There are few people who would say that varsity show choir is a sport, but I am here to tell you just how wrong you are.
What started out as a quiet venture onto the stage as a child turned into a love for music and synchronized dancing that has left me with little shame. Personally, I quantify any sort of group or singular act as a sport as long as it makes you sweat. If you could become out of breath, sore or possibly injure yourself it is a sport.
Show Choir was my sport and I was good at it. My experience as a show choir girl changed my life.
I was never a shy child growing up, but I quickly found myself confronted with fashion and song choices that made me wrinkle my nose.
If you’d have asked me five years ago if I would have worn a sparkly blue dress and spanx on stage then I would have laughed in your face, but to my intense surprise I loved it.
The glitz, the glamor, and the sparkling dresses were all part of the experience. In addition to class during the school day where we could practice singing, we had after school practices for dance.
Again, a sport must be practiced at all times of the week in order to perfect it. That’s where the sweating began. We practiced in the choir room which was made up of leveled steps, not a traditional dance studio.
The girls would form lines along these steps and dance in the hopes of not face planting. I managed to make it one whole year before doing just that. There were times when our choir director would yell “Stop!” at the top of his lungs, turn off the music, and just put his hands on his hips. “That was HAM girls,” he would say. Short for “Hot Ass Mess.”
Sweat would be dripping from everywhere as we ran through the moves but there was one difference between us and the other sports at school, we had to sing in addition to dancing. People like to compare us to shows like Glee but often forget that those singers studio record their stuff before dancing on stage.
I often would tell my friends, “Why don’t you try running around in a raincoat singing it’s raining men.”
As a singer and a mildly okay dancer I pushed myself to the limits those two years of high school. Breath control, dance moves, and form were always on my mind.
I could never do a show with other things clouding my mind. I started out singing in choirs at the age of three years old. I participated in the odd event where I got to do more than stand there while I sang but I didn’t really venture out into the world of music and dance until high school.
I still remember going to my first show choir concert and my mother poking me from behind whispering, “I can so see you up there.” At first I resisted. I didn’t think I had the gumption to drag myself up on stage and shake it to ‘It’s Raining Men’ but I was oh so wrong. I auditioned with trembling hands and sweating pits in my junior year of high school.
My audition song was ‘Close Every Door to Me’ from Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat. I have always been a strong singer so the dance audition is what frightened me most.
Part of playing a sport is moving outside of your comfort zone to make yourself better. I quickly learned a dance to a One Direction song that was popular at the time and filed into the band rehearsal room with nine other students.
Mr. Burney, my mentor and choir director, said that he wasn’t looking for perfection, but rather a smiling face and a good work ethic.
Inwardly, I was glad he said that considering I’m not exactly a dancer. I ended up making the all girls show choir, the Auggies, and danced my way through junior and senior high school with them.
The years I spent working on that team I received a varsity letter, one bloody nose, and several awkward dance partners. Those years would later be titled in my memoir as “Sparkles!”.