Speech team prepares for state large group contest

The Cedar Falls speech team is back in action. This year they are aiming to have even more Division I’s, the highest rating that groups can receive at State.

“Groups that receive three Division I ratings and are nominated by one or more judges are then eligible to perform at the Large Group All-State Festival, which is Saturday, Feb. 20 at Iowa State University. The top 300 performances from across Iowa are selected by the IHSSA All-State Committee and recognized with a ceremony at the Iowa State Center,” coach Rebecca Kauten said.

The ratings are not necessarily groups against each other.

“State Large Group Speech Contest will be Saturday, Feb. 6 at Decorah High School. All teams from the northeast section of Iowa will compete at the contest. However, the teams don’t compete against each other per-se. The groups perform before three certified judges affiliated with the Iowa High School Speech Association (IHSSA) and receive written comments. Performances receive Division I, II, III or IV ratings, with a Division I rating being the highest possible rating and a Division IV being a disqualification due to a rule violation,” Kauten said.

Last year’s team had large group performers selected to perform at All State Festival, and two were nominated for individual events. Kauten said she hopes that the teams can do just as well this year.

“CF speech team has had All-State performers for both group and individual speech events consistently since 2003,” Kauten said.

With expectations higher than ever before, the team this year is working more to improve its skills.

“We have two assistant coaches helping with the team this year. Karen Franke and Nick Chizek have been very busy working with ensembles on events like our one act play, group improvisational acting, ensemble acting, musical theater and choral reading. It’s really added to the depth of the team, and we’re really producing a diverse body of work,” Kauten said.

The team has also grown too, and this also helped it get better. Students from Holmes, Peet and Cedar Falls High School have all come together.

“For the past several years the speech team has seen a high level of participation. This year we have more 9th graders than we have had in the past few years,” Kauten said.

With State approaching around the corner, the team would like to give public a taste of what they will be doing.

“Thursday, Feb. 4, we are hosting an evening recital of our large group speech performances. It’s a chance for friends and family to see the work that the speech team has put forth and also see the variety of performances we prepare for contest. Our recitals are also our main fund raising events for the year. The recital for individual events will be Monday, March 7, also at the high school,” Kauten said.

The large group recital, which begins at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium, will cost $3 for adults and $2 for students. Everyone is welcome to come and enjoy.

“Hopefully folks can attend the recital and see all that we do – it’s really more than just speech,” Kauten said.

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