State Show Choirs Perform For Grand Champion Title

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Young performers from all over Wisconsin, plus one group making the trip from Minnesota, sang and danced their way to become show choir champions on Saturday. NewsChannel 7 brought you a preview of the 10th anniversary of the Central Wisconsin Show Choir Spectacular earlier this week on Sunrise Seven.

Seventeen show choirs competed to Colby high school to gain some pride for their school. Now, show choir is not the stand-still and sing choir, it combines singing with the dance and acrobatics of performing.

"Show choirs really started in the late 1960s. It was called swing choir then," said Colby Music Teacher, and Choir and Musical Director, Kevin Spindler. He said pop-rock music got choir groups wanting to get moving. "All of a sudden they wanted to do a little bit more and they didn't know what to do. Eventually, it just rolled into let's do a dance step or two and now it rolled into a 20-25 minute competition show, three or four costume changes. People can decide any type of music, rock, pop, country, rap, any style of music that they would like to perform."

Student groups sang and danced their hearts out as a panel of five judges critiqued them.

Dr. Tina Thielen-Gaffey, Show Choir Spectacular Judge and professor at the University of Minnesota, Duluth said there's a lot of different aspects they look for while judging.

"We're looking at overall pace and flow of show. We're looking at visual transitions, we're looking at vocal musicality and just the way the kids sing: Are they singing in tune? Are they singing musically?"

She added she wishes more schools could have a show choir program.

"I live in an area where we don't have show choir in our school district and I am very sad for my own children. They'll get to a point where I'll want them to have that and they won't and I'm a music teacher. I want my kids to experience all kinds of music...I think that the more variety you can give the students, the better off we all are," said Thielen-Gaffey.

She said show choir gives students a lot of sophistication and pride in what they do. Lyddia Calmes, a Colby Coalition Show Choir senior said she agreed. She started performing in the show choirs at Colby when she was just a freshman. Now a senior, she said she has learned a lot.

"I've really grown and it's been a lot of fun meeting people and just learning to sing and dance as a group," said Calmes.

Her music director, Kevin Spindler, said he always trys to teach more than just a song and dance.

"I like to always create some type of theme, a story and really something that students learn from in their songs," said Spindler. "There's such great music out there these days that we really can learn a lot from what is being said in their music."

Calmes said the show choir has been a big part of her high school experience.

"It would be very sad (to not have a show choir program). It's such a fun thing to do. Practices can get long and hard, but you learn to be mentally tough and get through it and have a lot of fun in the end."

Spindler said music programs are important to helping make students well-rounded.

"Music touches our sole," said Spindler. "I mean, you've heard it a million times and it's true. Music solves issues, it can help create many relaxation emotions and everything else. It's a necessary element that needs to be taught in schools."

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