Cutting out show choir...
Date: October 3, 2013
I am in my first year at my new school (3rd year choir director). I am in no way, shape, or form a show choir director. I don't enjoy it, I don't like the music, I don't like the 'costumes,' etc. I don't look down on anyone that does, but it is not my 'thing' and I am not in the business of accomodating what I do to my students' current desires or the students' parents interests. I see more value in the concert choir setting and I think it is more technical and challenging in ways that I think are worthwhile.
All that being said, I live and teach in the heart of the high school show choir world (Indiana). My school doesn't compete in show choir competitions, and not even all their music has been show choir related, but their choir attire is definitely show choir costuming, the music they have sung in the past is heavily show choir oriented, and traditionally the choir auditions are heavy on dance as well as singing. Now, if the show choir were just one separate class or it were after school it would be one thing. But EVERY choir has been expected to dance in the past, and that's what they expect this year also. The girls would cry if I changed their sparkly dresses, and though we just finished their first concert they are already asking when they can start choreography for the holiday concert.
I guess my question is: has anyone had success changing the 'choir culture' when everything is show-choir related? I would love to pull things in the direction of concert choir in the coming years, but I don't know that I can expect it to happen soon. I have good ideas and plans for how to slowly implement my own ways of doing things, and I am pushing the idea that not every concert needs to have dancing and props. But, I'm wondering if I will see a drop in numbers and participation? I guess that's not the worst thing, but I'm just looking for ideas, both in the immediate and distant future, I suppose.
I appreciate all helpful feedback. In no way do I want to demean or put down those who have show choirs or love show choir. If you have any experience with this topic, or know of something that could help me out, I appreciate it!
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