The lights are now dimmed, but the excitement of the Bridge Street Singers has not.
The show choir has been “wildly successful,” said St. Francis High School Choir Director Lukas Warren.
Although Warren was concerned when he started the show choir in fall 2011 that he would have problems finding kids willing to put in the time and effort, that has not been the case. In the first year, the show choir club had 46 members. This year, it had 50 members.
“It takes a lot of time and effort, because the students have to learn several songs and the choreography,” Warren said.
It is a big commitment for the students, he said.
The show choir season is the length of two full sport seasons, running from September to March, with rehearsals twice a week and on some weekends, Warren said.
“It is fun, fun, fun,” said sophomore Amanda Jacques, who has been in the choir both years.
It is a challenge to get used to the faster pace of show choir, said sophomore Nicole Lundberg.
The traditional choir has a much slower pace with more of the emphasis on singing, she said.
For show choir, it is the dancing and singing plus stage presence, including hair and makeup, Lundberg said.
When the show choir performs in competition, the judges are looking for clean and sharp dance moves with the students all in sync, said Jacques.
“It is really hard to get the timing down,” she said.
“And not to rush it,” Lundberg said
This year the choir took part in four competitions, in LaCrosse, Wis., Waconia, Hastings and Mitchell, S.D., and performed to the songs “World War III” by the Jonas Brothers, “Scream” by Michael Jackson and “Read All About It” by Emeli Sande.
The show choir placed in the finals – the top six choirs – in all four competitions, said Warren.
Each competition has 20-30 show choirs taking part, he said.
This year the performances were very different from the first year, said Lundberg.
Last year it was about being pretty and being out there, she said.
This season it was a lot more sassy, said Jacques.
Even with the rigorous requirements, the show choir is drawing in all kinds of students.
All types of kids are in show choir, Lundberg said.
Although interest is high, Warren admits to needing to do some arm twisting to get boys to join show choir.
Last year there were only 16 boys in the choir. This year, 20 boys were in the choir, he said.
Sophomore Blake Woitel was one of the boys Warren had to convince to join.
His parents saw last year’s group perform and also had a role in convincing him, Woitel said.
It was best thing he did and Woitel was still able to play soccer, he said.
Plus the choir members are really close, Woitel said.
There are speech kids, drama kids, athletes and others, he said.
These are students she might not normally talk to in school, but she is close to them now and some of their other friends, said Lundberg.
When it comes to performing, it is a bit more nerve racking for Woitel than regular choir.
“I had butterflies every time we performed,” Woitel said.
But they got better each time they performed, he said.
There is also a lot more pressure when performing than regular choir, Woitel said.
“But it is the type of pressure that pushes you to try harder,” he said.
Judges want to see the show choir members putting themselves into the performance with lots of energy and animated facial expressions, Jacques said.
“I love show choir,” said Lundberg.
Warren will be holding auditions for the next show choir May 7 and 8.
Tammy Sakry is at firstname.lastname@example.org