A family grounded in music

Christine Hilario, A&E Writer

Since 2003, Xavier has hosted an event that showcases the musical talents of middle school students from all over Eastern Iowa. Xtravaganza is a show choir competition featuring 11 middle schools and exhibition performances from Xavier’s Xhilaration and Xuberance show choirs.

For choir director Matt Walker, this year’s Xtravaganza is extra special. His daughter, Lilly Walker, will be competing in Xtravaganza for the first time this year.

Lilly has been dancing since she was three-years-old and she joined Excelsior Middle School’s Double Time this year because of her love of singing.

“It has been wonderful watching Lilly participate in different music and dance activities,” Mr. Walker said. “We [my wife and myself] made it a point early on to try to let her choose her own path and were elated when music and dance were part of that path.”

Along with participating in show choir, Lilly is on a competitive dance team this year and rehearses at the studio five days a week. She will be attending a summer program with the Joffrey Ballet, America’s premier ballet company, in Chicago this summer.

“The most challenging thing about dance is keeping your stamina up,” Lilly said. “I would say the same about show choir.”

According to Mr. Walker, show choir gives students opportunities to perform and learn that they would not otherwise have.

“Show choir is a great part of our choral program,” Mr. Walker said. “Our students love it and it is very gratifying for me to get to see them do something that they love and do it at such a high level.”

Out of everything this show choir season has to offer, Lilly is looking forward to competing in Xtravaganza the most.

“I’m so excited to see the Xavier groups perform and Taft Middle School’s Adrenaline because they are really good,” Lilly said.

Xtravaganza will take place Saturday, March 7 this year. Performances start at 10:30 a.m. and finals are scheduled for 5:30 p.m.