Hey y’all summer SCC folks still hanging out on here. Per usual during the “off season,” I spend some time doing show choir research and improving our archival efforts. Finally, I’m pleased to say we’ve grown our SCC database to now include Maine show choir! Show choir in Maine is not new – we’ve known they’ve been doing it for several years now, but they’re tucked up there in New England and are kind of isolated in that they do show choir in their own unique way.
Posted above is the performance schedule and results of their state show choir festival. It is operated through MMEA, split into two divisions based on school size, and at least for the high school divisions the top two made night show and performed again. As far as I can tell, full awards are posted for Saturday, the high school division, while the Friday middle school divisions have partial and incomplete results at this time. They awarded medals based on point ranges, outstanding musicianship awards – which I think are comparable to “best soloist” type awards, and then best choreography in addition to placements.
I watched all of the finalists shows and will include links below. There’s a ton of Maine show choir videos on YouTube. I also added a few videos and their songs to the choir profile pages. Feel free to explore: MDI "Show Choir"
--their show was “Requiem.” Very artistic. Mt. Desert Island is, at least with my limited knowledge, one of the more prominent and historically successful choirs. Hampden Academy "Voices Unlimited" Orono "Show Choir"
--their theme was “Now That I’m Older.” Probably my favorite show. It’s a coming of age type show where they share stories and speak to their younger selves on topics like coming out as gay as well as battling an eating disorder. Sterns & Schenck "Unified Harmony"
--Unified Harmony had a River theme with a lovely set. Their show was probably most consistent with the show choir we’re used to seeing on SCC. I thought they had the most developed choreography and their dramatic ending of Bottom of the River was cool.
Given how much the show choir community sometimes flips out with “traditional vs. theatrical” shows or "it's show CHOIR" (see Linn-Mar, Burroughs, etc.), some folks may be turned off by these videos or by what constitutes “show choir” in Maine. But the reality is -- there’s a lot of ways to do it. Maine may not use risers and uniform choreography maybe isn’t as emphasized (some of these Maine choirs are choreographed by students), but they sing and dance, use backdrops and set pieces, have 10-15 minute sets, utilize combos, and heck Orono HS even performed Wings and Hampden "Ascension" did Greatest Showman! That's about as mainstream show choir as it gets! I appreciate the artistic spin of this state culture of show choir and I’ll try to make sure we keep Maine represented now and in the future.
If any Maine folks stumble upon this, feel free to reach out to me! I’ve additionally sent some messages to MMEA in an effort to learn more and perhaps gather full and accurate historical records. Maine, to some degree, also has district festivals about a month before the state festival. There are like seven districts I think and I don’t have the full information yet about those, but this state festival is a start and at the very least something we can easily maintain moving forward.
Thank you Jeff for all the info! I find all of this quite fascinating—pockets of show choir existing all over the place but kind of self-contained. I wonder if there are other competitive show choir areas in the US that are in their own bubbles and we have yet to hear about!
It’s awesome to hear and learn about even more New England show choir! Thank you for the info! It’s very interesting how they seem to use the bronze, silver, and gold system while also doing finals. It’s a fun combo of NE and Midwest awards and rankings
This is so true!! Also I've heard of show choirs existing in Argentina and Japan, so I imagine they have plenty of regional competitions and different styles in other countries as well!
I'm also going to reach out to some of these directors and personally invite them to some regional show choir competitions in Massachusetts and Connecticut. It would be so cool for them to see the show choir "down here" too