Notably absent from the large school state finals: Franklin Central, Zionsville, Carroll, Center Grove, Ben Davis, Chesterton, Homestead. I totally understand that directors who wish to participate must enter their choirs in an ISSMA qualifier and then submit a high-enough qualifying score, but I just wish more would choose to do so.
The question is, what would it take for these choirs (some who never/rarely participate in ISSMA state) to want to participate?
(With all that being said, good luck to the choirs who did earn their qualification this year... it’s still a great lineup.)
on Mar 11, 2019, 8:17 PM (Edited by Chief)
I’m not sure exactly what could be done to change it. It seems to me that the groups, excluding franklin central, that do not attend state anymore don’t attend due to wonky placements in the past. It’s seems every year that placements seem to be somewhat off. I do know that Issma hirers out of state judges though so I wouldn necessarily consider it a show choir politics problem. What’s the weirdest to me is that these groups you mentioned often place and score well at issma qualifiers, but when they get to state seem to not place as well.
TLDR: The problem is that groups that should place high at state often place lower than expected. What can be done? I don’t know.
If you look at the comments on last year's competition, there is a good discussion that generally explains the situation. Basically, some directors have problems with different aspects of the ISSMA setup (venue, scoresheet, judging, etc.), but are often met with stiff resistance from the ISSMA board when voicing their concerns. This resistance to change is a big part of what is driving away schools such as Franklin Central, Center Grove, Ben Davis, etc. Take, for example, the venue situation. As Jeff explained below, ISSMA agreed to alternate the venue for State each year between Franklin Central and North Central, which was seen by many as a welcome and exciting change. They ended up rethinking that decision, however, and are instead using FC as the new site for Small State each year. Many directors (and students) were excited to see that a venue change was happening, only to have it taken away again. It is highly unlikely that any of the schools that have decided to stop attending will return until they feel that ISSMA has really listened to the concerns that have been voiced for years.
I can't really answer this question with the best representation of Indiana show choir in mind, but I would have to guess it would have to go with the "politics" surrounding show choir in Indiana. I can think of multiple years that certain choirs have only beaten other choirs at the state level. The hard part with state level competitions in general is typically, there are teachers from competing schools on the boards of their respective state's show choir panels. Unlike local competitions, this offers a challenge towards the legitimacy of neutrality in their judging. There are only 3 states offering a true state championship in show choir right now to my knowledge: North Carolina, West Virginia, and Indiana. South Dakota was another one the last few years, but has since decided to drop their competition due to similar concerns (as well as other deciding factors, I'm sure). States are hard because if you give show choir boards to people who don't do show choir in an effort to promote neutrality in judging, you end up with the judging panel from Season 1 of Glee. But if you allow show choir people to do it, there's a chance that whether true not, accusations of bias may happen for those who are a part of the judging selection, and you see great groups like FC, Center Grove, Zionsville, and Carmel drop from these events. I would love nothing more than to see those 5 go up against each other at a competition, but due to weirdness in Indiana in the past, I can almost guarantee that this isn't going to happen anytime soon. Get rid of "States" all together IMO.
I wouldn’t necessarily like to see this competition end. I think the first step though is to hirer a judging panel of show choir people who have 0 affiliation with any choirs. The next step would be to move the site of the competition. North central hasn’t gone without placing top 2 in a while. This isn’t meant to take anything away from them. Their win last year was very well deserved they had one of my favorite shows of any choir I saw. However they have major home field advantage here(ie being able to perform on that stage way more than any other choir and being able to work with the acoustics of their auditorium way more than any other choir). If the competition was held of site of a high school campus this advantage would be eliminated. If these two things met changes I could see big name groups coming back. And in the future possibly a scoring system reform but I consider that pretty far fetched for issma.
I can’t speak to why State is held at North Central. But I would like to add to what kadepiper stated and point out that North Central went up against some major power houses last year at Nationals and won. They’d never performed at that venue, so it seems they clearly proved themselves without a “home field” advantage.
on Mar 15, 2019, 2:23 PM (Edited by Chief)
As i stated above, “This isn’t meant to take anything away from them. Their win last year was very well deserved they had one of my favorite shows of any choir I saw.“ . I fully understand that north central is a consistently great group. My point was that a state competition shouldn’t be held at ANY school that is competing at the competition to eliminate avoidable advantages.
