Beyond the Hairspray: What do I bring to a show choir competition?

BEYOND the HAIRSPRAY: What do I bring to a show choir competition?

You’re probably thinking, “Rivar’s is trying to tell me what to bring to a competition? I already know… bobby pins, my shoes, my costume, water… I’ve got everything packed.” You may have your duffel bag ready to go, but there are more impactful things than a can of hairspray that you need to bring to a competition. Many members of our Rivar’s team have participated in show choir competitions, and we would like to share some non-material things that are essential for any competition.

A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP

Your alarm is set for 3am. And that means it’s competition season. If you have to get up when it’s still the middle of the night, make sure to get to bed early and do what you need to do to insure a peaceful night’s sleep. Show choir competitions are physically and emotionally exhausting, and it will be easier to recover from the 24-hour event if you go into the event well-rested. Singing while exhausted can put your vocal cords at risk, and you are more likely to get sick if you over-sing on a tired voice. So get to bed, protect your voice, and rest your body so that you can be on the top of your game for your choir!

CONFIDENCE

You’ve been working for months on this set. You know the choreography inside and out, and you could probably sing the ballad in your sleep. (Perhaps you have already because you’ve been dreaming about nothing but show choir for weeks…) So do as Maria does in The Sound of Music and have confidence in yourself and in your group. If it’s your first competition of the season, have confidence that you can put your best foot forward this weekend and continue to get better as the season goes on. You’ve worked too hard not to have faith in the amazing things your group can and will accomplish.

i have confidence

AN OPEN MIND

Show choir has exploded in the past decade, and choirs all over the country have taken this art form to innovative and inspirational places. Themed shows have made their way onto competition stages while other choirs own their traditional Broadway style. Whatever your preferred style is, open your mind to other schools’ ideas and choices. Instead of being instantly critical of something that is different than what you’re used to, take the time to think about the different kind of work and energy that group put into their set. If you’re used to edgier sets focusing on pop and rock music, you may have trouble seeing the challenges of a more classic, Broadway style. Open your mind. If you’re used to the golden age Broadway showstoppers, you may not understand the difficulties of putting together an edgy, rock music competition set. Open your mind. Try to appreciate different styles this competition season—you never know what might inspire you.

A SHOW CHOIR SMILE

When you’re exhausted by the time finals roll around, there are two things that can pull you through that final number in your set: adrenaline (which you have no control over) and a fabulous show choir smile (which is all yours to give). Let your smile light up the stage as you have the amazing opportunity to share a performance experience with your classmates and the hundreds of people that have come to see you perform. While it may be easy to keep that smile ON the stage, remember to keep smiling that show choir smile OFF the stage. You never know who may need to see a sparkling smile that day.

MANNERS

Please and thank you are great things to say to all those helping at show choir competitions, but having good manners during competition season goes further than easy words. It’s tempting to talk poorly about other groups at the competition: you don’t like their costumes, their vocals need some work, or maybe they’re really good and you’re concerned about them winning that night. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to either keep those comments to yourself or wait until you’re solely with YOUR choir to talk about other groups. You never know who is around you at a competition. Judges also take lunch breaks in the cafeteria, and parents from all the choirs are floating around the school during the day. Consider the impact your words could have on someone before letting them fly in a very public place. Wouldn’t you rather be remembered for indispensable kindness rather than a disposable trophy?

A POSITIVE ATTITUDE

“Keep it positive! Let out your inner freak! Keep it positive!” I think Elle Woods had it right in Legally Blonde: The Musical. Show choir competitions are a blast, but it can be tough to stay positive if you didn’t do as well as you had hoped on a personal level or a group level. Let that show choir smile light up your face and your mind, and remember to simply have fun. The most important thing to remember about having a positive attitude is that it majorly affects those around you, including people in your group and those in other choirs. If you win, win with positivity and keep it positivekindness. If you lose or didn’t place as high as you hoped, lose with positivity and good sportsmanship. Positivity makes the (show choir) world a better place, and you, as students and directors, can make sure that positivity is present at all times.

