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Theatrics Make Show Choir Cheaper

Shining the spotlight on this year's show choir world drama

Nessa Woosley, Staff Morale Editor

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Massive sets, leads roles, crazy wigs, and obvious themes- all characteristics of a theatrical “show choir,” if one could even call it that.

We, the members of Vivace, believe the recent gradual transition to theatrical shows in the world of the sport poses an existential threat to show choir.

The hot topic of traditional shows versus theatrical shows has been the biggest drama in the show choir world this year. Students, understandably, become very attached to their shows because show choir is probably the most time consuming extracurricular activity of all.

After school rehearsal with Adam Peters. pc: Adam Peters

Our Skutt Catholic group, Vivace, begins preparation for our competition show as early as July, which entails either getting to school at 6:45 a.m. or eight hour-long choreography days. Competitions vary from 12 to 24 hour days, so often, members of a show choir believe so strongly in the show they perform that they will debate whether their traditional or theater-based show reigns supreme.

Traditional shows consists of the basic necessities: sequined or colorful dresses, suits, big hair, heels, choreography, and songs with a subtly meaningful and connecting message. Theatrical shows are almost miniature musicals with lead characters, a pop culture theme, crazy costumes, and obviously themed songs. Over the years, once subtle themes have escalated to dramatic proportions.

Theatrical shows can have a meaning of their own, but it is typically only surface level. Vivace’s theme this year is, “How do you want to be remembered?” in honor of the late athletic director Mr. McMahon. This theme has a deeper impact for us as a group than the story of the three little pigs or the princess and the frog ever could.

Vivace during the show’s ballad. pc: Dallas Center Grimes.

We, traditional show choir advocates, convey our story with our lyrics, choreography, and faces- not a solo character playing the lead and the rest of us playing trees or monkey number nine. Onstage, we are all equally playing a part in the story, not leaving it up to a few people.

Show choir isn’t like traditional sports where if a team scores the most goals, touchdowns, or hoops, there is a definite winner. A winner at a show choir competition is determined solely by a few judges’ ballots. It’s all subjective. If three judges prefer theatrical groups and two favor traditional ones, traditional groups have a massive disadvantage. The real disadvantage, however, is the ballot itself. Every competition has a different ballot and a different scoring method. A ballot could easily favor one of these drastically different types of shows. There is virtually no way to fairly judge them both on the same characteristics because they are so different.

With theatrical shows, one has to peel back the unnecessary spectacle to uncover what show choir is really all about. It’s difficult to see the parts of show choir that matter most when they are clouded by added theatrics. Theatrical shows are more similar to musicals than show choir- they should create their own sport.

We, Vivace, are proud as an ensemble to stick to what show choir fundamentally is: singing and dancing as a group to convey our meaningful message.

At the end of the day, traditional and theatrical shows are like apples and oranges, but you don’t have to peel an apple.

1 Comment

One Response to “Theatrics Make Show Choir Cheaper”

  1. Susan Schrader on February 13th, 2017 9:09 am

    Vanessa – great writing, great points: “or monkey number nine” – bam! “But you don’t have to peel an apple”. double bam! Vivace’s impact lasts a lifetime – and every memory is sweet!

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