Two South Mississippi schools head for show choir competition - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Two South Mississippi schools head for show choir competition


The students at South Jones and Oak Grove High Schools will be the first to tell you that show choir is more than just singing. It takes passion, endurance and surprisingly athleticism.

In two weeks, both schools will take those attributes to Chicago for a national competition.

South Jones Company Director, Johnathan McKenzie and Oak Grove CenterStage Director Darren Dale both have been involved with show choir for most of their lives.

"I started when I was in the ninth grade and I'm 35 today," said McKenzie.

"I grew up in show choir in Clinton," said Dale.

They believe their involvement has developed into a passion, which has shaped who they are.

"I'm comfortable speaking in groups, I'm comfortable in large crowds," said McKenzie.

"It helped me learn time management, disciple, how to get along with other people whose personality may be different than yours," said Dale.

It all boils down to confidence, and both directors strive to pass it along to their students.

South Jones Senior Kaylie Bradshaw says their confidence wouldn't be possible with out the talent on this stage, and of course practice.

"We put forth individual efforts. It's not just about the show choir itself. We each have to put in our own talents and abilities together," said Bradshaw.  

South Jones Senior Mason Robertson insists show choir isn't for the faint of heart. When they belt out notes while dancing for 15 minutes straight, and get down right physical they're trying for one thing.

"Aim at perfection. We worked toward that and practice that everyday, and if it's not perfection then we start over and keep working on it until it gets better," said Robertson.

Oak Grove's show choir member, Destiny Lomax says there are a couple of indicators that lets the members know their efforts have paid off.

"Once you get the adrenaline pumping from people cheering it's so amazing, like it just feels awesome. When you get done and you're like pouring with sweat and your hair is falling down, that is when you know you did a good job," said Lomax.

Recently, both show choir's performances placed them at the Fame Event competition in Orlando. South Jones was the first runner up and Oak Grove was second runner up.  

"If you are selected in the top three at any of those competitions you are invited to the national finals in Chicago," said Dale.

On April 20 and 21 both show choirs will give it their all and represent South Mississippi, but both directors say if you are looking for a rivalry you won't find one.

"Rather than being competitive we just kind of banded together and we're cheering, yea, for Mississippi that two of us made it to the competition,"said Dale.

"We wish them the best and support them. We are excited they are going to be in Chicago with us," said McKenzie.

Senior and Oak Grove CenterStage member Markos Williams sums up the excitement best.

"I am so excited. I've never had that opportunity to go there. I want to see what's there. I want to see everything it has to offer, and I think it's going to be a great trip. We're all really excited about it," said Williams.

Both show choirs are raising funds for the Chicago trip. If you would like to make a donation call South Jones Choral Office at 601-477-3006. For a donation to Oak Grove's show choir call 601-264-7232.

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