Wish someone from Los Al would explain all these different divisions. Seven in mixed alone??
What are they, Super Duper Advanced? Advanced? Semi-Advanced? Intermediate? Prep? Novice? We-just-wanted-a-trip-to-CA???
I'll be honest, I'm getting a little sick of hearing about this issue. I'm literally no one on here, but our show choir is legitimately an Intermediate group, and would be happy to just compete against other intermediates, tier or no tier. We can't "compete" against the budgets of the large schools in our class, so we just put on the best show we can, where we can in any competition we can fit into our schedules. Quite honestly, our "show choir" is only a show choir for HALF the year. The other half is spent in a "concert choir" capacity. Bottom line is, we could care less about the tier we are in, or how the groups in our class are split up. We just put our show together, and go out there and compete. The chips fall where they may. Why don't we just enjoy all of these wonderful choirs and the talent therein, and stop talking about the competition brackets. The well-funded choirs are going to win, and the others just compete for bragging rights against their rival schools. We intend to keep doing that....Thank you Los Alamitos for a wonderful time last night. It was AWESOME to see all of the JOY in that room for those few wonderful hours. We'll be back next year!!
I'm a little confused. In your post, you said "We can't compete against the budgets of the large schools [and] we would be happy to compete against other intermediates," but also "we could(n't) care less about the tier we are in."
I agree that there should be two levels, but not seven. If the attitude truly is "just put your show together and let the chips fall where they may," then it seems you would be fine even with just one giant division (per class). It's not a bad idea, but based on the first half of your post, I don't think you truly want that.
That did sound a little confusing, didn't it? The attitude of our group, and what we teach our choir kids, is go out each time, do your best, and accept the results. Me personally...I do care about the placement, as I love to compete and win. ;) To the issue, which I would love to just put to bed, it should be one Intermediate level, no tiers, and we go out and do what we do. I just want to make clear that I love Show Choir, and the family feel of the entire experience.
First of all, thanks for being a part of the discussion. That's exactly what this website is here for - and to respond to something you said in your first post, you are not a "no one on here." This website celebrates community; everyone is equal, and I think it is exactly these kinds of conversations that help bring about positive change to show choir. I wish even more adults, teachers, and students alike would join in.
With that said, I think there is still a little to unpack here. You have basically said there are two sides to the coin - "divisions don't matter, just do your best and have a great time" and "loving to compete and potentially win." I think that's exactly the point. There are two sides to show choir and to pretend that one doesn't exist just because it's uncomfortable or we want to "put it to bed," doesn't make it go away.
The other interesting thing is that the "intermediate level" is actually a tier in itself. Back in the old days in California, there used to be three divisions per class: novice, intermediate, and advanced - and that was it. But one could also just call those "Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III." At some point along the line, some of the groups in the advanced division felt like they would never be able to best some of the top-placing choirs (I won't even say "biggest schools," because many of the advanced mixed groups all had 2,000+ students, nor will I say "most funded," because to my knowledge all of these schools are public schools and some have just found ways to turn their fundraising into aggressive machines that basically make happen what they need to make happen), and thus a split in the advanced mixed division was born. Originally this was called "AA" and "AAA," but that was confusing as it didn't really mean anything and at the end of the day all it was really doing was creating a new "tier" in between intermediate and advanced. This website has just referred to different divisions as tiers for a long time because we try to create some consistency in understanding of divisions between different regions (again, someone from the midwest would have no idea what "AA" means, just as someone from California wouldn't know what "Class 4A" means so the tier system helps to normalize that). At any rate, California has been operating now on a four-tier system for quite awhile (until this weekend's Los Al event, apparently).
So where does one draw the line? Seven tiers? Four tiers? Two tiers? One big division? This is a genuine question with no correct answer. Still, though, I feel like you're sending mixed signals. We tell the students to go out, do their best, and just accept the results. That would lend itself more to a one-division solution where everyone has a shot and the cream rises to the top. On the other hand, you've said you care about placement and want to compete to win. I believe that's the mentality that those so-called "AA" groups also had; "it doesn't look like we're going to beat this group or that group, so let's make a new division where each week we have a legitimate shot at winning a first place trophy." Doesn't that feel a little bit like an "everyone gets a trophy!" mentality?