Many people agree with you, I believe that they should host it at a university or professional stage. There is not a shortage of great auditoriums in the Indianapolis area and i wish they would choose a neutral venue considering it5 is the state championship.
on Mar 16, 2019, 2:05 AM (Edited by indy_jd)
My understanding is that NC’s auditorium (though aged!) seats many more people than other cheap/free options, and that FC requested NC host large because they didn’t have room. I don’t know if that’s correct, but it makes sense. At any rate… I totally get the perception that it seems unfair. For everyone’s benefit, it would be awesome to compete at a neutral arena. Then everyone (including NC) could be judged without a perception of bias.
Yeah one of the vocal judges was sick and couldn't come, so they had to bring someone in last minute to judge. But this caused some scoring issues within the women's division because they counted the vocal judges score twice, so this really brought some groups rankings down.
I love this, "I wouldn’t necessarily like to see this competition end."
I'm sure everyone in Indiana is glad to hear you don't want their state competition to go away! ????????
Seems that IN has the best show choir in the nation (arguably to be sure...) why would they not have a state competition? That auditorium they currently have it in is substandard, the sound is not great, and NC hosts. That is why everyone wants to see this go away? If the judges are as big of a problem as it sounds - that won't be an issue at another venue?
2019: the age of not being able to have stance clarifiers with out them being taken 100% literally. To me if the rest of the big name groups pull from this competition it no longer holds any validity (if it even holds that much now). I mean without the choirs like Zionsville, franklin central, Centergrove etc here can you even truly claim to be the best choir in the state (this goes for any gc of the past couple of years). The groups here are quality groups don’t get me wrong but it’s not ALL of the premier Indiana groups. That’s my argument on not wanting it to end. Not a literal end but one where 1st at state loses its value.
on Mar 20, 2019, 7:54 PM (Edited by Chief)
And on the note about the judges as long as they are from out of state and have 0 affiliation with any of the competing choirs (which I’m pretty sure is already an issma rule) I have no problem with it. Show choir is subjective and the choir you want or think is going to win is a lot of the times not the one who come out on top unless they are truly undeniably the best choir there.
Who claims they're the best show choir in the State? Anyone who wins that competition has the 'state title.' That's it. Does NC think they're the best show choir in the state? That would be presumptive. Just like it would be if any of these other choirs you mention. They get the title, that's it. And basic research shows NC has been winning this for a long time, then Carmel & FC eventually fall off and don't come back. Why? ????
I think the judges' stuff is nonsense, frankly. Just look at some of the results in the last couple of weekends nationally. Some really crazy results. There will always be that in judged events. Do people really think the judges skew the results so that that home choir wins every year? Does every group of judges just try to please that school? Seems really a stretch to me. But what do I know....?
I think that’s why there is a lot of contention on the issue. It’s because NC has won almost every state competition for along time. If you look at other competitions NC does not take first against groups like FC or Zionsville. It’s only at the state level that they have beaten these groups. Show choir is subjective, and nobody can change that. However, some people just feel that the fact that NC hosts and wins every year is suspicious. Even if the judges dont skew the results, it causes people to feel that the results are biased.
FC has beaten NC early in the year, the last two years. Isn't NC one of those schools that starts really late, and makes changes late? That would seem like a good reason why they're better at the end. (And FC just pulled a 2nd this past weekend.) I don't think NC and Zionsville have competed much over the last five years, except this year, which Zionsville won, though it sounded very close and could have gone either way. (Which really, isn't that the case at this level any time these powerhouses compete?) Anyway, if this gets moved to FC, are they going to not compete? Or Zionsville? They certainly couldn't compete, otherwise, how would it be different than having it at NC? And if Zionsville and FC want to be "best in state" how come they don't compete? Per the ISSMA website the last time FC went to State they beat NC. So great! It looks as though NC has been winning this for a long time (they are a storied program for a reason) and then Carmel, and FC just fall off. Why? Is it because they didn't beat NC often enough in their own minds? Could be...?
We probably all agree NC, FC, Zionsville, and CG are four of the best show choirs in the nation year-in-and-year-out. And hopefully IN will always have a state competition. Those that don't show up, and those that win, can't claim they're the best anyway. Only that they have the State title if they compete on that day and win. The rest is just noise.
