LFMS prepares for competition of show choirs
by CHRISTY ARMSTRONG Banner Staff Writer
Jan 24, 2014 | 1428 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
GROOVING TO THE MUSIC, students in Lake Forest Middle School’s Revolution show choir work on their dance moves Thursday, as they prepare for a competition being hosted Saturday by their school for the second year in a row. The choir’s directors created a new competition last year to give middle school show choirs the chance to shine separately from their high school counterparts.
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Members of Lake Forest Middle School’s Revolution show choir have been working to perfect their vocals and dance moves as the school prepares to host what one of the directors calls “the main competition” for middle school show choirs in the state of Tennessee.

The Platinum Showcase competition began last year as a way for students to show both the community and other show choirs what Revolution can do. Since then, directors Jeremiah Pritchard and Ryan Ogle have been working to make sure it becomes an annual event.

The idea was to give middle schoolers a chance to shine without having to be lumped in with high school choirs. Though the competition has one more choir than last year — five instead of four, it has been tough getting the word out.

“It’s honestly been a struggle,” Ogle said.

Getting a new competition established meant searching the contact information of other choir directors to see who could travel to Cleveland to sing. Out of more than 100 directors, Ogle said only five agreed to be a part this year — and that includes Revolution.

It is also expensive to host a competition, he added. Everything from costumes to programs add up to an amount not included in the school’s normal budget. However, the school choir has been able to partially offset families’ out-of-pocket costs through fundraising and sponsorships by companies like BI-LO, Geico and Hardee’s.

“The community has been very generous,” Ogle said.

Another challenge has been adapting “a totally different set of standards,” he said. In competition, students are judged on three categories — vocals, choreography and stage appearance. Being able to sing well while dancing is a major concern, and having a sloppy dress shirt or necktie “can win or lose a competition.” 

Lake Forest’s choir has also gone through the shift of splitting its choir into two — one with sixth- and seventh-grade students and one with eighth-grade students.

But, at the end of the day, students are doing what they love to do.

Jennah Pritchard, a seventh-grade choir section leader, said it was cool to be part of the competition’s host school.

“It kind of makes you feel like you’re one of the leaders in it,” she said.

Fellow seventh-grade section leader Luke Lee said competition can be “pretty intense,” but he said the choir always took time to sing a reassuring original song called “Let Your Heart Not Be Troubled” and pray before each set.

Other choir members like eighth-grade section leader Zach Ulrich said the choir had been a good thing for them even when not preparing for competition.

“Revolution basically means the world to me,” Ulrich said. “It’s like family.” 

Fellow eighth-grade leader Sydney Brown said she felt like she could “be herself” around her choir classmates as they prepare for the competition.

It has also given the students the chance to show what they can do.

Pritchard said the choir competition not only gives the students the opportunity to have pride in themselves and what they can accomplish, but it also allows people from elsewhere to see what good can come from a school in Bradley County.

“We’re thrilled to do it,” Pritchard said.

Thursday afternoon, the choir worked through its show for Saturday. Students energetically sang and danced their way through the program, which included everything from the “Superman” theme song to “Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis to “Hero” by Skillet.

The backdrops and costumes for Revolution’s upcoming show will feature both fictional superheroes and real-life ones like firemen and military personnel.

The competition is open to the public and will take place at the school for much of the day Saturday. The first choir hits the stage at 12:45 p.m., and Lake Forest’s Revolution show choir will take the stage about 5:15.

Tickets are $10 for everyone above the age of 5, and proceeds go to help cover the competition’s expenses.