SIOUX CITY | Take a classic 1970s pop song, throw in a Whitney Houston dance track, add 40 or more high school students shimmying in colorful costumes and you've got entertainment that will draw hundreds of people to watch.
A big show choir event plays out Saturday at East High School with the Sing All About It competition.
"(Show choir) has become very popular over the last 10 years. There are some amazing, talented students out there," Liz Croston, East High Choir Parents Club chairwoman, said.
Sing All About It will run for 18 hours through late Saturday, when the final winner out of a field of 19 teams will be picked by judges. Croston estimates 700 parents, family members and friends will turn out to watch the combined 1,000 performers at East.
Meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner will be on hand, as organizers line up rooms for participating teams to use for their prep before going onstage.
"It is a logistical, not nightmare, but a big logistical project," Croston said.
Courtney Nelson, an East senior who is a daughter of Kim Nelson and Russ Pierce, has been in show choir four years. This year the East team is performing five songs over a 20-minute performance. It will kick off with a few measures of "Feel This Moment" by PitBull, followed by "Dance With Somebody" by Whitney Houston. That will take 85 team members, with 57 of those on stage singing and dancing.
East High won a grand champion award at a Sioux Falls Roosevelt competition earlier this season. There are lots of show choir options in the area this school year. Bishop Heelan hosted a competition on Feb. 27. Upcoming shows are at Westwood High School in Sloan on March 12 and Hinton High School on March 19.
Sioux City West and North high schools do not host show choir events.
Nelson said she doesn't get nervous during the performance.
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"I personally like competing the most. The rehearsals are really stressful, so it is nice to know all the stress is worth it, once you perform," Nelson said.
Doors open at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, with the first performance at 8:10 a.m. The 19 teams come from a wide range of school sizes. Judges will determine the six top show choir teams after each school performs once through 6 p.m. After a dinner break, the finalists hit the stage once more aiming for the top prize, awarded at 10 p.m.
Croston has had two children participate in show choir, including youngest daughter Emily this year as a junior at East. Croston said show choir is fun to watch but also a great training ground for teamwork and the development of confidence for the teens.
"I like the courage that it takes for these students to put themselves out there on the stage," Croston said.
Nelson spoke to the teamwork aspect, pointing to the camaraderie by East High participants pulling each other along to improve.
"I think we're pretty good, not to sound conceited. I think we've improved this year, not just in singing and dancing, but in being an actual group," Nelson said.
Dustin Rusche, the show choir director for Hinton High School, performed four years himself at Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn High School. He said the Hinton squad practices about three hours per week, and the 50 students exhibit strong desire to excel.
"They are working really hard in the week to make each performance improve," Rusche said.
The students came up with the dream theme for the songs last spring, which eventually came together with songs such as "Dreams" by Van Halen and "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" by Eurythmics. Rusche said he figures it will be a crowd-pleaser, given some coaxing he's given to fuel the longstanding desire by Hinton students to do their best.
"You need to pull out confidence and just boost that teamwork, that we are a team and there are no bench players in show choir," Rusche said.