Article by: Mariel Guzman
Photograph by: Michelle Rabaya
What does it really mean to be a Show Choir student?
As a Show Choir member, myself, I know that dedication is key. Like most music classes, Show Choir requires students to write practice logs for singing done at home and calls for tech rehearsals before the day of a concert. But Show Choir singles itself out through the extra practice required of its students. This over-time is not necessarily for improving the pieces themselves but, rather, for improving the group dynamic. For Show Choir members, there is no “I” in “ensemble” — ensemble work is important because it bonds singers before they see the limelight, letting them concentrate on connecting with the audience during an actual performance
Show Choir also requires students to connect with the pieces they perform. According to Show Choir director Ms. Grev, requiring research on each musical number means that “students have a chance to understand the historical and literary context of the music they perform.” That way, students will always sing “in character”. Group discussions about music choices also enhance understanding of the pieces and ensure that all singers are on the same page when they step out onto the stage.
Regrettably, ISM’s Show Choir has developed a reputation of being a bit elitist and tedious. According to Ms. Grev, the students who make the cut for Show Choir have either “highly developed [their talents] or are on the threshold of greatness.” Expectations are high in Show Choir but the class also has a lot of fun! Students play games every lesson to improve drama skills and to encourage team building. There are even pre-concert rituals: “We perform a secret chant before each performance,” says Ms. Grev, “and we like to take pictures of ourselves. We also enjoy getting together socially when time and opportunity allow, especially if there’s food involved!”
Being a member of Show Choir is like being part of any family of friends. Show Choir student Alex Bernas says it best, “When I go to Choir I know that I don’t have to worry about school anymore. I can just toss all that aside for an hour and ten minutes, be with amazing people, and do what I love.”