Show choirs from 18 schools participated Feb. 28 in Grove City High School's annual Voices in the Grove competition.

Show choirs from 18 schools participated Feb. 28 in Grove City High School's annual Voices in the Grove competition.

For Grove City's Touch of Class show choir, the event offered a chance to perform without the pressure of competition.

"As the host school, we don't compete, so that takes a lot of the pressure off," said choir director Jennifer Wozniak. "We can just enjoy performing and watching the other choirs."

A show choir is different from a regular concert choir, Wozniak said.

"It's not like the image most people have of a high school choir," she said. "A regular concert choir is just people standing and singing."

A show choir involves singing and dancing with instrumental backing and a set crew, Wozniak said.

"It's a whole big production," she said. "It's a more advanced level of choir."

This year's Touch of Class choir has 53 singers and dancers, an eight-member set crew and 12 backing musicians, Wozniak said.

"The theme of our competition show is 'Woodstock,' " she said. "We perform several classic songs from the 1960s," including Spinning Wheel, Try and Voodoo Chile.

"The experience of being in a show choir requires a strong sense of commitment and teamwork," Wozniak said. "It's a constant effort to improve the competition show. The students work extremely hard to get better."

Grove City High School has hosted Voices in the Grove annually since 1993.

"It's always fun to see the ideas each school has come up with for their competition show," Wozniak said. "For the audience, it's a great way to experience what show choirs are all about."

Senior Michael Cowan has performed in choirs since he was a boy, but said he loves the challenge that show choir provides.

"It's definitely a lot harder than regular choir because you have to sing and dance at the same time," he said. "You have to learn to use breath support so you have good diction in your singing while you're dancing."

"It's a whole lot of physical activity," said senior Sydney Kirker, also a Touch of Class member. "There's a lot of theatrics to the performance."

The "Woodstock" show is fun because it involves giving a choral arrangement to classic rock songs, Cowan said.

"It explores our musical history and it's allowed me to discover some types of music I've never really heard before," Kirker said.

Perhaps the best part of show choir is the camaraderie that develops among the choir members, Cowan said.

"It's just great to hang out and become friends with people as we rehearse and travel to the competitions," he said.

Touch of Class this year already has competed in Dayton, Cleveland and Indiana. Next up, later this month, is a competition in Teays Valley, Wozniak said.

At this year's Voices in the Grove competition, Findlay High School was named grand champion in the Tier I category and Revolution from Olentangy Orange High School won the Tier II competition. Coy Middle School from Xenia was the middle school grand champion.