I think his point is that we can look at results all we want, but the best way to know what’s going on is to be there. Looking back on years and years of negative comments about ISSMA on this website, it’s hard to say with certainty that ISSMA isn’t doing anything wrong, especially since most of the people writing those negative comments are people who have attended State and seen first-hand the weird results. You definitely make valid points; NC always improves greatly as the season progresses. It’s just a difficult subject about which many of us Indiana folk especially have to tread lightly.
So you're from FC, and competed. If my years are right, weren't you part of the last FC group that won? Did the judges mess up that year? Were you there this year? I didn't hear much on these board that NC wasn't the best group there.... so.... again what are we talking about? (Most of the experts predicted them to win actually!) If you say those of you in Indiana have to tread lightly, why? That only really implies the judges give favor to the host school. I mean, I guess that's possible, but seems HIGHLY unlikely for professional judges to do that. HIGHLY. Mistakes and disagreements happen all the time in show choir. You're in Indiana - there were a couple of shockers this year to be sure. Maybe I don't know enough, but sure seems odd that everyone complains about one of the few state tournaments, yet don't compete, and throw stones from the sidelines (not saying you are... but clearly this is happening.)
Yeah it would be cool if you authenticated your account, though. I imagine folks would care more to engage with you in meaningful ways if you did so. There's truly years and years of comments on ISSMA and the pros/cons folks have with it. I'd say in summary of all of those that the issue rests entirely with ISSMA as an organization rather than with the Counterpoints as a choir (anyone salty with Counterpoints is angry at the effects of the issue not the root causes of the issues - which isn't fair to the NC organization either). The NC and FC directors, among others, have spoken out against ISSMA's reluctance to take feedback. As a result, ISSMA has lost the trust of some of its member institutions. The burden of making it right is ISSMA's responsibility, not FC, CG, Carmel, Zionsville, etc. Similarly, no one needs to refute the arguments of an unassociated random account. Show choir is all about authenticity and the reasons you don't care to be are almost as puzzling as ISSMA.
Yes, I was a part of the last FC group that won, and I was not there this year. I'm sure Counterpoints deserved their victory; they truly are a phenomenal choir year after year. I say those of us in Indiana have to tread lightly because it is an important issue to which attention should be drawn, but it is often hard to do so without appearing that we are biased or that we are complaining about past results. And I can't tell you what the problem is. I agree that it is highly unlikely that judges blatantly give favor to the host group, but host groups do also have an advantage on their home stage. I don't work in ISSMA, and I'm not a choir director, so I don't have the insight to make judgements on what the real problem is. All I know is that I've seen scoresheets from my time in Singers, and I've seen years of weird results, both in person and on this website. And is boycotting not a proven way to bring about change? If schools such as Carmel, CG, Zionsville, FC, and Ben Davis have issues with ISSMA and it has shown that it won't change, why should they have to stick around? The fact that these schools don't attend has clearly brought attention to the issue and caused people to wonder why, which is only proof that they have accomplished their goal in stepping back: people are asking questions and wishing for change.
I'll just go back to where this started, referencing that any choir is best in state...
- - I stated - -
"We probably all agree NC, FC, Zionsville, and CG are four of the best show choirs in the nation year-in-and-year-out. And hopefully IN will always have a state competition. Those that don't show up, and those that win, can't claim they're the best anyway. Only that they have the State title if they compete on that day and win. The rest is just noise."
Does LosAl say they're the best in the country now? Even though FC, Burbank, Fairfield, Gross Point, etc/etc/etc/ weren't at Nashville?
To be fair, they sort of do... the bio for Los Al's official Twitter account boasts that they are "Grand National Show Choir Champions for 5 consecutive years!" and even Clinton has tweeted messages like "Attaché, the documentary with an inside look at America's #1 show choir..."
Obviously there is no definitive "#1 show choir in America," and there's no such thing as a "Grand National Show Choir Champion," but it doesn't stop groups from claiming titles like these. Also obviously both groups are world-class when it comes to show choir, so neither declaration is beyond the realm of reason - yet it translates to what you're saying here. Can someone claim to be "best in the state" if they don't beat a handful of other top programs in the state? I mean, I don't think so. On the other hand, groups have to be willing to throw their hats in the ring if they want to be part of the discussion. The issues with ISSMA and this particular competition don't seem to be so black and white, and it's unfortunate that year after year nobody can seem to find a consensus that works toward a solution for at least the majority of people.