The Debtones is the Varsity Unisex Show Choir at Center Grove High School in Greenwood, Indiana. The group has been in existence since 1963, and has always been a popular performing ensemble in the Center Grove community and Indianapolis surrounding areas.
The group was started under the direction of Judith A. Meeks in 1963, shortly after she became the Choral Director at CGHS in 1962. The Debtones performed in a costume, sang more popular music and added small dance steps into the mix of their show. The group became popular around the Indianapolis Metropolitan area quite quickly and made a couple of early television performances in the 60′s and early 70′s. In many ways The Debtones were way ahead of their time as many women’s ensembles were not viewed as being very serious from a performance standpoint. The Debtones, however, really showed that women’s groups were just as great to listen to and watch as mixed groups. The Debtones went to their first competition in 1987 and then won every competition from 1988 they attended through mid-1992, when they were defeated at Lawrence Central HS by Edgewood HS’s Sophisticated Ladies. Throughout those years and years to come, The Debtones would begin to emerge as a leader, and innovator among women’s show choirs.
Following Judy’s retirement, The Debtones were directed by several different people including the following: Dan Andersen (1994-1995), Mark Nevil (1996-1998), Misha Thomas (1998-2001), Laura Dyer (2001-2003), Michele Shetter (2004-2006), Jennifer Dice (2006-2012), and are currently directed by Jared Norman and choreographed by Andy Haines. Some notable achievements of The Debtones under the direction of these men and women include an undefeated season in 2000, 2001, 2004, 2007, & 2011. In addition The Debtones have won many national championships including: Showstoppers 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, FAME Orlando in 2008 & 2010, FAME Chicago 2009, FAME Branson 2011 & were crowned the FAME National Unisex Champions in 2011.
1988 marked The Debtones first year in competition with Danny Evert as the choreographer. Although a somewhat new concept, female show choirs; Debs went on to win every competition they competed in 1988.
In 1993, an exceptional performance year for the Debtones resulted in Sound System placing first and Debs second in the finals at Sullivan HS in Sullivan, IL.
Judith Meeks announces that the 1994-1995 school year would be her last as the Choral Director at Center Grove High School. A search would begin at the conclusion of the ’93-’94 school year for an assistant director who would take over the head position in the ’95-’96 school year. Dan Andersen, a Choral Director from New Haven HS in northern Indiana is hired as the new Assistant Director at Center Grove HS.
After 32 years of service to Center Grove HS and establishing a nationally award-winning choral program, Judith A. Meeks retires from her position as Choral Director. Dan Andersen assumes the position and hires Mark Nevil as the Assistant Choral Director.
2nd in the Women’s Division at Showstoppers
Mark Nevil resigns as the Assistant Choral Director. Misha Thomas is hired to replace him. Christopher Pratt is hired as the choreographer for The Debtones.
Chris Miller resigns at the Choral Accompanist and on-staff arranger. Derek Schaefer is hired to assume the position.
4th Overall at the Branson Show Choir Cup
The Debtones started out with a rocky competition, but went undefeated the rest of the year and travelled to New York City for the Accent on the Arts performance event.
Dan Andersen announces his resignation as the Choral Director of Center Grove HS to take an assistant choral director position at Center Grove Middle School. Misha Thomas also announces her resignation as the Assistant Choral Director to move to Columbus, Ohio. Derek Schaefer resigns as the Choral Accompanist. Christopher Pratt is hired as the CGHS Choral Director, Laura Dyer is hired as the Assistant Choral Director, and Andy Haines takes over choreographing.
Mr. Pratt hires Jonathan Mauer as the Choral Accompanist.
First undefeated season since 1992, culminating with a 1st Place at the Chicagoland Showcase;
Julie Margason joins CGHS as an Assistant Choral Accompanist.
Sheila Leachman joins CGHS as a Choral Accompanist when Jonathan Maurer resigns. Laura Dyer resigns as Assistant Choral Director and is replaced with Michele Shetter.
Grand Champion at West Clermont (5th overall); 3rd Overall at Show Choir Nationals/Grand Champion in Women’s Division.
1st Place Show Choir Cup in Branson Female Division; Julie Margason resigns, Sheila Leachman takes over as full-time Choral Accompanist.