Show choir competition season is such an exciting time, and you will create memories that will last you a lifetime. Friendships will grow, musicianship will get stronger, and your group will bond over things you never knew could bring people together. Obviously, bobby pins, character shoes, and an extra pair of tights are must-haves for a show choir competition. But remember that your attitude, manners, and a dash of confidence will always take you further at a show choir competition than a can of hairspray ever will.

Goal Setting: Taking Advantage of THIS Semester

Spring classes are underway, competition rehearsals are in full-gear, and it’s time for a new semester of memories and academic adventures. It’s important to take full advantage of the time that you have this semester, but how can you make sure you’re accomplishing the things that you want to with your performance ensemble? Set goals. It sounds so simple, but setting specific and concrete goals is a great way to start the semester and ensure that you finish without letting opportunities pass by. We suggest making a list of short-term and long-term goals to give yourself “deadlines” and stay on track with what you hope to accomplish.

The first step is determining your end-of-semester goal so that you can list smaller steps that help move you toward that goal. In this step, it’s important to reflect on what you want to improve. Every group has differing strengths and weaknesses, both musical and non-musical. If no larger goal comes to mind immediately, take a few minutes and write down your group’s strengths and weaknesses to give you a clearer picture of what you want to work on. Maybe you want to encourage better teamwork in your group, or perhaps you want to use rehearsal time more efficiently. Maybe you have something musical you want to work on like vocal blend or sharper and cleaner choreography. Whatever that goal is, write it down and put it somewhere that you will see it every day so that you are reminded of the goal you are working towards.

Step two is to focus on the small, short-term goals and move forward from there. Here is a list of questions and suggestions for these short-term goal deadlines:

What can I accomplish TODAY?

  • I can plan my vocal warmups ahead of time to bring in elements of our competition set that need improvement.
  • I can start rehearsal exactly on time to take full advantage of the limited time I have with my students.
  • I can take five minutes of class-time to do a team-building activity.

What can I accomplish this WEEK?

  • I can perfect the hardest vocal section of our ballad. (Maybe try a sectional rehearsal!)
  • I can make sure my students have a packing list for an upcoming competition.
  • I can clean up the transitions between the numbers in our competition set.

What can I accomplish this MONTH?

  • I can make a game-plan for more efficient rehearsals with my student leaders (i.e. dance captains and officers if you have them).
  • I can delegate more responsibility to willing parent volunteers. (Ask yourself: what are some things that parent volunteers are able to do that would take stress out of my life?)
  • I can work on positive attitudes in my group by approaching challenges with positivity and encouragement.

Whatever your goals for the semester are, write them down and keep them somewhere that you will see them every day. Take advantage of the time you have with your performance group because this is the only semester you will work with this exact group of students. Keep up the great work, and best of luck to you this semester!

How do I dress my show choir for a competition closer?

How do I dress my show choir for a competition closer?

Competition season is on its way, and you have your beautiful opening outfits ordered. Sequins that sparkle, dresses that twirl, and a choir that sounds absolutely fantastic. But something is missing… your second outfit! Many successful show choirs try to put together a competition set that shows off a wide variety of styles and musical genres, and your outfits can help with that. Here are some suggestions for some funky closer outfits to contrast your classic opening look.

2118TUN

2118TUN

2118TUN

You can be edgy and still sparkle on stage in this fabulous new design from Rivar’s. The 2118TUN allows for mixing and matching because the inset and the dress can be designed with different fabrics. The faux leather in this photo contrasts nicely with the Stunning Sequins fabric. Consider using Sassy Sequins as the primary fabric with a coordinating Sparkle Illusion for the inset if you’re going for a more classic tunic. Or if you want to go the opposite direction with your design, Krazy Kat and Electric Rose are both bright and bold prints that will make your ensemble stand out.

