Show choir prepares for March 3 competition

Members look forward to new challenge


Mary Stempky

Sophomore Yinny Lim; juniors Hailey Loftin, Lauren Helman, Anna Tobias and Annie Leppert; and senior Maggie Bittinger dance at a recent practice.

Mary Stempky, Reporter

Voices echoing off the walls. Arms raised to the sky. Hands waving from side to side. Changing songs. This is how show choir prepares for its upcoming competition in March.

According to director of choirs Mrs. Marian Bender, show choir will compete in its first competition on March 3. She said that it will be her first time taking a show choir to competition. “I am looking forward to seeing the girls step it up a notch from last year,” Bender said.

To prepare for their competition at North Central, practices become an integral part of the 30-member choir, and both the president of the show choir and the dance captains closely monitor each rehearsal.

According to senior and co-dance captain Nicole DeLise she and her and the other dance captain, junior Hailey Loftin, will observe the group when they rehearse the show choir set. “(Hailey and I) work with the group when we review choreography. We watch and give notes,” DeLise said.

According to show choir president and senior Maggie Bittinger, she said that during class she organizes the girls in the choir when Bender is not present and makes sure that rehearsals take place. She said that she did more at the beginning of the year in aiding Bender adjust to the school. “(I helped) her figure out what our choir program and how we could make it better this year,” Bittinger said.

Another aspect of improvement includes song choice.

According to Bender the set includes “Opening Up” from the musical “Waitress,” “Popular” from “Wicked,” “Astonishing” from the musical adaptation of “Little Women” and NeedtoBreathe. She said that as a new teacher who was unfamiliar with the girls, she considered tried and true tunes that they could master and would like. “These songs (in the set) are all ones people love,” Bender said.

Each song poses a different level of difficulty in terms of choreography. Both Bittinger and DeLIse agree on which of the songs is the easiest and which is the most challenging.

Bittinger said that easiest song in terms of choreography is “Astonishing,” which is the show choir’s ballad. “In ballads it’s not a lot choreography, just some basic movements. (The choir) just gets to sing it, feel the song (and) lay all those emotions out for the judges,” Bittinger said.

DeLise said that the hardest choreography is that that occurs during “Happiness.” “(That song) is the (choreography the choir) learned most recently and we have had much time to memorize it,” DeLise.

Knowing the choreography is important for competition. However, other aspects affect the choir’s show.

Both Bittinger and DeLise shared the part of competition that challenge people.

DeLise said that lack of experience —  the choir attended only one competition last year — creates some uncertainty in competing. “(The choir doesn’t know) what to expect, how the day works and what the other show choirs will be like,” DeLise said.

Bittinger said that for her she struggles with comparing the choir to others. She said that since this is only the second year in which the choir competes against others, it is hard to contrast between the choir and others because they are established. “(The school is) just starting, so the choir (isn’t) there yet. But I know (it) will get there,” Bittinger said.

Bender said that although a show choir exists at her choral company, Young Voices of Indianapolis, this choir performs at festivals, so this will be the first time she will take a show choir to competition. However she anticipates the event. “I think it will be a really fun experience,” Bender said.

Some students who like Bender have not competed before may have concerns. Bittinger and DeLise provided advice for these students.

Bittinger said that she would tell a member competing not to stress and leave it all on the stage. “By the time (the choir is) going to be competing, (the members) know the songs, the dances (and their) harmonies. Just go out there and have an amazing time,” Bittinger said.

DeLise said that she would suggest that a member be well rehearsed. She would also tell a first-time competitor not to worry about the scoring. “When (a student) is (at a competition) for the first time (they) are there to learn and to have fun,” DeLise said.

The experience of competing may draw people into the program; however, some may hesitate to join.

Bender, Bittinger, and DeLise would all encourage students to check out the show choir. Bender said that next year the choir will become more competitive. “Students will have to audition to get into show choir,” Bender said.

These auditions will be open to sophomores, juniors and seniors.

According to Bittinger, she said that if a student commits to the work she would suggest participation in the show choir. “If (as student is) willing to give 110 percent every day, then definitely join show choir,” Bittinger said.

DeLise said that if a student is interested in performing, singing and dancing, she would recommend show choir. “You learn a lot. You work hard, but it’s also fun,” DeLise.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of show choir is what a student may gain from being a part of it. Bittinger and DeLise shared what they have learned from their show choir experience.

DeLise said that show choir has helped improve her singing technique. She said that she has also gotten to know people. “I have gained very close friendships,” DeLise said.

Bittinger said that she has gained experience in competing she said that she loves being on stage and she hopes to do so for the rest of her life. “It fills me up; it makes me happy,” Bittinger said.

Bittinger said she has also met more like-minded students. She said that she knew some of the girls  before joining and has gotten closer with them. She said through the transitions this year the relationships have deepened. Bittinger said, “I know that (the choir) will get even closer this competition season.