Grand Champion at Churubusco; Grand Champion at Danville, Best Visual, Best Female Soloist; Grand Champion at Shelbyville, Best Vocal, Best Visual; Grand Champion at Teays Valley, Best Vocal, Best Visual; Grand Champion at Pike, Best Vocal, Best Visual, Most Creative Show, Best Female Soloist; Grand Champion at Triton Central; Grand Champion at Showstoppers Orlando, Best GE, Best Music, Best Visual.
Derek Schaefer resigns as show choir accompanist/arranger, John Skaggs hired as replacement.
Grand Champion at Southmont; Grand Champion at Zionsville, Best Vocal, Best Visual, Best Show, Best Female Soloist – Jill Tolle; 2nd Runner-up at Ben Davis, Best Visual; Grand Champions at BSU, Best Vocal, Best Visual; Grand Champion at Huntington North, Best Visual, Best Show, Best Tech Crew; 2nd Runner-up at Pike, Best Tech Crew, Grand Champion at Showstoppers Orlando, Best Visual.
Michele Shetter resigns as Assistant Director. Jennifer Dice is welcomed as the new Assistant Choral Director of Center Grove High School directing The Debtones.
1st Runner-up at Southmont, Best Female Solo – Leah Torrison; Grand Champion at Chicagoland; 1st Runner-Up at Churubusco, Best Visual, Best Tech Crew; Grand Champion at Pike, Best Visual, Best Show, Best Tech Crew; 1st Runner-up at Franklin Central; 1st Runner-up at Zionsville, Best Visual, People’s Choice; Grand Champion at Danville, Best Vocal, Best Visual, Best Costuming, Best Tech Crew.
Grand Champions at Southmont High School, Best Vocal, Best Visual; Grand Champions at Danville, Best Vocal, Best Visual, Outstanding Female Soloist – Julie Nussbaum, Best Tech Crew; Grand Champions at Norwell, Best Vocal, Best Visual; Grand Champion at Lawrence Central, Best Vocals, Best Visual; Grand Champions at Southwestern; Grand Champions at Showstoppers Outstanding Music, Best Visuals, Outstanding General Effect.
John Skaggs resigns as show choir pianist. Greg Sanders is hired as the show choir pianist.
2nd Runner-up Southmont; Grand Champion at Danville, Best Music, Best Visual, Best Costume, Best Female Solo – Taelor Legan; Grand Champion at Warren Central, Best Visual, Best Vocal, Best Tech Crew, Best Female Solo – Taelor Legan; Grand Champion at Lawrence Central, Best Vocal, Best Visual; Grand Champion at Northrop, Best Vocal, Best Visual; Grand Champion at Pike, Best Vocal, Best Visual, Best Show, Grand Champion FAME Orlando.
Grand Champion at Southmont, Best Vocals, Best Visual; Grand Champion at Churubusco, Best Vocals, Best Visual, Best Tech Crew; 1st Runner-Up at Troy Buchanan, Best Tech Crew; Grand Champion at Lawrence Central, Best Vocal; 2nd Place at Pike, Best Show, Best Tech Crew; Grand Champion at North Central, Best Vocal, Best Visual; Grand Champion FAME Chicago.
Grand Champion at Churubusco, Best Vocals, Best Visual; Grand Champions at Danville, Best Vocal, Best Visual, Best Costuming; Grand Champions at Norwell, Best Vocals, Best Visuals, Best Tech Crew, 1st Runner-Up to John Burroughs at Fairfield, Grand Champions at FAME Orlando.
Another perfect season for The Debtones! Grand Champions at Churubusco, Best Vocals, Best Tech Crew; Grand Champions at Pike, Best Vocals, Best Female Vocalist – Alise Lofgrin; Grand Champions at Lawrence Central, Best Vocals, Best Visual;Grand Champions at Southwestern, Best Vocals, Best Visual, Best Show Design; Grand Champion at Teays Valley, Best Combo, Best Show, Best Tech, Best Visual, Best Vocals; Grand Champions at FAME Branson.
Debtones are named the FAME National Unisex Grand Champions, Best Original/Creative Number