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Molly ShoreTheir voices ring out in harmonic...

Molly Shore

Their voices ring out in harmonic jubilation and their bodies move in

synchronization to the music.

They are the members of the John Burroughs High School Powerhouse


Choir -- 41 students who have brought home numerous regional

trophies this year and are on their way today to the National

Showstoppers Show Choir Competition in New York City.

“We’re hoping that our chances are good, considering our winning


streak,” said Powerhouse member Joseph Payo, the school’s Vocal Music

Assn. student president. “We want to show the California spirit.”

The advanced girls’ choir, the Sound Sensations, is also going to

the competition.

Choir Director Mary Rago, who has taught music at the school for

25 years, said the Powerhouse group is excited about going to

nationals after winning every competition it has entered since the

start of the school year.


In February, the choir swept the top awards at the Brea Olinda

High School Festival at Citrus College in Glendora. The month before,

it won first place at the Aztec Sing Show choir competition, also at

Citrus College.

In 1997, the choir won at nationals and repeated its win in 2000,

Rago said.

“We already have two under our belt, so three would be very

sweet,” Rago said. “We’re working very hard, but we can’t take


anything for granted.”

Jennifer Box, vice-president of the Vocal Music Assn., said the

choir was unable to compete last year because the district prohibited

out-of-state travel after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. That ban

was lifted this year, Rago said.The choirs will compete against 10

schools from across the country. Preliminary competition is Friday

night, and finals and women’s competition are Saturday night.