Butler students build a show choir from the jazz hands up

Long before ABC’s hit show “Glee” created a national choral craze, the foundation for Butler University Show Choir (BUSC) was formed in the mind of  club’s president, junior Eric Shoemaker.

“I wanted to start a show choir simply because I knew it was something I loved to do,” Shoemaker said. “I knew Butler didn’t have one when I chose to come here, so I decided to change that.”

The show choir is a brand new, completely student-run organization, created to give those who may have previously been involved in show choir in high school, and first-timers, the opportunity to express themselves through singing and dancing.

Shoemaker and sophomore secretary Doug Smittle were both involved in show choir in high school and are very enthusiastic about bringing show choir to a collegiate level.

“When I heard there was some interest in starting a show choir here at Butler, I immediately thought ‘I want to help make this happen. I want to be a part of this,’” Smittle said.

Show choir is not very common at the college level and unlike most show choirs where the choral music is usually based on Broadway or pop music selections, the BUSC performance genres will be completely chosen by the members.

The new club has been promoting itself at campus events like Block Party and holding interest meetings, which have been posted in the Butler Connection.

So far, 83 Butler students have signed up to receive BUSC emails and 31 individuals turned out for the club’s first call-out meeting.

The number of people who have been attracted to this new organization has far exceeded the numbers  Shoemaker expected.

“We had our table at Block Party this year and 83 people signed up, which was more than I ever could have expected,” he said.

If you can’t dance or sing don’t fret, you can still get involved.

The show choir is also seeking people to participate in a few of their other important committees such as those used to choreograph the dances, design and buy costumes, play musical instruments, make choral selections and even plan when the events will take place.

All of the members are an important part of helping the club to run without hiccups.

“We wanted this to be a smooth running club that breaks up the responsibilities among the members so that they take more pride in it at the end of the year and have more of a say in the decisions being made,” Shoemaker said.

Rehearsals for the show choir will start out at once a week, eventually working their way to two practices per week later in the semester.

Because of the incredible amount of time it takes to perfect the singing and dancing, and the groups inability to practice every day like typical show choirs, the BUSC has yet to be able to set exact dates for their performances. Performances will  be held at student events, in Lilly Hall and the Reilly Room sometime during the spring semester.

The group also hopes to perform exhibitions at local high school show choir competitions in the Indianapolis area.

Until then, their focus will be on the perfection of the singing and dancing techniques.

“Show choir takes a lot of time and effort, unlike how it is portrayed in ‘Glee,’” Shoemaker said. “We must learn and perfect the music and dances, and since we aren’t meeting every day like a high school show choir, getting ready for a performance will take some time.

We are really excited for this opportunity to have a show choir at Butler.

“It has been one of my biggest goals since I came here, and it is finally happening! Prepare to be amazed!”

The show choir is headed by four executives:  President Eric Shoemaker, Vice-President Hali Bickford, Secretary Doug Smittle, and Treasurer Paige Newman. Keep a look-out for future performances.

While the call-out meetings may have already passed, it is not too late to get involved.

Auditions for BUSC will be held for the next few weeks. If you are interested in signing up  contact Shoemaker at eshoemak@butler.edu to set up an audition time.

The BUSC leaders will be choosing a group of about 30 men and women to perform.


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