By Josh Galvin ’13 & Jackson Santy ’13
Every day at the beginning of period 7, Brophy and Xavier students alike gather in Xavier’s Performing Arts Center, but not as in years past for play rehearsal.
The 2011 Fall semester marked the beginning of Xavier’s Show Choir class and a big step in the community’s contemporary artistic innovation.
Started by Xavier choral director Mrs. Amanda Sherrill, the class takes a modern approach to traditional choir classes, incorporating popular songs with choreographed dancing.
“Show Choir is an upbeat singing/dancing ensemble, so everything is choreographed,” Mrs. Sherrill said. “Some numbers will focus on vocals with mild staging … but for faster numbers, we’ll choreograph it.”
The entire class, from student choreographer Hannah Zeiser ’13 to self-elected “dance captains,” is run by the performers. Unlike other choirs, Show Choir accepts everyone and shies away from exclusivity.
“Anyone who wants to come can help,” Mrs. Sherrill said.
Once the students take their places on the risers, the rehearsal begins.
The choir covers a broad range of musical genres; the selections can switch from Katy Perry’s “Firework” to Cher’s “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me” to Broadway show tunes all in one rehearsal.
Initially, it may appear that Show Choir is simply a response to the television program “Glee,” which also features upscale choreography set to popular music.
Yet despite sharing some parallels with the popular Fox program, Mrs. Sherrill said she did not form the class with “Glee” in mind; in fact, she has only seen half of one episode.
Show choirs are most popular in the Midwest, as the first groups originated in this region, according to Mrs. Sherrill. However, with the popularity of “Glee” the ensembles have begun to disseminate in recent years, most notably to California and Arizona.
After exploring the genre and learning its inner workings, she said she is pleased with the direction the class has taken so far.
And although it features neither the time nor the budget for a full scale production at this early point, the stage has been set for a full cast of “Gleeks” to do what they love.
“What makes Show Choir so unique is the focus on choreography,” said member Trevor Laity ’13.
“Just like how you can’t have a choir without singing, you can’t have a Show Choir without dancing,” he said.
Laityhappens to be the only Brophy student in the choir, and Mrs. Sherrill chalked this up to the late formation of the class as well as a lack of communication on campus.
“We sent word through the registrars, and that was all the publicity we were able to get,” Mrs. Sherrill said.
She also intends to cooperate with Brophy’s choir programs as more interest is generated on both campuses.
“We want Brophy to know that we’re working as a team and offering something that hasn’t been offered in the past,” she said.
The show choir movement has just begun to spread to the West, but Mrs. Sherrill already has her sight fixed towards the future.
With many training camps in the Midwest and competitions such as the Heritage Festival in Anaheim, Show Choir “opens up the options for performers” in ways other groups cannot.
“I would love to see some Brophy guys and Xavier girls head over (to the camps) next summer. I hope the bug will catch on,” Mrs. Sherrill said.
The class will make its debut performance with the other Xavier choir groups on the Xavier campus Oct. 27 at 7 p.m.