What's a Show Choir?

Friday 2nd May 2014

The Starling Arts blog makes a return with this piece about a certain question we're asked regularly... 

“I run Show Choirs” 

I say. There usually follows a brief period of silence. 

“What’s a... Show Choir?” 

This happens all the time. 

I can’t just say choir because when I say the word choir, you automatically think of a line of serious people sat in chairs singing from behind hymn sheets. You can’t help it. Choirs sing religious music or large scale, traditional choral works, don’t they? Choirs only sing pop music if they’re joking:

(Of course, a choir of grannies singing Eminem is hilarious, as The Worst Choir Ever's 4.8 million views proves) 

Perhaps the use of the adjective ‘Show’ is confusing? Other things prefixed by ‘Show’ lead us in the wrong direction: perhaps you imagine a Show Home, false and temporary. Maybe you think of a Show Dog entered into Crufts, (complete with matching owner). Even worse is your projected image of a Show Girl - hairsprayed, sequined and feathered.

Show Dogs. A misleading title.

All of these ‘Show’ things smack of appearance over substance and I’d hate for that to be your understanding of a Show Choir. Our own Starling Arts Show Choirs don't enter competitions, but sing for good, old fashioned, wholesome fun. 

“Have you seen Glee?” 

That works sometimes too. 

You see, Glee Clubs are really, really old and British. The first named Glee Club was founded in London’s Harrow School, in 1787. A ‘glee’ is an English category of song, which was usually written for small groups and often intended to be sung unaccompanied. Let's consult an expert: our good friend Wikipedia describes a modern Show Choir as “a group of people who combine choral singing with dance, sometimes within the context of a specific idea or story.”

If you’ve seen the American hit series Glee, you’ll know that there’s a song for every emotion faced by a pubescent teen. What better way to process your first unrequited love than by singing an acoustic arrangement of a One Direction song? 

The cast of American hit TV series Glee

Like the cast of Glee, we take a song and make it lively. Sing it without music, add a dance move or two to communicate storytelling meaning, and most of all, we sing it like we mean it. 

Something active happens in a Show Choir that is hard to match else where. I'm going to put it out there that Show Choirs are cool. Sociable yet self indulgent, relaxing yet invigorating.

Emily directing one of our Starling Arts Show Choirs

If you've read any of our previous blogs, or ever seen us in action, you'll know that our very favourite thing is singing in a fun way with groups of people. We have three weekly Show Choirs, but we replicate Show Choir techniques with all sorts of groups - businesses, schools, arts organisations and community groups. The main thing, after all of that, is that we all have fun.

But I can't use that as a reply... can I?

What's a show choir?

A place where we have lots of fun.  


Click to find out more about Starling Arts' Show Choirs, or get in touch at info@starlingarts.com.