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Laura J. Gardner | The Journal Gazette

Carroll grads start mag on show choirs

Song In Motion targets students, administrators

Baker
Morris

Until recently, scanning magazine racks for a publication devoted to the tears, taffeta and jazz hands of show choir was a fruitless endeavor. This summer, two Carroll High School graduates set out to change that.

In June, Ryan Morris, a 2001 graduate, and Dan Baker, who graduated in 1995, released the first issue of Song In Motion, a bimonthly show choir-themed magazine. Featuring a cover photo of a sequin-clad Lauren Fiechter, a member of Norwell High School’s Knight Moves, the magazine’s inaugural issue covered topics as varied as costumes, choreography and health and fitness tips.

“We covered a lot in that first issue,” Morris says. “The idea is to have a balance of articles directed toward administrators – articles about practice schedules, choreography and music – but also throw in some stuff to keep the students interested. This is the only show choir magazine right now, so it’s got to appeal to everyone involved.”

Each issue devotes a few pages to pop culture, too, Morris says, including a review of the NBC musical drama “Smash” and an interview with Joe Aaron Reid, the star of “Ghost: The Musical,” currently running on Broadway.

“Show choir is a unique activity because, unlike football or orchestra, there is no professional show choir,” Morris says. “If you want to make a career out of performing, it’ll be in theater or another venue. One of the things we want to do in the magazine is to show the students the career paths that are possible.”

Neither Morris nor Baker is a stranger to the world of show choir. Both were members of Minstrel Magic at Carroll. Baker, who was assistant director during Morris’ senior year, is now the choir director at Northridge High School in Middlebury. But it wasn’t until two years ago that they decided to work together on the magazine.

“We’d both been mulling it over in our head independently,” Morris says. “It was great because we didn’t have differing visions of the magazine. We were on the same page from the beginning.”

Timing was another factor, Morris says. Shows such as “Glee” are increasing interest in show choirs. Despite cutbacks, show choir groups are beginning to form at schools in Canada, England and Malaysia. If magazines such as Miniature Donkey Talk and Art Doll Quarterly are able to find an audience, why not a magazine about show choir?

“ ‘Glee’ has put the arts back in the spotlight,” Morris says. “It’s great to hear so many stories about choirs that are finding their way, even when the money isn’t necessarily there. In the Midwest, we take show choir for granted, but, to much of the rest of the country and the world, it is a new phenomenon. We’re glad to be a part of it.”

You can’t find Song in Motion on magazine racks yet. A one-year subscription for $14.97 is available only at the magazine’s website, www.songinmotion.com. Electronic versions will be available in the near future, Morris says.

“We’re just beginning, but we’re getting better with each issue,” he says. “It’s just going to continue to grow.”

edowns@jg.net

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