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2024 Indianapolis Preseason Power Rankings

The end of winter break starts the tough preparations for show choir season. With groups close to being ready for their first comp and beginning to look towards their year goals, let’s start the season by seeing where the top ten mixed groups from the Indianapolis circuit stand going into this season.


1. Carmel Ambassadors

Ambassadors performing at Show Choir Camps of America (Carmel High School Choirs, 2023)


Winning a show choir competition is hard; out of the hundreds of groups that go out every weekend, only about 50 are able and prepared to win each year. The ability to win gets even more complicated when you are in the most competitive circuit in the country - it’s like going to a national comp every week. So what Carmel did last season with a perfect run should be considered one of the most excellent show choir seasons in Indianapolis history. Two of the five wins are especially notable, with the rest coming at easier comps. The best two came at Pike and Brownsburg, beating Franklin Central and Center Grove twice in a season, which is worth noting even without the other three wins. Going into this next season, the big question is 'can they do it again?' Without a question, they have the drive, and their director and choreographer haven’t changed, so it all comes down to the new group. What group they have is anybody’s guess; to win every week in Indianapolis is something they have done before, so it is possible to repeat. However, I believe this next year will lead them to return to earth and be in a closer fight with the rest of the Big Five. Do I believe they are still the favorites? Yes. Do I believe they will be invincible again? No. No one in Indy stays that way for long, but maybe Carmel has another gear no one can see.


2. Franklin Central FC Singers

FC Singers compete at Brownsburg (FC choirs, 2023)


In classic Indiana fashion, the group that is possibly the best vocal group in the country and a top-tier Tori Brindis group is in second place. While this is not because I do not think they deserve top-dog honors, FC ended the North Central domination of ISSMA and took a caption off Carmel last season along with a victory at Heart Of America Nashville in 2022. They remain deadly, as only Los Alamitos, Carmel, Linn-Mar and Clinton will be favored in front of them at any comp. Without a doubt, they will continue their excellence, but I have a slight lingering worry. Their last two seasons have looked very similar: set and choreo. They look almost the same. I am all for a winning formula, but do they have another trick to get over the hump and win every weekend? I can hear the argument questioning how this is a worry. You won three times in Indianapolis, why would you change? Simply because if you want to become the best, you have to evolve; if you do not want to wait for Carmel to have a down year, you must make an adjustment. Regardless of whether they stay the course or not, I see them in the middle of the Big Three and Power Five fight this year. This year will be a significant test with four of the five at Pike (Carmel, Center Grove, North Central, Franklin Central), again against North Central the following week at Center Grove, and then a showing on the national stage at Heart Of America Nashville. If they can come out with victories in two of those three competitions, I will call this season a step forward.


3. Center Grove Sound System

Center Grove Sound System Performs at Lafayette Jefferson (Nathan Ensley, 2023)


Putting Center Grove in third place feels very troubling, as a group that wins a national comp their last time out should not be third in their circuit. But this is Indianapolis, what are you going to do? They remain one of the best vocal groups in the country, and April James groups consistently win nationally. They are focused, and everything they do shines of professionalism and class. They will rebuild your stage in what should take 10 minutes in two and a half; that is the stuff that makes Center Grove a powerhouse. They are precise, they are exact. However, I think that’s not what Indy judges seem to love. They appreciate swagger and power to a point, like Carmel and North Central last year. Carmel found the sweet spot of cool and difficult to the point of being clean. North Central was cool, but simultaneously, the choreography could never satisfy the judging table. Center Grove, within the Indiana circuit, remains one of the main juggernauts that keeps this circuit as feared as it is, so will they come out next season and make that jump they need to go into the top spot? While they are in third, I believe they can make that jump eventually. It’s just, will the correct set and group will show up this year? Does that swagger and work come into the right window at the right time? Who knows, maybe 2024 is when that finally happens, and they take back the top spot this season, or not, regardless they will still be a force to be reckoned with and a likely favorite to win Show Choir Nationals, something Indiana hasn’t done since North Central in 2018.


4. Zionsville Royalaires

Zionsville competes at HOA Orlando (Zionsville Monthly Magazine, 2023)


Zionsville is interesting, as they are without a doubt still towards the top of this list. They remain above the rest of the field when they compete but have yet to display the ability to beat any of the top three after the pandemic. They remain incredibly talented, winning twice a year in the last two seasons and continuing to prove the circuit's dominance at Heart Of America Orlando last time out. So why rank them fourth? I have yet to see them take on one of the juggernauts and win. That was partially because their past year's set didn’t have the same muster as the previous years, but I wonder if that’s all it takes to drop you in a year. If you don’t have a set that is world-defining, you aren’t going to make it into that top three conversation. Who knows, maybe this year they will suddenly find the secret magic and run the table everywhere they go. Until that happens, I see them as another juggernaut who can win every time they go out, just maybe it’s a long shot at some of the more stacked comps.


