GROSSE POINTE, Mich. – Grosse Pointe South Choir has been locally known for their powerful vocal performances, intricate choreography, and elaborate costumes covered in glitter. But recently, they had the chance to show it to the rest of the country.
On May 4, the Pointe Singers and Tower Belles, two of the school’s choir groups, competed in the FAME Show Choir National Finals in Chicago. The Pointe Singers took home the prize of national champion, while the Tower Belles walked away with first runner-up in their division.
Meet the director:
Director Chris Pratt has been leading Grosse Pointe South’s choir for seven years, and this is the first time since 2007 that they’ve gone to nationals. He says he looks forward to seeing the “tremendous growth in students at all levels throughout a school year.”
Harder than it looks:
These competitions aren’t just about the singing either- show choirs are judged for their dancing and theatricality as well.
“I think people would really be surprised how physically demanding this level of performance is.” Pratt said about his team’s performances. “This is not traditional stand-and-sing concert choir. This is 20 minutes of singing, dancing and acting with no break.”
One performance by the Pointe Singers involved students building a model car on stage, dancing and doing flips off of ladders, and creating a beat with brooms and buckets, all while singing along to a ragtime melody.
Points for style:
Judges award points based on presentation, technique, interpretation, instrumentals, and “show,” which takes into account the stage presence of the performers. Three of Pratt’s students won awards for stage presence: Maya Mirkazemi, Andrew Fleming, and Elaina Calisi.
When asked how he works with his students to improve their chances in this category, Pratt said “We work at every rehearsal to increase students’ level of confidence through refinement of physicality, like standing-up straight, having chins a bit higher and shoulders back. These are physical traits that people view as confidence and demand attention.“
The Pointe Singers and Tower Belles will next perform at Grosse Pointe South’s concert “Broadway,” May 23 and 24 at 7p.m.