The very first thing I want to say here is that this post does not mean to disrespect any of the nine choirs who have qualified for State this year. You guys have earned your way in with great shows and hard work.
However, what can be done to have a true Indiana State Championship that includes all of the amazing choirs in the state? I know there have been discussions by some people about the historical "strangeness" of the ISSMA judging that results in so many schools not submitting scores for possible State participation. Are there other reasons? On a national level, I know sometimes people get frustrated that we don't have the ability to have a true national champion. The reasons for that make more sense, though. Money and travel prohibit a lot of schools from participating in some of those National contests, and it would be difficult to get all of the big National powerhouses together on one stage on the same day. But state is different. It's held in Indianapolis, which means there is no eligible school that would be more than 3 hours away. There's no state lines to cross, so District / school transportation can be used, and it is a one-and-done competition, so it doesn't go extremely late.
Yet, when you look at the list of participants, there are some glaring omissions. Franklin Central. Zionsville. Carmel. Center Grove. Chesterton. Carroll. Homestead. Ben Davis. (I'm sure there are others I've forgotten, but those are the ones that came to mind.) Some of these schools used to participate in State and have since pulled back interest. Others have never really been a part. Whatever the reason is, ISSMA should work to figure out a solution to the problem. Reach out to the directors of all show choirs in Indiana to see what can be done to fix it. (((Stepping off soapbox now)))
Most of the choirs you have named are choirs that usually do not go to state. Granted franklin Central and Ben Davis always seem to go but this year they did not submit scores. Along with that, choirs must go to at least one of the many ISSMA Qualification competitions in order to qualify, and they take the highest scoring choirs to compete. Basically to answer your question some choirs choose to rather not compete at this competition or some choirs don’t qualify, it all depends on their show and their directors preference of whether or not to go.
on Mar 12, 2018, 2:27 PM (Edited by bheyneman)
I totally understand the qualifying process and how it works. The reason for my post is “why”. Why don’t more choirs participate in ISSMA qualifiers? Why don’t more submit scores? Why don’t more directors want to take their groups to state? What is it about ISSMA that turns them off? Maybe ISSMA is totally fine with how things are and that’s the reason why no changes are ever made. But in my opinion, it could be much, much better if all of the top groups would want to participate.
Also to consider, for schools in the Fort Wayne area, Homestead & Carroll, the only competitions that are ISSMA qualifiers are Dekalb and East Noble. Even further for chesterton, who has half their competitions in Illinois, have no ISSMA qualifiers around them.
on Mar 12, 2018, 2:39 PM (Edited by bheyneman)
Kadepiper, yep, exactly. And it sounds like their opinion is not a good one if they continue choosing to not participate. It sure would be nice if ISSMA recognized that so they could draw in more schools like Carmel, Zionsville, Center Grove, etc.
I don't have any firsthand knowledge about the way this competition does their scoring, but everything I have ever heard about it since starting this site has been negative. If there is something that directors have a problem with and choose not to go, I'm not sure that's necessarily a "bad opinion." Would it be nicer if more directors would communicate and actually address some of these things so we have a better idea of the situation? Absolutely. But I also know that ISSMA places strict regulations on certain things that not everyone agrees with or can accommodate. I don't see any ISSMA representatives replying in this topic either.
Some groups also don't do well on ISSMA score sheets, so they have backed away from doing State. Others may have had scores that would qualify but ISSMA only takes the top 9 schools with the highest scores.
Most spring breaks in Indiana are not until the last week of March or first week of April. Also, I’m pretty sure that Carmel, Center Grove, Zionsville, Homestead, and Franklin Central all would have qualified for the top 9 scores had they participated in an ISSMA site and chosen to submit scores. (So I’m not referring to schools that submit a score and are not chosen because the score didn’t make the top 9.). The real question is why are there directors that snub State every year? That is the crux of my post—that ISSMA is fine with the way things are, so it doesn’t make any changes to encourage more qualifying sites or change up the judges that it uses each year.
