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Mid-Prairie repeats exceptional All-State nominations
Mid-Prairie sends two double nominated performers to All-State Speech
Mar. 16, 2023 11:21 am
WELLMAN — Mid-Prairie Community High School will send six performances to the All-State Speech Showcase at University of North Iowa Monday, March 27 after receiving 14 division I ratings at state contest.
According to Mid-Prairie Speech Coach Christine Meader, “At least two of three judges in each performer's center at State Contest must nominate a student for them to qualify for All-State. Participants in the IHSSA All-State Individual Events Festival represent the top 5% of all IE participants across the state of Iowa.”
Despite sending six performances to the All-State Festival, Mid-Prairie will only send four students.
“Haydon Bailey and Jack Greiner are two of 16 students across the state of Iowa participating in IHSSA Individual Events that are nominated as double performers at the All-State Festival,” Meader said.
Greiner and Bailey are both juniors at Mid-Prairie and this is not their first time heading to All-State.
“Last year I went to All-State for improv, so I already knew I enjoyed that event and have the skills for it,” Greiner said.
He will perform in improv again but also will add a solo musical theater performance to his All-State accolades.
“My event solo improv is the event where you will have a random scenario,” Greiner explained. “Every time you will pick one situation and two characters. It’s completely random.”
According to Greiner, his solo musical theater piece is a stand-alone song about a man that breaks into the apartment of the woman he loves.
“He sings about how they need to be together,” Greiner described. “It is almost like he’s playing a talker kind of guy, but he loves her. He just doesn’t exactly know how to portray that. He’s very creepy, but in a very funny way.”
Bailey will perform in solo acting and solo musical theatre at All-State for the second year in a row.
“Last year for my events I did solo musical theater and acting, same as I did this year,” Bailey said. “They both made it to All-State last year, so I was like, Hey, if I'm on a roll might as well go with it.”
According to Bailey, a Mid-Prairie alumni Kyra Helmuth wrote his acting monologue “The Expert.”
“It's about this guy who thinks he is the greatest ever when it comes to wooing women, but he’s really not,” Bailey explained.
He also will perform a comedic musical theater piece. His comes from the musical The 20th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
“It’s about a kid who is at a spelling bee and he doesn’t feel like he is very smart,” Bailey described. “So, he has trouble spelling the word he is given.”
According to Bailey weeks of preparation go into each performance.
“It is just constant practices and meeting with your coaches,” Bailey said. “They work very hard to make it as perfect as it can be.”
“And of course, in every little performance that you give, there are variations, things that aren't the same as they were before,” he said. “So, you really work hard to make it consistent and funny.”
While Greiner agrees with Bailey, he says that practice for improv varies from other categories.
“I mean improv really special event because it's not the same every time,” Greiner explained. “ … So, it's really like a point of getting your fundamentals down and then consistently getting your fundamentals down so you can add extra to it.”
“Because if you don't have your fundamentals, the judges are going to pinpoint that and it's going to hurt your rating,” Greiner shared.
For Greiner, improv is based in comedy.
“So, you need to be thinking about what characters you're going to do,” Greiner said. “You need to think about how you can make them funny, because if it's not funny, then the energy is not there.”
He also stated that keeping those funny characters distinctly different plays a big role in a successful improv performance alongside appropriate movement and use of space.
“You don't want [your characters] to be standing in the middle of a stage the whole time because.
that's not fun to watch,” Greiner explained. “It's fun for them to fall over. You know, if they are getting hit or something like that, they need to fly across the whole stage because that's very entertaining to watch.”
“Just having that all there and then having, you know, witty one liners and stuff like that,” he added. “It keeps the audience engaged, even when it's not all verbal.”
Despite their track records of outstanding performances, Greiner and Bailey still get nervous before performing, anxiously await their scores, and experience excitement when they do well.
“Well, state is, in my opinion, the most nerve-wracking event of the season,” Bailey said. “As we say it's where you get your dreams crushed.”
“It’s really good to know that you've gotten straight ones, because that's just one step closer to achieving your goal,” Bailey added. “It's not easy and just pulling that off alone is a big achievement in and of itself.”
“Yeah, I definitely think there's a ton of anxiety because unlike a lot of sports, you will go and practice and then you'll have a game and a game, and a game, but for [speech] … if you can get to State, you have one performance to do and it's all or nothing,” Greiner added. “So you just want to put your very best foot forward.”
These speech students count their straight one ratings as huge successes, and call their All-State nominations “the cherry-on-top.”
“Like Jack said, it's like the cherry on top if you make it to Allstate,” Bailey said. “That's great. But if you got all ones the state you've already succeeded. So, if you get that honor, it's amazing. Of course, something everybody in the speech group should strive for. But it's not always easy.”
Bailey encourages other speech competitors saying that not getting an All-State nomination doesn’t mean their performances weren’t amazing.
“A performance in itself can be allotted for things,” Greiner said, “In Improv you get a different thing every time. So sometimes you have a really amazing draw … but you can get unlucky, too.”
“There's still some amazing, amazing, performances that didn't even make it to state,” Greiner said. “I don't think it's right to overlook that.”
“It's a very subjective competition,” Bailey said and added that sometimes judges are looking for something specific. “Maybe they’re looking for something more serious or looking for something more comedic, and if you catch them in the right mood. You get nomination if you're good. But it's a very subjective competition.
“It sucks to be on the wrong end of that sometimes,” he said.
Mid-Prairie also will send Harlie Gehling to perform in poetry, and Isadora Goode to perform in Original Oratory.
Gehling also received a division one rating at state speech contest in radio news broadcasting.
Other Mid-Prairie speech contestants received division I and II ratings at the state contest:
Jacob Carrillo: Division one rating in Solo Improvisation. Division two rating in Solo Acting.
Kenadi Fay: Division one rating in Storytelling and After Dinner Speaking.
Logan McClellen: Division one rating in Storytelling.
Daniel Rodgers: Division one rating in Reviewing. Division two rating in Poetry.
Caroline Schrader: Division one rating in Solo Acting.
Avery Slaubaugh: Division one in Solo Musical Theatre.
Christine Meader and Lisa Helmuth coach the Mid-Prairie speech team.