ORFORDVILLE

Thursday and Friday were the most stressful and easiest days of Alyssa Case’s life.

Case explained the paradox of her final few days before directing Parkview High School’s first home show choir competition.

Crowds of people Saturday descended upon the village of only 1,500 for Parkview’s Xtravaganza—and once inside the gymnasium-turned-performance-area, they made their presence known.

Ten teams from eight schools along with their supporters packed into Parkview High School for the event that ran almost all day Saturday.

Per custom, Parkview’s show choir team, Pizazz, performed as hosts but were not judged as part of the competition.

And Case—a 2011 Parkview graduate, former Pizazz member, volunteer and assistant director who ran the school’s first show in her first year as director—could be seen buzzing around the hallways, radio in ear.

Who forgot the tape?

“We need duct tape,” one Pizazz assistant yelled down the hallway.

“Do you have any duct tape anywhere?” she asked. “Otherwise, they’re just going to have to do without.”

Show choir participants put pieces of duct tape on the bottom of their shoes to get rid of some traction while they’re on stage—so they don’t slip and fall.

‘Don’t Stop Believin’’

While the teams were getting ready, the audience filed into the dim, nearly full gym.

Many of the seats were occupied by other show choir teams. It’s different from other competitions in that show choir teams often cheer (quite loudly) for other teams.

But how did groups of show choir students fill the dead time between shows?

They sang, and they danced—because of course.

Even as an emcee announced a slight delay, students filling the bleachers sang along to Rihanna’s “Umbrella,” Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face,” and, lastly, with cellphone lights waving in the air—“Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey.

A president and a parent

It was special for Clay Hammes to see Saturday’s Xtravaganza for two reasons, he said.

As the Parkview School Board president, he said he was “very proud” of the school for hosting such an event because three years ago the district narrowly approved a referendum to build the facility.

And second, Hammes volunteered for and watched the competition as the father of two Parkview show choir participants.

“Before my oldest daughter got involved, I didn’t know much of anything about show choir,” he said. “It’s fun to see the kids’ hard work pay off … it’s a lot of fun to watch.”

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Milton Choralation member Neil Garcia, right, dances during a performance Saturday, January 6, 2018, at Parkview High School in Orfordville.

‘Be free’

Neil Garcia, who performed with Milton High School’s Choralation, said there’s nothing else like show choir in high school.

“It’s so thrilling,” the senior said. “It’s this unique environment where you can let loose without any… You don’t feel like you’re being judged in a bad way.

“But you can … you can be free.”

Milton High School will also be hosting its own show choir event, Rock the Rock, on Saturday, Jan. 20.

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Alyssa Case, director of Parkview’s show choir teams, gives instruction during a pre-performance practice Saturday, January 6, 2018, at Parkview High School in Orfordville.

Seeing it all

The radio in Case’s ear had been going off all day—from students needing duct tape to toilets getting clogged.

But even before Saturday’s Xtravaganza, Case had already been deeply familiar with all things Pizazz.

“I’ve kind of seen it all,” she said.

This year she had to transform from the “fun Alyssa” to the director who had to tell people when enough was enough, she said.

She called herself a “control freak,” and in her first year as director, she said she had to learn to let go and trust the cast of volunteers around her.

The days leading up to the show were stressful, “because I am a perfectionist,” Case wrote in a Facebook post at 5:55 a.m. Saturday that she also recited to the Pizazz team right before their performance.

But the days felt easy, too.

“Easy because our little village held the weight of the day on their shoulders, and I’m not quite sure how, but without even being told, they made stuff work,” Case wrote.

For all the firsts on Saturday, it was the person with all the experience who spoke with the team right before they took the stage.

“The show choir world is the coolest thing out there. I promise you,” she said. “You will miss it when you’re not in high school.

“Why do you think I’m still here?”

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Pizzaz member Pamela Garcia practices the show choir’s ballad while looking into a mirror covered in notes expressing the show choir’s goals Saturday before her performance at Parkview High School in Orfordville.

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