East High's show choir goes global

2010-10-06T22:15:00Z 2010-10-13T11:13:00Z East High's show choir goes global

By Michele Linck


Sioux City Journal

SIOUX CITY — Sioux City’s East High School’s show choir, the Headliners, has been thrust into the national — make that global — spotlight by Sunday’s issue of Parade magazine.

Now, people across the world can call up the video of the Headliners’ 2008-09 “monster show” on Parade’s website, then vote to get it named among the top three in the nation.

The magazine has linked the nationwide online show choir contest to its Sunday cover story, “Lights, Music, Glee Club!” and named the East High Headliners among its top 25. Now it is asking readers to view all the entries online and vote for the best in its search for “America’s Favorite Show Choir.”

The initial picks were made based on submitted videos of “thousands” of nominated show choirs from across the country, according to Parade.

Parade will reduce the number of candidates on Friday to the top 10 vote-getters, let the public vote again, then name the top three on Tuesday.

“It’s exciting to be in the top 25, and hopefully we can move beyond that,” said East’s director of choirs, Heath Weber. Nonetheless, he said, the Headliners are not mounting a campaign for the honor but are hoping people will vote.

Contest is ‘monster’

Weber said a parent who learned about the contest called him to ask if it would be OK to enter one of the Headliners’ videos.

Weber, who has directed show choirs for 14 years, including 10 years at East, chose to submit the Transylvania-themed show. It’s nicknamed the “monster show” for its huge sets and the giant Frankenstein head and hands that pop up behind the performers during the closing number, shooting CO2 steam from its ears.

The tunes are from “Young Frankenstein,” a new Broadway interpretation of the classic story.

Weber said the Headliners’ shows frequently feature big sets, setting them apart from the competition, along with the group’s penchant for shows with a story line. That gives the kids a chance to develop their characters, endearing them to the audiences in their biweekly competitions during show choir season, from January through April.

He has help from many sources, including East High assistant choir director Serina Jolivette and Mike Weaver, a Chicago-based choreographer who visits East High three times a year to work with the Headliners. Parent support is also key, he said.

This year, the East High show choir is composed of 47 singers and dancers, a stage crew of 10 and a live band of 10 to 14 musicians. Their 2010-11 show is another big production, this time in a 1950s theme reminiscent of TV’s “Happy Days.” Weber declined to reveal much more.

Parade’s story was inspired by the success of the hit Fox TV show “Glee!” which has sparked a resurgence of the show choir phenomenon of the mid-1960s.

But Weber said in real life, show choirs compete but also cheer for one another. As for that outcast-versus-athlete story line? Not happening at East. Lots of kids compete in both.

But the Parade contest means, for now, at least, that the East High Headliners will be the only ones competing on the national stage.

Copyright 2015 Sioux City Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.