Catalina Club performances set for March 15, 16

Krystle Wagner • Mar 11, 2019 at 11:00 AM

GRAND HAVEN TWP. – The Catalina Club is “Swimming through the Cities” in their upcoming shows.

More than 200 Grand Haven High School students will perform in the shows, set for 7 and 9 p.m. Friday, March 15; and 1, 4, and 7 p.m. Saturday, March 16, at the school’s Aquatic Center.

Tickets will be sold at the door and cost $10 for adults and $5 for students. Children ages 5 and younger are free.

Given the warm temperature of the Aquatics Center, attendees are encouraged to wear cool clothing.

Since being elected in March 2018, club president Anna Ackerman and officers Whitney Engelsman, Kirbey Colella and Madison Smits have created a theme, selected music, choreographed numbers, selected costumes, and worked on the show’s backdrop.

The “Swimming through the Cities” themed show will include songs about different cities, states and countries. Engelsman, 18, said they thought it would be fun.

Smits, 17, noted there’s a mix of current and older songs to appeal to a wide range of audience members.

Beginning in November, students started practicing twice a week at 5 a.m. They started holding daylong Saturday practices toward the end of December and early January.

“We’re just trying to make a show that our whole community can enjoy,” Engelsman said.

The 2019 performances are part of a longstanding tradition that dates back to at least the 1950s, according to Betsy Ainsworth, the club’s adviser.

Engelsman, Colella, and Ackerman — all seniors — have been involved in the Catalina Club throughout their time in high school.

Smits, who transferred to GHHS in 2017, joined the club as a way to meet new people. She said everyone has fun, and it’s a supportive group.

The 2019 male captains include president Chris Akselberg and officers Griffin Kelly, Jackson Hamm and Jack Reus.

Ackerman, who has had many family members in the club, said there are many life lessons learned from being a captain – how to lead a group, work with a team, and support each other.

As audiences watch the performances, Ackerman said she hopes they can see the excitement on everyone’s faces and think about the effort everyone has put into it.

Smits said the shows have a different type of atmosphere as students have a new energy to the shows compared to practices.

Seeing all of the hard work come together is something Ackerman said she’s looking forward.

“It’s one weekend that we’ve worked a year for, and it’s fun to spend time together,” she said.

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