 

BOLD PRINTS

2066TUN

2066TUN with ACC-8004 leggings


1091SEP

1091SEP and 2626WPA

Speaking of Krazy Kat… give your choir a fierce closing look with this sassy, colorful animal print. It comes in six different colors, so you can mix and match it with other fabrics as you choose. In the photo on the left, we’ve paired blue/green/turquoise Krazy Kat with black
leggings (which happen to be an in-stock item!). Inthe photo on the right, we’ve used black/purple Krazy Kat for the leggings and faux leather for the 1091SEP top.  Some directors we’ve worked with have paired this fabric with metallic knit or Bem Bem Sequins. Our favorite thing about this fabric? It’s super soft and stretchy, so it’s comfortable AND it can be used for tops or bottoms in an outfit.

SEQUIN T-SHIRT

partner dancing showchoir performance Westside Middle School

Westside Middle School (Omaha, NE)

We can’t forget about the boys!  With quick-changes, it can be hard to get out of one suit and into another, and we understand that suits can also be pricey competition items. Think about something like a metallic knit t-shirt or collared shirt for your guys. Darker colors like gunmetal, black, and royal are
fantastic options to keep your men looking strong and put-together. Consider pairing these tops with their dress pants from the opening number for an easier quick-change and a less expensive costume.

Putting together a competition set is not an easy task, but we are happy to help your group look fierce and fabulous in their outfits. With so many fabric options and choir costume designs, it’s easy at Rivar’s to make it yours.

How do I design costumes for my show choir competition set?

How do I design costumes for my show choir competition set?

The rehearsals and performances never stop for show choirs! Holiday shows are around the corner, and it’s already time to kick into gear for competition season. For directors that are newer to the show choir competition circuit, designing costumes for a competition set can seem daunting and overwhelming. Here are a few things we suggest that you think about when putting together costumes for your show choir:

  1. A 5, 6, 7—quick-change!

That snug, sequin dress may look fabulous on all of your girls, but if it’s tough to get on, we would recommend choosing something else for a finale outfit. Costumes that require more time and care to put on work well for opening numbers because the performers have more time get them on in the dressing rooms. Costumes that go on (and off if you have more than one costume change) easily are a must for any quick-changes. Stretchy fabrics are great, but if you have a backstage crew helping with costume changes, zippers on less-forgiving fabrics can also work well.

  1. Thematic Inspiration

Are you designing your competition set with a theme in mind? With so many color and fabric choices, you have the option to design costumes that will support your theme. Perhaps you’re looking at music with a fire theme: check out reds, oranges, golds and metallic knits in those colors. 5471335686_5639cb1748Trying out a Broadway theme? Women in classic, floor-length dresses paired with men in a timeless black and white suit will shout that style to everyone in the room. Going for an edgier look to pair with pop and rock hits? Metallic knit, faux leather, bold colors—these are just a few ways to match your outfits with your music. Our account managers are happy to help you design costumes that will make your show choir competition set the best it can be.

  1. Make it memorable (in all the right ways)!

Every show choir wants the judges and the audience to 13849349493_1a14678cc9remember their performance, and your costumes play a major role in that. If you’re sticking with that Broadway theme, think outside of the black-and-white box and maybe choose a color with a little more pop. Consider custom-designing an outfit that isn’t found in our catalog so that your group really makes a statement.* Keep your group’s hair and makeup in mind as well as you put together a memorable look because visuals are about more than the costumes and choreography. Check back in a few months for our special competition blog, where we’ll be covering hair and makeup ideas and tutorials for competition season.

 

Competition season is an exciting time of year in the show choir community. Let us help you put together costumes that will make a statement and help you sparkle on your way to the top!

*Note: If you are interested in doing a custom design, please contact your account manager as soon as possible or call Rivar’s and we’ll put you with an account manager. The process is a little different from ordering from the catalog. We would be happy to help you with designs and get your performers in one-of-a-kind costumes!