New director reflects on Music & More

More than 1,000 youth in 17 show choirs converged on Wapakoneta High School on Saturday to take part in the annual Music & More show choir competition.

“It’s all about the kids,” first-time director Tim Smith said. “Nothing is as inspiring and energizing as working with kids.”

“Music & More is a chance for the students to come on stage, showcase all of he hard work they have put into their show and be cheered on by a full house of audience members,” he said.

Smith, who heads seven choirs for Wapakoneta middle and high schools, including the show choir, Singsation, and the spring musical, described the day as just as crazy as he thought it might be, but said he enjoyed it as much as the students involved.

Pursuing a music degree in college, who studied cello and was a member of the orchestra before that, he had never been part of something like this when he was in high school, although he had experience directing performances, programs and choirs while in college at Ohio Northern University.

“What I love most about it is the kids absolutely love it,” said Smith, who also really enjoys music.

He said he likes working with youth in this capacity so much he couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

“Jazz hands and sparkle jokes aside, the show choir community is a big family and very supportive of each other,” Smith said.

Plans for the event, in its 13th year, start almost as soon as the previous year’s competition ends and get more serious in the summer, with biweekly meetings beginning in January. More than 100 volunteers assist in planning and helping throughout the day.

“Wapak’s role is to facilitate every aspect of the day for the competing schools,” Smith said.

Parents spent countless hours organizing to make sure every last detail was taken care of and their interaction began when each school arrived and they were greeted by a student host, who guided the group and catered to their needs throughout the day. Other volunteers served food, worked the doors, sold programs, and ran judge’s scores, among many other tasks.

The day before the competition, students, volunteers and Smith worked from after school until late into the night making preparations and then arrived again in the early morning hours Saturday to be ready for the first school’s arrival at 6 a.m. and stayed until all the rooms were cleaned early Sunday morning.

“It makes for long days, but hosting a competition like this is good for the community,” Smith said. “If it weren’t worth it, we wouldn’t do it.”

He said in a typical year, Music & More can raise between $5,000 and $15,000 depending on the number of schools. With 12 schools bringing 17 choirs to the competition this year, Smith said it is one of the biggest event’s they have hosted in close to a decade.

All 17 choirs competed in the daytime competition, with the top six advancing to the final evening competition. The choirs came from local areas like Ada and Kenton, from all across Ohio, as well as Indiana and West Virginia. The group traveling the farthest to attend was from Albertville, Ala. They brought 100 students and is ranked one of the top show choirs in the nation.

“This is far and away the largest fundraiser that our show choir does annually,” Smith said.

Money raised goes into the Wapakoneta Choral Music Society Boosters fund, and is put toward costumes for Singsation, a four-year trip, and other expenses for the district’s choirs.

“I have to thank the (school) board and community,” Smith said. “It’s not me making this happen, it’s the parents.”