For 50 years, the Polyfoniks have been building a community within a community at Temple High School.
The show choir will have its 50th anniversary concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Cultural Activities Center, 3011 N. Third St. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for students.
For the anniversary show, Polyfoniks alumni will be asked to come up and join in for part of the performance — something the group has done at previous shows, but more alumni are expected to attend this event.
Senior Shanarya Moton, 17, said the connection to past generations of Polyfoniks is part of the appeal of joining the group.
“Every year the group changes — somebody graduates and somebody comes in, and I feel like the interchanging parts are kind of amazing to be a part of,” Moton said. “It’s just fun to be a part of something bigger than ourselves.”
For Polyfoniks alum and current accompanist Dawna Mischtian, being a part of the group meant being a sort of ambassador for Temple High School.
“The Polys go out and sing for all kinds of events and clubs around town,” Mischtian said. “For a long time, that was what you saw of Temple High School. There’s other (groups) that go out and do that kind of thing now, but they were the face of Temple High School for a lot of years.”
The choir was always close-knit. Mischtian met her husband in the group.
“There was at least three other Poly-Poly couples that I know of that met in the group,” she said.
Mischtian is a 1984 graduate of Temple High, and that phrase was part of the choir’s shoptalk at the time.
“Oh yeah — ‘Poly-Poly couples’ — it was a thing,” Mischtian said.
But do choir members use the same terminology in 2019?
“Not at all,” Moton said quickly.
“We will now,” director Cameron Roucloux added.
Roucloux is in his fourth year at Temple High School. For the anniversary show, he said the group will perform new material as well as old favorites.
“We also have gone back and kind of asked some different people who have been in the group in years past what were some songs that … they enjoyed singing,” he said.
The group has created a medley of some of these old hits. Plus, it will perform the one song that every version of the Polyfoniks has done for 50 years: “Everything’s Coming Up Roses.”
“It’s the exact same choreography from the beginning,” Mischtian said.
For this song, Polyfoniks alumni are always welcome to join in.
“At every concert that we have, we always ask if there are alumni of the group,” Roucloux said. “That’s what we always start the second half of the show with, with all the alumni that are there at the concert. … We have a current student that his grandmother was in the original group in ’68-’69.”
Roucloux said the long-term continuity of the Polyfoniks is unusual.
“I’m just grateful for the directors before me who felt like it was important to keep something the same,” he said.
For the future, the director hopes to maintain that legacy.
“There’s lots of schools in this area that have a group that’s similar, but somewhere along the way somebody changed the name or kind of the identity or that kind of thing,” Roucloux said. “I think it’s really kind of amazing that no one over the last 50 years has changed … the identity of what it is, and I’m just happy to be a part of that.”