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Guidelines for "Show Choirs"

I have as of late been watching show choir competitions on TV- they seem to follow a certain format- As a composer where would I find the guide lines for these show choirs- the only aspect I dont like about them is that they seem to be a mismatch of songs- wouldnt this be better if it was a mini-musical based on the guide lines of the competion?---where do I find this info????? shay(a)
Replies (3): Threaded | Chronological
on April 26, 2014 4:17pm
As with many microcosms (and Show Choir certainly is a world unto itself), there are "unwritten rules" aplenty.
For example, when I was in high-school show choir way back in the late 80's and early 90's, a traditional show was typically this:
1. "Hot" up-temo opener. More often than not a pop/rock song
2. Medium-tempo song. Often a showtune, folk-song arrangement, or "novelty" number. Frequently involved props/costumes.
3. Ballad. Sometimes a cappella. Could be pop or jazz.
4. Either the closer or a short song bridging the gap from ballad to closer.
5. Wham-bam closing number. Insert key changes. Use costumes, banners, rhythm gymnastics. Expolit audience by having them clap along in a cappella section near end.
I don't think that this formula has changed a whole lot over the years.
Smart directors do create a theme. It might be a word or phrase, like "bridge", "love". Maybe a locale. Maybe each song gets progressively later in time period. Those shows are often more interesting, and a good teacher will even craft transitions between songs, so that there needn't be applause between every number.
I'm curious--where have you seen show choir on TV?
By the way, Mike Weaver, longtime show choir choreographer (and fellow Midwesterner) has written a substantial book about the history of show choir, Sweat, Tears, and Jazz Hands.
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on May 1, 2014 4:45am
a local channel out of cedar rapids iowa channel 22- have just stumbled on it a couple of times
on April 27, 2014 6:44am
Shay - Go to and become a member.  You will then have access to a forum with directors and information about virtually every show choir in the country.  You can see their competition sets and often link to their shows so you can start to get a sense of what other directors are doing. 
Valerie Mack has a great book called "Putting the Show in Show Choir"  and Steve Zegree has one out as well.  Do all the reading and watching you possibly can.
Good luck!
Randi Carp
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