“Our goal going in was just to make the top 10,” said Chad Guyton, chorus director for Scream Machine.
Guyton said he was “thrilled” the singers accomplished everything they set out to do, especially because they were the youngest group competing.
The competition is open to chorus groups whose members are 30 or younger, but most of Scream Machine’s members are in high school, and one is still in middle school.
Zachary Morrison, a junior at Bradley Central High School, was happy with how the chorus placed, but hopes they will do better in the future.
The chorus made an impression with its version of “Billionaire” by Travie McCoy.
“It got an enormous standing ovation,” Guyton said. He said they were the only chorus that did anything close to that style.
Morrison liked that the chorus had a chance to stand out and be different with “Billionaire.”
Guyton said it was the “song of the festival,” and people kept coming up to him and commenting on the performance.
For Lucas Davis, a junior at Walker Valley High School, performing “Billioniare” was his favorite part of the competition.
“I thought the guys performed phenomenally,” chorus member and Lee University senior Shaun Sneed said.
Sneed said he felt a little more pressure during this performance than he has with others because he wanted the younger members to have a great time.
While in Las Vegas, singers also had the opportunity to have some fun.
Members went to Gameworks, visited the “Pawnstars” cable TV show’s pawnshop and did some sightseeing.
Sneed said he enjoyed being able to spend time with other members of the chorus and watch them participate in spontaneous barbershop harmony with members of other choruses.
Sneed said the long-term goal for the group is to one day place first. Right now they are going to focus on growing in number.
“If we get enough guys involved, I know Cleveland is going to support us,” Sneed said.
According to Guyton, the Cleveland Scream Machine is the only chorus of its style in Tennessee and only one of two such choruses in the Southeast.
One of the biggest obstacles to the chorus getting to Las Vegas was funding.
The Sound of Tennessee committed to developing a youth chorus last year, according to Guyton, and they invested in the program by helping fund the trip to Las Vegas.
Future plans for the chorus include a performance at the Sound of Tennessee concert in April. Guyton said this will be the Cleveland debut of the chorus, and will raise awareness.
Any male 30 or younger who is interested in joining the chorus can attend a practice to see what it would be like.
The chorus meets every Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the band room of Bradley Central High School.