Next week, the community will have the opportunity to see the hometown group the show choir world has been buzzing about.
Marysville High School's award-winning show choir, Swingers Unlimited, will hold an open performance at 7:30 p.m. March 17 in the high school auditorium, 800 Amrine Mill Road.
"We've had so many family and community members ask when the Mini Swingers and Swingers Unlimited would be performing closer to home that we decided to open up one of their last rehearsals to the public," said Pam Klaus, president of Marysville Choral Boosters. "Folks will get a chance to see both shows, with costumes, one more time."
The excitement about the show choir is well-earned. The group has won a school record five Grand Champion awards this year in an undefeated season.
The Swingers' last competition was Saturday, March 8, in South Dearborn, Ind., but they will continue to perform locally at choir concerts.
Senior Katherine Rogers has been in the show choir since her freshman year and has three older sisters who participated as well. She said this year has far surpassed any other year in which she's been involved.
"It's been awesome and so unexpected. It's been fun," Rogers said.
Jeremy Alfera is the Swingers Unlimited director. This is his 10th year with the program, though he no longer teaches in Marysville schools. His teaching position was one of several cut last year when the school board made $2 million in budget cuts after the district's 4-mill levy request was defeated in November 2012. Past and present show choir members protested cutting Alfera's job at the December 2012 board meeting.
But Alfera remained committed to the program. As show choir director, he receives a stipend from the district, much like an athletic coach receives. The boosters also supply a supplement to the stipend.
"I believe in the program. Show choir was always my favorite part of what I did. My amazing boosters figured out a way for me to keep doing what I love and keep the program together," he said. "It's actually working out great."
The show choir is considered an extracurricular activity and receives no school funding.
"It's all fundraised from our boosters," Alfera said.
The group rehearses from 6 to 9 p.m. every Monday and Thursday, putting in long hours to prepare for competition. Alfera said this year's students have been unbelievably hard-working.
"Getting that taste of winning makes you want to keep working for it even harder and harder. It's kind of been compounding upon itself," Alfera said. "I've watched these kids grow into something really special this year."
Rogers agreed there's something different this year.
"I honestly think it has a lot to do with the group of kids this year. We've all been best friends from the start. We're really silly," she said. "We always have fun. At the same time, we know how to have a serious rehearsal."
There are 52 singer/dancers, 17 combo members and 13 crew members in this year's show choir.
"I like the performing and seeing people smiling in the crowd and knowing I'm up there with a bunch of my friends doing things we like to do," Rogers said.
"It's been the most fun year ever."
Alfera said he's not surprised the show choir has turned into such a phenomenon.
"It's become such a tradition. We get more and more kids trying out every year and more and more prepared kids who are taking lessons and things like that," he said. "It keeps building upon itself to a point where you just know they're going to do great."