Prospect High School senior John Zach performs with the school's Mixed Company group during the "Chicagoland Showcase," hosted by the choral program at Hersey High School in Arlington Heights. (Brian O'Mahoney / address Pioneer Press) Elizabeth Owens-SchielePioneer Press The 24th annual "Chicagoland Showcase" at John Hersey High School in Arlington Heights attracted students from six middle schools and 19 high schools this past weekend to compete in one of the grandest show choir events in the area. Hundreds of students, decked out in show-stopping sequin costumes, belted out Broadway tunes and synchronized their dance moves to represent their schools, receiving standing ovations from standing-room only crowds Friday and Saturday. The event showcased not only the talents of these teens but the camaraderie and confidence many of them have built through teamwork and dedication to show choir, organizers and participants said. Hersey High School sophomore Olivia Cano Brian O'Mahoney / Pioneer Press Hersey High School sophomore Olivia Cano performs with the school's OnStage group during the "Chicagoland Showcase," hosted by the choral program at Hersey High School in Arlington Heights. Hersey High School sophomore Olivia Cano performs with the school's OnStage group during the "Chicagoland Showcase," hosted by the choral program at Hersey High School in Arlington Heights. (Brian O'Mahoney / Pioneer Press) This year's showcase featured a special performance Friday by Late Night Blues of Elmhurst College with Anthony Paul, a veteran of NBC's "The Voice." The competition also showcased students coming from middle schools in Perrysburg, Ohio, to Park Ridge and Niles, along with high school students from Indiana, Iowa and Illinois. Naperville North's High Heeled Harmony, an all-girl show choir decked out in blue and gold sequined dresses draped over one shoulder, sang Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours," delivering them the Grand Champions award in the unisex division at the competition. Other Chicagoland Showcase winners this year included Grand Champions Naperville North Entourage; in the festival division, Grand Champions Fremd Soundscape; and in the middle school competition, Grand Champions St. Isaac Jogues Cadence.
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Farhana Khera, executive director of Muslim Advocates, a civil rights group in Washington, said the Trump administration had "doubled down on anti-Muslim bigotry." She told reporters on a conference call: "Its crystal clear this is a Muslim ban." But some Republicans who had been critical of Trump's original order were more positive on the new one. Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he was "very encouraged" by the approach and pleased that Iraq was removed from the list. Iraq was taken off the banned list because the Iraqi government has imposed new vetting procedures, such as heightened visa screening and data sharing, and because of its work with the United States in countering Islamic State militants, a senior White House official said. Trump's original ban resulted in more than two dozen lawsuits in U.S. courts. The Justice Department estimated 60,000 people had their visas revoked by the first order but senior administration officials said on Monday those visas were now valid again for entry into the United States. "By rescinding his earlier executive order, President Trump makes one thing perfectly clear: his original travel ban was indefensible - legally, constitutionally and morally," said Attorney General Bob Ferguson of Washington state, which succeeded in having the previous ban suspended. His office will likely decide this week on whether to proceed with litigation over the new order, he said. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said he expected the revised order to have the same uphill battle in the courts as the original version. "A watered down ban is still a ban," he said in a statement. "Despite the administration's changes, thisdangerous executive order makes us less safe, not more, it is mean-spirited, and un-American.It must be repealed." HARDER TO CHALLENGE The fact the ban affects fewer people already in the United States means it will be more difficult for opponents to find plaintiffs who have been harmed by the order and thus have legal standing to challenge it, legal experts said.