BURLINGTON — Burlington High School’s show choir, B*Jazzled, hosted the third annual Chocolate City Showcase on Saturday, including 11 competing high school and middle school teams from throughout Wisconsin and the Midwest.
The singing and dancing routines performed at the showcase may have reminded audience members of the television show “Glee.” But students in B*Jazzled say the series is far from reality.
“ ‘Glee’ gives show choirs the reputation that they can just break out in song or the entire choir can just randomly start singing with each other. It’s not really like that,” said senior Ross Canales.
Hannah Anderson, a junior in her third year with B*Jazzled, said the group practices for 2½ hours, twice a week.
Prior to Saturday, members of B*Jazzled had an 8-hour weekend practice to finalize their routine. They did so despite only performing, as the host school does not compete, according to show choir rules.
Despite not thinking the show is a good example of what it’s like to perform and compete in a show choir, Canales said he doesn’t mind being compared to the show.
“Singing-wise, people say we sound a lot like ‘Glee’ — which ‘Glee’ sounds awesome, they sound great,” he said. “But as a whole show, it isn’t a very good comparison because it makes people expect us to be perfect all of the time.”
Unlike the actors in “Glee,” members of B*Jazzled don’t get to do a second take if they miss a step or forget the words.
“We fall and trip a lot; high heels are hard to dance in,” said Anderson with a laugh.
The students did recognize something they said the television show accurately portrays: The close relationship between students and their show choir director, Penny Yanke. Yanke also teaches chorus at Burlington High School.
“I think we have an amazing relationship with Ms. Yanke,” said sophomore Zach Morrow. “I think she’s kind of become like our second mom.”
“If you need extra help, she’s going to clear her schedule to help you,” said senior Jorge Escobar. “She’s helped me a lot.”
There is another similarity B*Jazzled and “Glee” have in common: teenage romance.
According to Escobar and Morrow, Canales and Anderson’s relationship is similar to that of Glee characters Finn and Rachel. The two actually met each other at Burlington’s show choir banquet her freshman year, and were partners for most of Saturday’s performance.
The students in B*Jazzled said these positive relationships extend outside of their school to other area show choirs.
They agreed that they don’t feel like they are competing against other show choirs, but rather competing with them.
“We know what schools stand out and what schools are at the top of their game right now, and we’re working to be as good, if not better, than them,” Canales said.
“We set the bar with the other schools; we don’t set rivalries against them.”