane Red Hot hopes to sing its way to a state championship

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Hurricane High School prides itself on many things: excellent academics, school spirit and a multitude of state champion sports teams. But there is one thing at Hurricane that has won more state championships in the past 15 years than any sport -- the Red Hot Show Choir.

What exactly is the Red Hot Show Choir? According to Red Hot president Megan Barthelmess, it is "a group of students that love music. We perform a 20-minute show at competitions, where we sing and dance at the same time."

This is the 20th year that Red Hot has been singing and dancing for Hurricane High School, and it will surely not be the last. The 55 singers, dancers, musicians and crewmembers are all students at Hurricane High School, and they all enjoy being in show choir.

"It helps you make so many friends and brings you closer with people you might not have met if it wasn't for show choir," said Andrea Mashayekhi, a four-year member of Red Hot.

Not only are the members of the show choir making friends, but they are also working hard to win competitions. Red Hot has practice every weekday and competitions on weekends.

"We work hard every day to reach our goal of wining competitions, just like every other team," Barthelmess said.

Red Hot is currently in the heart of competition season, with several upcoming events, including the Red Hot Show Choir Championship at the school on Feb. 8. All of this leads up to the annual West Virginia Music Educators Association State Show Choir Festival in March, which Red Hot has won eight times since 1999.

"It is amazing to be a part of something that is this special. Winning the state championship was the best feeling in the world!" said Caroline Smith, who was in the choir that earned the title when she was a freshman. Now a senior, she hopes to win one more state title before she graduates.

This year, Red Hot is trying something new for its competition show. The show pays homage to the successful Broadway show "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee." There are five "spellers" played by sophomores Tevis Robinson, Delaney Furr, Allyson Warren, Jonathan Lovejoy and Madison Thomas.

The other members of the choir belt out great songs and perform incredible dances, led by director Kaitlin DeSpain and choreographer Shayne Gue. There are a variety of song and dance styles in the show, from a Frank Sinatra ballad to an upbeat Fergie number. Red Hot members are hoping that this show will win them a ninth state championship this year.

The WVMEA State Show Choir Festival will be held at the Charleston Civic Center on March 15. Middle and high school show choirs from all over the state will be there to compete. Hurricane High School's Red Hot Show Choir is hoping to take home the trophy not only for them, but for the community that has supported Red Hot for 20 years.


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