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The student news site of Dowling Catholic High School

The Dowling Catholic Post

The student news site of Dowling Catholic High School

The Dowling Catholic Post

    The Many Dimensions of Dowling Catholic Show Choir

    J. Umstead
    The dancers bring the show to a close with a final pose.

    The unique thing about being involved in an activity like dance team or show choir is that every year is so different. There are new songs, dances, and a new team dynamic. This is true on some level with every sport but you don’t rewrite your playbooks or totally change the way you do things. The people might change but not the sport itself.

    This year the Dowling Dimensions show choir is rising from the coals of the previous year into new horizons and rivers of opportunities. The theme for Dimensions 2022-2023 is Rivers in the Desert, cooling it off after last year’s theme of Up from the Ashes. One of the most significant changes this year is the dynamic due to the number of first-timers. 

    “Our group this year is a lot younger in terms of experience,” says Director Lindsey Sheldon. “At least 50% of the ensemble has never been in show choir before which allows us to reset a lot of goals and expectations. It has been fun to see upperclassmen step up and lead, while the underclassmen have been outstanding at following but also going on their own paths and taking our group to the next level.”

    Rivers in the Desert is based around a verse in Isaiah about God’s trustworthiness and faithfulness to Israelites but also Christ’s coming and God’s promise of a savior. “It can mean different things to different people, but the main message is trust in difficult circumstances,” says Sheldon. 

    Designing a showcase often starts with picking the main song that you want to base the show around. Sheldon picked “River” by Josh Groban as the main song and during the search for other songs she found a lot of songs about water that would be excellent choices. 

    In years past Sheldon has chosen previously arranged songs, which makes it hard to create a more cohesive show. This year, however, she hired an arranger to create the whole show. The arranger takes all the songs and writes voice parts and makes slight changes where the director wants them to go. Having an arranger allows them to pick more recent songs that match and convey a message to the audience.

    Once the songs are picked and arranged, it is time for the choreographer to create the dances, a formidable task. When they are ready, the show choir begins for real. There is a choreo camp during the summer where choreo and blocking are learned and drilled over and over stumbling through the moves until they finally click.

    “Learning the choreo is definitely the hardest part of show choir for me,” says senior Jack Power. 

    Senior Cecie Smith adds, “It is much more intricate than what it looks, and a lot more thought goes into it than you would originally think when watching it.” 

    Show choir is all about balance. You are incorporating singing and dancing often at the same time and learning when to sing softly or when to be dramatic is very difficult for most. 

    Show Choir is a world of its own, complete with a language full of vocabulary that would mean nothing to someone not involved in show choir, but to the people who are lucky enough to be introduced to this utopia, it all makes sense. “There are so many interesting and different personalities that you will meet,” says senior Nick Pulliam, “you make a lot of new friends.” 

    On a normal day during practice, you can find Dimensions working on the small things that really make the show go from decent to stellar, including bows, vocal dynamics, and foot noise. One of the most difficult things to do is stop looking at people in front of you when dancing. The great temptation in practice is to just look in the mirror or watch the person a few rows in front of you to check if you are doing things correctly. The problem is then you can’t perform to your highest potential if you are watching others, which becomes a problem in competitions.

    One of the highlights of show choir is the competitions. On comp days everyone arrives at Dowling in the morning for a quick costume check and vocal warmup, then everyone loads onto the bus and depart for the destination. 

    Once arrived the girls and boys go into their assigned rooms to eat something and begin to get ready. For the girls that means doing hair and makeup, and then everyone changes into costumes. 

    When everyone is ready, warmup begins, first a vocal warmup and then they head to an area with risers specifically for practicing choreo and vocals or whatever else needs to be practiced before show time. Right before heading backstage, Dimensions does their cheer that involves slapping the ground and yelling a chant.

    Show time has finally arrived and after setting your costumes people line up along the edges of the stage. This place is when the nerves really start to kick in, “Show choir pushes you out of your comfort zone because singing and dancing on stage in front of an audience is one of the most vulnerable things that you can do,” says Power.

    During the actual performance things most often go well. Freshman Grace Schuler says, “The excitement of finally getting a dance move right or singing your part with a lot of purpose is what makes show choir so amazing. It is the best feeling in the world.”

    Lily Timm (’24), Charlotte James (’23), and Hailey Catalano (’23) are surrounded by the choir during the ballad. (J. Umstead)

    Since there is so much adrenaline and nerves that come with performing on stage, accidents sometimes happen but your job as a performer is to really sell yourself to the judges.

    “Put on a show,” says freshman Quentin Steinbach. “Don’t beat yourself up if you do mess up because there is always something you can improve on later in the show.”

    After the fact, mistakes made onstage often make good memories. “My funniest accident was falling off the risers,” says senior Violet Bordenaro. 

    “I have ended in the wrong pose before,” says Pulliam. “I’ve also been hit in the face before during a performance.”

    Show Choir can seem like a lot of work at first but trusting the process is key. “It can seem intense and chaotic at times,” says Schuler, “but in reality, it is a lot of fun and you can really just enjoy it and develop friendships.”

    Dimensions has been extremely successful this season making it to finals at two of their three competitions so far. They have also placed third in the 4A division at the DMC competition and placed fourth overall at Norwalk.

    Show choir is a very unique activity that has a lot to offer both in memories and friendships. Steinbach says, “Everyone should join the show choir because it is very fun, and we have a lot of seniors who are graduating so we will have lots of room for new people.”

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    About the Contributor
    Ruby Leman, Staff Writer
    Ruby Leman is currently a sophomore at Dowling Catholic. Ruby is involved in Show Choir, Ut Fidem, and varsity track. In her free time, Ruby enjoys reading, spending time with her little siblings, and listening to music. Her favorite musician is Taylor Swift and her favorite movie is Clueless. This is Ruby’s first year in the Dowling Catholic Post, and she is very excited to be part of it!

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