Globe Gazette Editorial
"Mohawk Follies: Another Opening, Another Great Show"
The 56th annual Mohawk Follies were full of life, as vibrant and exciting as the students who presented them.
In case you didnt see the Mohawk Follies over the weekend, you missed history.
In case youve been out of touch the last 56 years, heres a little background for you.
The Mohawk Follies is the variety show produced by Mason City High School. Edition 56 was simply outstanding.
Of course, every other North Iowa school has terrific shows, too, showcasing remarkable talent in our schools.
But the Follies is special because of its unique blend of humor, dance and music. And because Mason City High is believed to have the longest-running high school variety show in the nation (Follies is just one of its names).
Thats 56 years of involvement by hundreds of students, who must audition to be in the show, then spend hours rehearsing for their all-too-brief moments in the North Iowa Community Auditorium spotlight. Thats also 56 years of students helping produce the show, and taking care of all the backstage duties that make any such production a success.
This year, for example, more than 225 students took part; more than 10,000 have participated since it began in 1948.
Its as Joel Everist, director of choral activities for Mason City Schools, says: Follies is a wonderful educational experience for the students.
Educational, to be sure. Hopefully, though, its was as much fun to stage as it was to watch.
When we werent laughing at girls bonking out songs with tubes, we were singing along (under our breath, of course) to songs that took us back to the 70s with the theme, Feelin Groovy.
When we werent marveling at the dance skills of John Hammen and Chelsie Anderson, we were tapping our toes in rhythm with the jazz bands rendition of Bugle Call Rag.
We were barely done catching our breath after Kyle Brennans hilarious version of the 11 OClock News and Grant Becks juggling act when we were struck with the solemnity of One Tin Soldier.
And there was so much more.
The Follies was full of life, as vibrant and exciting as the students who presented them. Singers, dancers, musicians, all with so much skill, so much creativity.
Borrowing a line from Jenny and Kristen Ehlers skit, we wonder, where the heck does it all come from?
Nurturing it, molding it into the well-paced two-hour-plus production were the directors, Everist and Sarah Bruce. Mike McEniry conducted the jazz band. And Dennis Root directed the orchestra, whose players moved about the stage in an extraordinary arrangement of Carry On Wayward Son.
Oh, about the history.
For the first time in its 56 years, all three performances of the Follies were sold out.
It just goes to show that North Iowans know a good thing when they see and hear one.
(This story was published February 11, 2004)
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