I do think there should be a separate division for intermediate-level groups at schools which have more than one choir. These are generally made up of younger, less-experienced students (and they're actually called "prep" choirs in other regions of the country). But I must say, I've really started to come around to Scott's way of thinking in that if you have just one show choir then you should put your name in the hat like any other group and as you say, do your best and accept the results. Making seven different divisions for mixed groups just so that everyone can get a ribbon feels overly excessive to me and I think it's something that should be discussed, not just swept under the rug and put to bed.
on Mar 17, 2018, 10:05 PM (Edited by tscott)
I just want to know what the divisions mean. Los Altos Production Choir won Mixed Division Tier III, but apparently so did La Cueva Main Street. Why the separation in the groups instead of one division of 9 choirs? What's the difference in the two as far as you understand, Bob, and who decided which groups would be in which division? Surely you can understand the confusion.
I think the "separation" must be done by the competition organizers. We, Production Choir, are also competing at the Burroughs competition. There is 1 Int Mixed Division made up of 10 choirs. We know going in, the best we will do here is probably 4th....we accept that for what it is. I suppose if you wanted to know who "won" the Intermediate Mixed group that night, you would have to look at aggregate scores across both groups competing. I've only known about Show Choir since 2009, and I still don't fully understand it all. I do of course understand the confusion.
It’s easy to explain...there are now so many Intermediate level groups that it overloads people’s venues. Burroughs is a big theater and has 10 with a waiting list. Los Al has to split it otherwise the parents don’t even get to watch. We don’t want to start kicking the kids out and sending them to a video room either...not educational!
What I am understanding Mr. Jennings to say is that say there are 14 "intermediate mixed" groups, but the theater can only really hold 7 of them (plus parents, observers, etc.) at a time. By splitting them into two separate divisions of 7 groups each, all of the students and atendees can see all of the groups, and then they can flush it out for the next division (or some people will only show up for their group/division). The two "intermediate" tiers are then essentially the same skill level, just separated to accommodate more people in the venue (I wasn't kidding, the Los Al theater is tiny).
As an alum of a AA group, I think that there is definitely a difference in terms of the talent pool groups have between AAA, AA, and intermediate. AAA often (though of course this is is a generality) has more very talented or experienced performers in their group, AA has great talent but slightly less advanced individuals. Intermediate is a step below that in terms of talent and experience in its performers. I am not saying that all of these divisions do not have incredible performers across the board. I realize that I am making generalities, but that is something I seemed to notice in my time in and watching show choir. Also, another thing that separated AA and AAA besides money (although I firmly believe that is a factor that should not be discounted) was size. I know that has changed in the past few years but a lot of AAA groups still tend to be a bit bigger than AA ones. I think there is a lot of validity in the division between AA and AAA, and though the lines can get murky sometimes as to who "should" be in each one, that doesn't mean the whole system is poor. Some of the schools in LA have a lot of individuals who have performed their whole lives, more kids in their groups (and of course more money), which means that they often have robust programs that place them at the top/in AAA. Some AA groups just simply do not have that. It really bugged me when there was talk of combining it all because I don't think it is just a bid for a participation award and that there are some very good reasons to divide up the advanced division.
I respect Mr. Jennings, but not having enough room for people to watch is sort of a lame excuse. I get the point, but that is the case at many competitions outside of CA too. At the end of the you are still limiting the students from seeing groups to a particular division and the parents as well. And sort of like Haakon said, you should host a competition at a site that is too small for the needs of the competition.
on Mar 18, 2018, 2:37 PM (Edited by Mr. Jennings)
I agree about trying to get larger venues, but these are fundraisers for the program hosting. Renting a venue pretty much takes that away unless you charge a ton to the choirs. And before you tell us to use our gyms...depending on the athletic programs at some schools, it just isn’t possible to get the gym.
I don’t really see how finals would solve any of that. That just takes more time for the top groups to perform twice. Less room in the day for lower divisions.
The philosophy difference is...we would rather have two separate competitions than lump them together and sell seats that don’t exist to see the competitions.
Every competition can solve their problems as they see best...I’m just saying that I don’t see a problem in hosting two competitions of the same level to fit your space. Those groups can match up at other competitions on other weekends.