I’m pretty new to the show choir scene and can honestly saw I was blown away yesterday. First, to Urbandale for hosting a great event especially given the circumstances. My thoughts and prayers to your community. Second, the talent on the stage by all schools was simply amazing. Certainly some elite performances by Lin Mar and Johnston but all schools were really really good
I do understand some of the comments below though. I loved the collision of creativity and do think there is room in the Arts for all genres. I think the issue is when we start declaring winners and losers. If we are going to appoint winners there does need to be parity in groupings. If don’t think you can say one show is better than another if there genres are no the same.
Honest question- are there certain criteria that defines what a show choir is or isn’t? Is there a criteria that the groups train for to be judged?
For example - when I researched what show choir was when I was first in exposed, I recall reading its roots was in swing choir and foundation as a choral performance with new adds such as choreographed dance. Similarly I recall reading that musical theater had foundation in theater with adds such as choral performance. I think it is kinda obvious where each group falls.
Also, honest question, is there a standardized criteria by which judges judge? I think I recall there being non-performance criteria such as set-up time restrictions and performance related criteria as well. I overheard one student telling her parents the judges taking off points bc of the groups facial performance and some critique over certain aspects of costumes not being correct (I heard things like buttons not buttoned or belts missing etc). This is hard to consider bc some of the performances were basically in the dark making judging those things near impossible. Side note, I also heard students sharing with their parents the judges took points off for choral performance of their full
Choir. Similar questions as above bc some choirs seem to focus on 1-2 singers with everyone else singing backup vocals.
Anyways, I witnessed really great artistry yesterday Urbandale. Great event! In terms
Of winners/losers, no one in their right mind could conclude a single champ
So, there are different criteria on the scoresheets. Even for a group like Linn-Marr who doesn’t have the stage lights at 100% the whole way through the show, it’s possible to see faces, costumes, etc. While they do have a ton of features for their soloists, there are also several moments that are featuring the choir (and this makes up most of this year’s show).
Scoresheets are looking at how well you sing and dance, and how it is all tied together. There isn’t a section on there for “I like your show” or anything of that nature.
It’s definitely an interesting debate and some of the things you raise points about here are absolutely perennial discussions that seem to come up at least once during a season - especially your question on standardized criteria and “traditional” vs “story” show choir. It’s hard to “standardize” something like this, admittedly. There are aspects on some scoresheets (intonation, rhythmic accuracy, diction for example) that have some very objective qualities while simultaneously having some score areas that are very subjective (expression, phrasing, interpretation). This is why you’ll often see phrases like “it depends on the judging panel” because at the end of the day, there is an element of subjectivity that is impossible to remove.
Winners and losers… I mean yeah. It never feels great to do worse than you hoped at something. But by the same token, I am 100% confident that those kids on the stage were there to compete and win regardless of what the other shows were doing. It takes a tremendous amount of bravery to subject yourself to scoring in any art form - especially one where the thing being scored is intrinsic to your identity.
As far as your point about genres, I’ll disagree. The majority of what is being scored is vocal, visual, and band. There are some categories that relate to show design, but they typically have no effect on the final results. If a judge were to think “I think Johnston and Linn-Mar were equal vocally” but put Linn-Mar as a higher score just because they prefer the style of their show I think most people would agree that would be inappropriate (or they should, anyway!). I don’t personally think that happens.
Urbandale puts on a great event every year, welcome to the community and I hope you get a chance to enjoy more of the absurdly talented groups this year.
Thx Joechoir! That's very helpful context and understanding. I definitely agree with you on the courage and teams competing to win. I remember being in sports at that age and I absolutely wanted to win! I can't agree with the genre logic however. I have appreciation for the likes of Bach, Debussy, or Beethoven but it would be a crime if I said they were better/worse (or winner/loser) head to head vs Queen, Led Zepplin, or the Beatles or vice versa.
Their features are phenomenal. Wow. As far as their group I didn't see them perform most of the show as you mention and I couldn't see any of the face/costumes at all times. Not facing the crowd, in the dark (after all the spotlight is bright for a reason), not on stage, etc...It could have been my seat/view however
I’m a performer with Linnmars 10th Street Edition and If by Act II you mean what happens after the show ends, that’s up to your imagination. We never planned to have anything after what we preformed. Just imagine what will happen, nothings right or wrong in art
As a parent who went to a school that didn't have show choir, I have asked this question many times. Thank you to all these comments that help explain this. The best thing I have seen was actually from Pella this year. In the program at Pella they stated the judging criteria. If it is desired I can type everything out (I wish I could share a picture). There are 250 points total in 3 categories: 110 in Vocals, 90 in Visuals, and 50 in Combo. I wish more competitions shared this eith spectators.
Linn-Mar outsang Johnston here. Which is a remarkable feat and definitely should put to rest any qualms about score sheets. At any rate, congrats to those two excellent programs, BOTH of which are probably within the top dozen groups in the nation!
I disagree. I like seeing high-level groups with completely different styles of show choir clash.
It would be difficult to separate story shows and classic show choir because a lot of groups fall in between those two categories.
Even if you were to some how split up these groups based on theatrical and traditional show choir, you would still have to compare groups with massively different styles (Millenium and Innovation for example).
I find it interesting that this topic only ever comes up when a show with a theatrical vibe wins. I think when it comes down to it, Linn-Mar sings and dances as much as any other group in the country and does it as well as any other group in the country. California has had this type of show popular for the last decade+ and it’s even starting to move its way into the Indiana circuit with groups like Carroll and even FC this year. As long as it doesn’t become one-sided (I.e. you have to have a show with a narrative/theatrical element to win), I agree that it’s just super fun to see these sorts of shows compete.
The best part of show choir as an art form is that you can have groups compete against each other that are very different, and that’s awesome. At the end of the day, scores come down to how well you sing and how well you dance. The story elements and stuff like that are stylistic and affect scores minimally. If you prefer traditional shows, that’s great and there’s tons of them to choose from and root for, but theatrical shows are valid and innovative. It’s silly to limit and separate styles when the art form allows so much variation.