Scoring for ISSMA competitions have three categories: technique, artistry, and repertoire effect. Within the three categories, there are six boxes- 1, 2, 3A, 3B, 4, and 5. In each box, a description is given of what a choir scoring in that box number should look/sound/perform like and how that correlates to the scores that choir should be given. For example: Box 1 would have a list of criteria that means a choir should be scored in that box and guides the judge to score that choir between a 0 and 30. Box 2- 31-60. Box 3A- 61-70. Box 3B- 71 -80. Box 4- 81-95. And box 5- 95-100. Each choir is given a score out of 100 for each of the three categories, giving them a score out of 300. The two vocal scores are then averaged together as well as the two visual scores. The vocal score is multiplied by .6 and the visual score is multiplied by .4, giving each choir an overall score out of 300.
Many directors dislike the scoresheet used by ISSMA as well as venues, judging selection, and other factors. ISSMA has a board of directors as well as meetings where all directors go and can share their grievances with ISSMA. While they may be in the process of making changes, things have been pretty stable and resistant of change these past few years.
Ryaude, really good explanation of scoring. Also, nice additional insight as to why more directors don’t participate. As far as any changes with ISSMA, I agree that it will be difficult to implement many, if any.
Actually, many of the Central Indiana schools start Spring Break next week. ISSMA State Finals have been the first weekend of Spring Break for many of the competing schools for the past several years. Many directors choose to take their groups on out-of-state trips over Spring Break, when they don't have to get permission to miss school to go to bigger competitions like HOA and FAME. Those out-of-state contests often take 12-18 months of planning and fundraising, so directors make the choice to do an out-of-state contest long before they would even know if they had qualified for state, as that is not determined until 6 days before the contest. For some, it's the choice of a larger competition experience that is guaranteed, rather than a single performance against many of the same groups they've seen all season IF they qualify.
The reason for most groups omitting scores to compete at state is that the competition in most years has been seemingly unfair or quite honestly just plain rigged. What I’m trying to say is...there are other places state can be held than North Central!!!
Good explanation. I've worked tabulations for a qualifying invitational using these sheets for years, and there are almost always at least a few outlying scores. As technical as it sounds, it really isn't--judges in the end are selecting statements in boxes that they feel a choir fits into, and then selecting a number that falls within the box they have the most statements in. Judges look for different things, and so they focus more on their pet criteria than another judge might. Also, they're very general statements. For example, vocal technique includes a statement in box 4 (between 81-95) about displaying very good skill with regards to rhythmic/note accuracy with a high degree of cohesion. Great. That doesn't account for difficulty at all. Take two hypothetical choirs. One performs an arrangement with more vocal parts and a more complicated rhythmic pattern, but doesn't get it locked down with 100% precision. Another has way fewer parts, more unison singing, and has an easy rhythm. They sing it perfectly. Which should score higher? By just following the statements, choir 2 would. If judges want to correct this, they have to do so creatively, which adds another level of subjectivity.
Just because I'm curious... correct me if I'm wrong, but these results don't really seem to be consistent with the rest of the season, specifically where Noblesville and Whiteland finished. I know the scoresheet is different at this competition than most, and I admittedly don't know anything about said scoresheet, so for people who were there -- Do these results seem reasonable? Do the discrepancies from earlier in the season to now come down to the scoresheet? Or am I looking at this all wrong and should learn something about Indiana show choir?
I’m more confused by them placing tied for 3rd and in 5th. I feel like both groups had a lot of momentum going into this competition as groups we’d possibly see sitting on the top. Maybe the top 5 groups or so were just that good?
on Mar 20, 2018, 11:42 AM (Edited by Kadepiper)
NO DISRESPECT TO ANY GROUP THAT ATTENDED THIS EVENT, EVERY GROUP PERFORMED THEIR TAILS OFF AND WERE AMAZING! That being said.There were a lot of discrepancies between the judges, i completely agree that Whiteland should have been top 3 at the least. From what i was told by a Whiteland student is that 4 judges had Whiteland in the the high 280’s low 290’s out of 300 and on judge had them in the low 230’s bringing their placement down to 5th. And that went for just about every group with different judges being that outlier. No disrespect to the judges because show choir is definitely a subjective competition, but it seems that these discrepancies happen every year and i would hope that sometime in the near future that ISSMA will figure out a way to fix this considering this is the state championship.
on Mar 20, 2018, 12:10 PM (Edited by bheyneman)
“No disrespect to the judges because show choir is definitely a subjective competition, but it seems that these discrepancies happen every year and i would hope that sometime in the near future that ISSMA will figure out a way to fix this considering this is the state championship.”
^^^ THIS ^^^