Show choir prep begins months in advance


The Legacy show choir rehearses during G4. Both Bella and Legacy made it to finals at their first competition. Photo by Daniel Perez.

At their first competition on Feb. 4, the Legacy and Bella show choirs made finals at competition. 

All of the preparation behind these performances didn’t happen weeks before competitions, but 12 months before. 

The creative team for show choir consists of the two choir directors, Gregory Johnson and Emily Keith, along with a costume designer, a choreographer, and a musician.

There are many different steps that go into the design process such as coming up with themes, choosing music, choreography, costumes, etc. 

“So all of that happens between March and July, before we even see the show choirs for the new year. Obviously we have to have auditions. We cast the show choirs like in March, and that’s when we start planning next year’s show,” Johnson said. 

Not only is show choir a competitive extracurricular activity, it is a class here at Lawrence North. Once the school year starts and the show choir class has begun, they learn the music and get fit for their costumes, which happens in December. 

“And then of course we have our tech rehearsals, where we then design all of the backdrops and get our bands music that the arranger wrote and teach them the music and then we put it all together for a preview show, which we just did last week. Where we have the mics and we have the light cues that we make. And we perform it like a regular concert,” Johnson said. 

After all of this preparation comes the competition portion of show choir.

“Each week we go out and we take our equipment, we load it up on a truck, and take it with all our costumes and set and band equipment to each school each weekend. And we’ll get judged on vocal performance and visual performance and we get placed based on how we sing, how we perform, how we dance, and the overall show designs. So each week we learn something different about our show based on the judges’ feedback and then we’ll make refinements every week to try to make the show better so that when we compete the next weekend we kind of fix some of the things that the judges said we needed to fix vocally and visually,” Johnson said. 

Saturday competitions are quite literally an all-day event. Students get up and get to school at three in the morning, start hair and makeup, load the bus, unload equipment, get ready, warm up, and perform a 15 minute show. If they make finals they have to perform again at night.

“It’s almost a 24 hour day, and that’s just on Saturday. And then the kids are here for the first semester obviously during class, just like a regular class. And then they have one extra rehearsal a week. For the kids, they put in a good 20 hours on Saturdays and then they have each group have about 6 hours of rehearsal. So I would say about 25 hours of work for the kids,” Johnson said. 

Sophomore Kyra Barlow is a part of the LN show choir. “My favorite part is when we’re all just talking. Not even about choir but just spending time together and just being with all of them is the fun part,” Barlow said. 

Sophomore Carly Isom is also a part of the LN show choir. Show choir takes a lot and it can be hard to manage your time along with it.

“I go home and I’m tired. There is a decent amount of time, like if you prioritize enough you’ll have time to do other things but it’s really hard and you’re just tired and then I can’t work because we close before choir would even get out so it just takes a lot,” Isom said.

But the payoff is worth all the hard work, according to Isom. 

“The performance makes everything worth it. In the moment it’s like, ‘Why am I doing this?’ but then you perform and it all just makes sense and it’s so much fun,” Isom said.