5. North Central Counterpoints

Counterpoints perform at Show Choir Nationals (NC choirs, 2023)


The last two years for North Central have been weird. From everything I have heard, their shows are described as cool and fun; they win almost every year, they are only a few points behind Linn-Mar vocally at nationals, and then they lose at places like Avon or ISSMA State, where they have not the best showings on the judging table. So what is happening? In my opinion, they are still a staple of the Power Five in Indianapolis. When you put together four of the five at Pike, they remain without a doubt a part of what makes that comp insane. What must change to get them into that conversation for podium positions again consistently? They must stop having these strange showings where they drop super low at competitions at groups they should beat. I think it boils down to the choreo. The era of Jarad Voss and Tori Brindis was great for Counterpoints. I have no idea the change to Joe Sato was the culprit, but they still seem to be able to compete vocally, so I hope that whatever it is can change. North Central doesn't have a confirmed choreographer for 2024, so if there is a change, who they bring in will be massively important. With that adjustment, the sky is the limit, and I believe they can go back to consistently fighting with the top dogs in Indy. This year is a big test for them - if they can make noise at Pike and Center Grove and win where they are supposed to, maybe this is the year they regain that ability to win every week.


6. Fishers Electurm

Electrum competes at Franklin Central (Fishers Choirs, 2023)


Fishers is the type of group that exists only in Indianapolis. It is a top-tier group that consistently produces top talent and is well-regarded but also goes an entire season without a win on their sheet. This is partially because they compete in Indy every week without an easy-win opportunity on their slate most years. Despite not winning last year, this is an exciting era for Electrum; they remained in a tight battle with North Central but have been unable to get into that group of five with them. By comparison, Sound can push into that top tier, as it was the best womens choir in the Indy area two years ago. With director Tess Tazioli leaving for Naperville North, the question becomes 'how will the director change affect the program?' Only time will really tell what this new director brings to table, maybe new arrangers, choreographers, or even a reshuffle of where the groups were placed. I have no predictions honestly. Instead I will come back in a year - they could be up top, they could be near bottom, but that all depends on what the performers are given.


7. Brownsburg Spotlight Singers and Co.



Brownsburg Spotlight Singers and Company performing at ISSMA State (Parent Voice of Brownsburg, 2023


Brownsburg is another interesting group; they are one of the remaining Joe Sato groups in Indy and continue to have the trend of his groups - you either win or go broke. They had a fantastic soloist last year and have a history of excellence, so who knows, they might just find that again. They also tend to change rapidly. Their 2022 and 2023 show could not have been more different from the previous year. So while they continue to play in the upper crust right behind Fishers, I wonder what they have year in and year out. Are they able to be a consistent factor or will they jump in and out of these top spots? Who knows, they might just pull of a shocker here and there depending on where you place them on any given day. So Brownsburg remains an Indy group, top tier anywhere else, but fighting for wins when they can in the circuit.


8. Plainfield Belles Et Beaux

Plainfield Belles Et Beaux performing their 'Stranger Things' themed set at Ben Davis (Plainfield Choirs Facebook, 2023)


Plainfield is a group that seems to be heading up the food chain. While in years past, they remained a somewhat small part of the Indianapolis scene, they have begun to make waves at not just outer comps but also in main Indy comps. Their new director has made them a group that can win. With strong showings in the less crazy outer circuit of Indiana, they look poised to join the more competitive comps in the coming years. Though this will take some growing pains, they remain young and hungry but lack some of the fitness of the other groups. That is to be expected. I say give them time to find their legs - they have the drive and the passion to get where they want to go, they need time to figure out how to do that as a group and as a program.


9. Noblesville NHS Singers

NHS Singers performs at the Davenport Great River Show Choir Invitational (Quad City Times, 2023) 


 Noblesville benefits from being the only group on this list to have already competed; a strong showing at Beavercreek winning Best Vocals displays an improvement from where they were. Though this result is good, they don’t compete in the Indy circuit consistently enough to be judged against the top tier of this list. Loveland and Ross are great groups, but I would consider them just midfield contenders in Indy. This partially stems from the fact that they tend not to place very well in main Indy comps. They get wins in the outer circuit, then come in and get beat. It's not their fault; finding a comp in Indy on any given weekend is challenging without a national-level program. This is especially true this year, as many of the groups are branching out and going to different comps. However, they can make noise nationally this year and prove me wrong. Noblesville can go to Show Choir Nationals and display how competitive Indy is compared to other circuits. Though their last national appearance left much to be desired at the end of the season, they remain a talented and well-versed group with plenty of opportunities this year; maybe this is the year they join the other major groups in Indy. Until then, we will have to wait and see.


10. Avon Accents

Avon Accents compete at Ben Davis (AHS Choir Department, 2023)


Avon is a weird one. They did very well last season, but that makes sense because they never entered the primary Indy circuit. Even though they were around many comps, they seemed to play to the smaller ISSMA venues and picked up some easier wins where other groups faced each other at a different place on the same weekend. Yes, I hear the second place at State, but that competition was more of an exception than a rule. Avon is probably just proof of it. If they can do what they did at state consistently in the primary circuit, I will gladly move them up, but until then, I believe this is where they are best placed.


Where will each choir shake out? Keep checking back on HomeRoom Show Choir throughout the season for in-depth analysis.


 


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