It’s a Monday night, and the members of Surround Sound, Bettendorf High School's varsity show choir, are cleaning choreography and perfecting the vocals for their songs, by taking instruction from dance captains and their director, all to prepare for competition season in February.
And a 5..6..7..8! It’s June and the students of Surround Sound are at choreography camp, learning the steps to their songs for this years show, from 9 a.m. to 8p.m..Choreographer Ben Eklund taught the choreography and the students soaked it in like sponges, only taking breaks for lunch and to refill water bottles.
“Choreography camp is intense, it lays down the foundation for our show, and requires a lot of hard work and focus in order to learn the whole show in just three to four days,” said senior dance captain, Tilor Meyer.
The hard work does not stop there. Every Monday night the members of Surround Sound are in FA2, rehearsing and fine tuning their show for three hours.
“A typical rehearsal begins by preparing our stage, setting up risers and laying out the number line and then running through the whole show once, and then from there narrowing in on which songs need the most fixing dance wise,” said to second year member and sophomore Tyler Wilson.
“Cleaning choreography is the hardest and important part of preparing for the show, because it takes a lot of time and energy to catch every detail and to break up each eight count and then fine tune it. Looking clean and sharp in the dance moves as a group is challenging, because if one person does the wrong move, or does not do the dance move in complete unison with everybody else, it makes that one person stick out and can cost us points at a competition,” said the 11th grade dance captain, Molly Seybert.
Each member of the group must pull his or her own weight in every aspect of performing the show, which consists of six songs: an opener, second song, a ballad, a guys and girls song and a closer. When singing in show choir one must keep an open throat, and sing with tall vowels, diction, and with breath support, according to 11th grader, Olivia Gasper.
Singing and dancing are not the only aspects of performing in show choir, one must also have facials. Without showing expression on one’s face, the show will seem unenergetic, regardless of how well one dances or sings, according to Meyer.
To complete the show, the performers must also wear costumes, which are measured out to fit each member, by parents of the performers. The show choir parents play a big part in helping bring the show together by working outside of their work schedules to hem, sew, and fit costumes for the performers. Without the show choir parents, the show would not be ready in time.
In each show there is a costume change, in which the girls change after the ballad, during the boy’s song, and the boys then change during the girls song off stage. This costume change is quick, usually only allowing a performer to change from one whole outfit into another in just a little over a minute. This action requires a lot of team work off stage by each performer and crew member because each member needs to return to the stage all looking in unison, with shirts tucked in, belts buckled, ties on, etc.
Surround Sound performs in various competitions around the midwest in January and February and will rehearse and tweak until their first competition in January, in which they hope to perform well enough to earn a spot in finals.