NATIONAL STANDARDS OF EXCELLENCE FOR SHOW CHOIRS
Original authors: Diana R. Spradling and National R&S Jazz & Show Choir Committee
Revision authors: Ken Thomas and National R&S Show Choir Committee (2006)
The purpose of these standards is to provide choral directors and choral educators (choreographers, arrangers, set designers, costumers, etc.) with a foundation upon which to build their show choirs as a viable and contributing part of a total choral program. For the beginning show choir, these standards should serve as starting points upon which to build. For the developing show choir, these standards should serve as goals to strive to attain. For the experienced show choir, these standards should serve as a measure of evaluation for the effectiveness and viability of their ensemble.
Recognizing the complexity of the world in which we live and particularly that of the educational system in today's society where much of the body of choral literature is taught and performed, we create these standards believing in certain fundamental premises. Foremost, the show choir is not a replacement for a traditional choral program but an enhancement of the existing program. The show choir experience is designed to build upon the experiences of a traditional choral program, to provide opportunities for the exploration of additional literature, to expose more people to experiences in choral singing and to attract more listeners to the beauty and joy of choral music. Furthermore, it must be the essential mission of each choral director and choral educator to maintain a level of excellence and a dedication to integrity in the stylistic performance of choral music of all types, idioms, historical periods and styles.
Performing alone and with others, the members of the show choir should demonstrate the ability to sing a varied repertoire of music from the popular culture and musical theatre genres with appropriate and healthy vocal technique, musical accuracy, technical accuracy, expression, ensemble skills and stylistic integrity.
Performing alone and with others, the members of the show choir should demonstrate the ability to add movement to their performance that compliments the music through technical accuracy, appropriate ensemble technique, expression and appropriately varied styles of dance.
- Instrumental Accompaniment
When performing with instrumental accompaniment, the members of the show choir should demonstrate the ability to create a total ensemble performance integrating the skills of all the performers into a stylistic, entertaining and educational package for both audience and participants. The use of live accompaniment is strongly encouraged. Directors of the show choir should work toward this achievement.
- Integrating Art Forms
While experiencing the rigors and complex demands required in combining the individual disciplines of music, dance and theatre into a single performance medium, the members of the show choir should demonstrate the skills of the complete artistic performer.
- Interpreting Music Elements
In reading and notating well-crafted music, the members of the show choir should demonstrate the ability to read a vocal score of varying parts appropriate to the ability level of their ensemble, describe the elements of music being used and expressively interpret the markings within the score.
- Stylistic Awareness
After listening to analyzing and rehearsing the music, the members of the show choir should demonstrate stylistic awareness in the music they perform through appropriate vocabulary, the performance of appropriate articulations and phrasing and critical evaluation.
- Performance Practices and Evaluation
By evaluating performances, the members of the show choir should demonstrate the ability to objectively review both their performances and the performances of others utilizing the accepted standards of excellence incorporated by the disciplines of music, dance and theatre along with the ensemble approach to the combination of these disciplines. The members of the show choir should recognize that performance practices in this genre do allow for more individualized interpretation than that of traditional choral literature.
- Creativity of the Individual
As a means of encouraging the development of a variety of individual competencies, the members of the show choir should be given the opportunity to demonstrate their individual talents and abilities as solo performers, as composers and arrangers of repertoire for the ensemble, as choreographers and designers and as production leadership team members.
- Entertainment as Art
Recognizing the relationship between the three disciplines of music, dance and theatre in the performing arts, the members of the show choir should demonstrate their concept of entertainment as an art form through the elements of performance, appropriate rehearsal etiquette, continuous practice with attention to detail and respect for the contributions of others.
- History and Pop Culture
Understanding the genre of popular music and theatrical music in relationship to history and culture, the members of the show choir should demonstrate the ability to classify repertoire or performance by style, type or historical period and explain the reasoning behind their classification as well as identify the role that this music and its performers have played in the historical and cultural development of society.