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Oceanside Sound-Off: What’s At Stake

One final major event lies between now and the end of show choir competition season. Oceanside Sound-Off is the final showdown of the West year after year, and how the competitors will be remembered for the season comes down to this. A lot has happened in the season so far, but the legacy of these groups and shows down will be determined by who gets the last laugh.

What’s at Stake:

These are our current California rankings going into the final week of competition. An asterisk denotes a group in attendance at Oceanside Sound-Off.

  1. John Burroughs "Powerhouse"*

  2. Los Alamitos "Sound FX"*

  3. Burbank "In Sync"*

  4. La Cueva "Underground"

  5. Glendora "Royal Stewarts"*

  6. Diamond Bar "Marquis"

  7. Hart "Sound Vibrations"

  8. John F. Kennedy "Executive Order"*

  9. Valley Vista "Vocal Thunder"*

  10. Chaparral "Platinum FX"*

On The Bubble: 

  • Bonita Vista "Music Machine"*

  • Carlsbad "Sound Express"*

  • Helix "HLX"*

  • Pacifica "Encore"

  • Oceanside "Soundwaves"

What do we have and what do we want from these competitors going into Oceanside?

John F. Kennedy Executive Order

What We’ve Got:

EO has had a very interesting season. They started off with a third place at Esperanza with losses to Hart Sound Vibrations and Glendora Royal Stewarts, while just edging out Diamond Bar Marquis. Since then Hart, Glendora, and Diamond Bar have competed against each other as well as other western titans and visitors. Executive Order, on the other hand, has since attended two competitions in where they've been the only group in division. These events even featured a combination the three groups ahead of them and a group below them in the advanced mixed 2 division. This has led to EO being left behind in the rankings, as they’ve had no chance to prove themselves against competitive groups since February.

What We Want:

Realistically it will be very tough (though not impossible) to beat Burbank, and that’s going be the only way they can make a big jump up the rankings. However, there are still victories to be had for EO. It would be very doable to beat In Sync in the division. Unless the scorecards get out, the show choir world will likely never know that it happened, but taking a win in either music or show from In Sync would be a huge win for the Kennedy program and likely their best case scenario on Saturday.

John Burroughs Powerhouse

What We’ve Got:

Powerhouse has been nothing short of perfect this season, with sweeps at all contests this year against premier competitors in Los Alamitos Sound FX, Troy Buchanan Express, and Chesterton Sandpipers. Powerhouse’s show is chock full of beautiful storytelling, costumes, and tech along with some of the most powerful vocals Powerhouse has produced and dynamic, technical, and clean choreography.

What We Want:

Powerhouse is far from out of the woods at Oceanside. Burbank or Los Alamitos could possibly take them down and spoil their perfect season. However, Powerhouse has a shot at glory at this event that’s very rare, especially considering the strength of the schedule they have this year. Powerhouse should be gunning for a division sweep, and thus a full-season sweep. But to go even further, Burroughs can feasibly have a full competition sweep to cap off an amazing season for the program. This would mean a Burroughs choir would win in every division they compete in. Is it likely? No, but if it were to ever happen, this would be the year.

Los Alamitos Sound FX

What We’ve Got:

Los Al got their first win of the season at John Burroughs Showcase last week. That’s right, one of the country’s greatest choirs this year with one of the strongest shows they’ve ever had, didn't pick up a victory until very recently. This is a testament to having one of (if not the singular) toughest schedules in the nation. The sweep against Burbank In Sync all but cements them a top-two finish, barring a big Burbank comeback. 

What We Want:

FX has their shot to take down the undefeated John Burroughs Powerhouse and if anyone can do it, it’s them. Even taking a caption from Powerhouse would be a big win for Los Al, but in order to take down the top spot in the rankings, they will have to go home first overall this weekend. A split win will give them a chance, and a sweep will surely propel Los Al to first in the final rankings.

Burbank In Sync

What We’ve Got:

It’s no secret that In Sync has had a disappointing season so far. They placed first at Hart Encore, but unexpectedly lost the showmanship caption to La Cueva Underground. They were swept by Los Alamitos at John Burroughs Showcase, and thus lost their streak of five straight musicianship captions. That being said, In Sync is still a fantastic choir with some of the best vocals in the country, and the door is wide open for a comeback.

What We Want:

Burbank should want to make a splash. Unless they win the competition, it’s unlikely that they’ll move up the rankings, but winning the musicianship caption or taking home a top-two spot would be a sweet victory for the struggling In Sync.

Glendora Royal Stewarts

What We’ve Got:

Glendora has had an amazing breakout season, including two wins. They had a small stumble at Hart Encore, albeit against the toughest competition they’ve faced, but have cemented themselves as a competitor in Tier 2 and are starting to be viewed as contender to eventually make the move to Tier 1 in advance.

What We Want:

Royal Stewarts unfortunately have everything to lose rankings-wise. They’re locked from moving up as they have no competition above them on the list. But with a win, Glendora will solidify themselves in the top 5.

Valley Vista Vocal Thunder

What We’ve Got:

At their first competition in Cali this year, VT took home 4th place in Tier 2 (officially 3rd place in Tier 2 “Large”) against some of the best California has to offer. Strong vocals will make them dangerous in the division for years to come. They also won at Boulder Creek's contest at home in Arizona.

What We Want:

To move up, Valley Vista is going to have to slay the Glendora giant. Their vocals will give them a real chance to take Royal Stewarts down, but it’s going to take a legendary performance.

Chaparral Platinum FX

What We’ve Got:

Despite a struggle early on in the year, PFX captured just their 4th division win in program history at Burroughs Showcase. This is also their first win after the pandemic and their first win outside of Brea Olinda’s competition.

What We Want:

Chaparral can solidify their positioning as 10th on the list with a third-place finish in their division behind Valley Vista Vocal Thunder and Glendora Royal Stewarts. Coming out on top over either of those groups could push them up a spot or two.

Tier II and III, The Fight For The Last Spot

With Chaparral Platinum FX in the driver's seat, Bonita Vista Music Machine, Helix HLX, Carlsbad Sound Express, Pacifica Encore, and the host Oceanside Soundwaves are all just on the outside looking in. Is there a path forward for anybody to sneak in at the very end of the season? Bonita Vista will get the spot with a 3rd place behind Valley Vista and Glendora. If Helix takes home second in Tier 2, the spot is theirs. If HLX grabs the third place spot, the ranking spot may go to one of the three intermediate mixed groups. Assuming Helix gets third in Tier 2, Carlsbad needs a sweep in Tier 3 to give themselves a fighting chance. If Carlsbad does not sweep the Tier 3 division and Helix wins third in Tier 2, then Pacifica Encore and Oceanside Soundwaves enter the conversation as well.

There's nothing left to do now except sit back and watch great shows hit the stage, then figure out where everybody stands after the dust settles.


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