For years, Lakeside High School’s show choir has traveled to competitions in other states because few were held in Georgia.
“We travel as far as Mississippi,” said Lakeside show choir director Stacey Branch.
To avoid such long bus rides, Branch and the choir decided to hold their own competition.
On Saturday, Lakeside High School will be the host school for the Georgia Vocal Invitational. As such, the choir won’t be competing, but it will perform.
“This is a big deal for Georgia,” said Mike Weaver, a Chicago choreographer who has written the book Sweat, Tears and Jazz Hands: The Official History of Show Choir from Vaudeville to Glee.
Weaver, who also is a competition judge, has choreographed Lakeside’s routines for several years. He was at the school recently, putting the finishing touches on the group’s numbers.
“The hub for show choirs is the upper Midwest,” Weaver said. “The smaller the town, the bigger the show choir.”
Branch didn’t immediately know last week how many show choirs will be competing. She anticipates it could be a small competition in its inaugural year, but she expects it to grow over time.
A show choir combines singing and dancing as part of the performance.
Weaver said show choirs started about 50 years ago with a group called the Young Americans. Members have changed over the years, but that ensemble still travels and performs across the country.
Its popularity has increased recently as a result of the television show Glee.
“There are 14 million viewers of Glee,” he said. “At least 13.9 million had no idea what a show choir was before that. Now, it’s a household word.”
The competition is open to the public. Not only will the competing groups perform, but Lakeside will be showcased. Branch said she also has some other groups and vocalists coming in to entertain.
“It’s not just show choirs,” she said.
The doors will open at 10:30 a.m. with the first group performing at 11 a.m. Admission costs $10 for adults, $5 for pupils in kindergarten through 12th grades, and free for children 5 years old and younger. Families with two adults and two children will pay a group rate of $20.