The 2014 Marysville Showcase Show Choir Invitational earned a new nickname last weekend: the Marysville Snowcase.
For a while, snow and wind threatened to cancel the annual contest. But in the end, the show went on, though with only half of the expected participants.
Marysville High School's own group, Swingers Unlimited, is well-known in the show choir community. Each year, the Marysville Choral Boosters hosts the invitational and invites groups from around the Midwest.
This year, 17 choirs were scheduled to attend the Jan. 25 event. Katie Silcott, chairwoman of the showcase, said eight school groups braved the weather and made it to the competition: Fairfield, which brought two groups; Grove City; Marion Harding; Solon; Twinsburg; Ravenswood, W. Va.; and Matoaca, Va. Marysville performs at the event but does not compete.
"Once these schools were given the go-ahead from their administration, they proceeded with caution and stayed on all of the major highways since the back roads were the worst. The two groups from out of state came to Marysville Friday night and stayed in a hotel," Silcott said.
Silcott said the boosters work hard every year to pull off the showcase, which requires 200 volunteers to keep things running smoothly.
"Despite the excessive snow and wind, Saturday's event went very well," she said.
"Many spectators still made the trip, and our auditorium was packed by the end of the daytime competition. In addition, a live stream of the competition was available online for people who were unable to make the trip," Silcott said.
The decision about whether to continue on or cancel the event was ultimately in the hands of Marysville school administrators.
"When the winter weather advisory came out on the eve of the showcase, our administrators diligently stayed in contact with county officials and weather experts," Silcott said. "Once it seemed like the snow was backing off early Saturday morning, Principal Aaron Cook notified us that we could hold the event as planned."
Silcott said some people were surprised so many choirs made the trip.
"The show choir community is large and intense, and it would take a lot to cancel events like this. Believe it or not, I did not receive any complaints," she said.
To the contrary, Choral Boosters President Pam Klaus has heard from fans wanting to donate to the organization because proceeds from this year's event, which the show choir uses as a fundraiser, were down. Klaus said on average, the boosters make approximately $15,000 on the showcase through registration fees, merchandise (T-shirts, candygrams and the like), programs, admission fees and concession sales. The snowstorm cut into that revenue this year.
One supporter is a Lancaster grandfather who had planned to watch his granddaughter perform. Once the snow showed up, he and his wife thought the drive would be too hazardous, but they still wanted to show their support.
"I feel bad for all of you that have worked so hard to make this a special day. I know the event is an important fundraiser for your group. ... I'm sure your crowd is much smaller than you anticipated," he wrote in an email. "Because of the situation, my wife and I would like to make a modest contribution to your show choir."
Despite the bump in the road, Silcott said the season has been very successful so far for Swingers Unlimited.
"The Swingers traveled to competitions at Central Crossing and Piqua High School and earned the first-place Grand Champion awards at both," she said.
At the first event, in Grove City, the group received awards for Best Vocals, Best Choreography, Best Instrumental Combo, Best Soloists and the coveted Citizenship Award, which is given to the group that displays exceptional professionalism and class, both onstage and off. At Piqua, the choir won Best Choreography, Best Show Concept, Best Costumes, Best Male Soloist and Best Male Performer.
The choir's competition season began in August with rehearsals under the direction of Jeremy Alfera. The group's instrumental combo is under the direction of MHS alumnus Jacob Newland. Many parent volunteers also contribute to work on costumes, set pieces, fundraising and travel arrangements, among other tasks.
On Saturday, Feb. 1, the Swingers were headed to the Harding Singsational at Marion Harding High School. Next on the docket are the Cuyahoga Falls Cuyahoga Classic on Saturday, Feb. 8; the Twinsburg Northcoast Invitational on Feb. 22; and the South Dearborn Opening Knight Showcase in Indiana on March 8.