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Oak Harbor's Glee: New show choir inspired by TV show

Like William Schuester, right, (played by Matthew Morrison) on the television show
Like William Schuester, right, (played by Matthew Morrison) on the television show 'Glee,' Darren McCoy, left, is launching a show choir at Oak Harbor High School. The course will begin this fall.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Fox Broadcasting Co./Carin Baer

Fans of Fox’s breakout hit “Glee” can soon get their fill of wholesome, group sing-alongs live in town.

The program, which premiered to big ratings in 2009, partly inspired the idea for a new show choir at Oak Harbor High School.

The class was approved Monday night at a school board meeting.

“It will be like ‘Glee,’ but a realistic portrayal of show choir,” 25-year-old choir teacher Darren McCoy said.

For example, students probably won’t be able to sing a perfect four-part harmony after glancing at the sheet music, McCoy said. Or pick up choreography in a matter of minutes.

But similar to the show, students will combine dance, acting and singing.

“The show is really a recruitment tool,” McCoy said.

For those new to the sitcom, “Glee,” follows a group of likable misfits as they aspire to win at sectionals. They reprise pop songs by artists such as Journey and Kanye West, and the club starts to feel like a home.

Before the process for a new class started, McCoy said he was often questioned about a “Glee-type” club.

“Students asked, ‘Do you have anything like this? Why not?’” McCoy said.

McCoy cultivated the idea, and thought a show choir might attract incoming middle school students who, right now, only have a small interest in singing, he said.

While glee clubs traditionally perform Broadway tunes, Oak Harbor’s show choir will include pop and jazz. If it’s popular with the teens, McCoy said it will probably grow his other choir courses.

“My goal is to get people interested in music into choir. If they want to do more complicated, emotionally mature music, there’s classical choir,” he said.

Today, “Glee” is still a new cultural phenomenon. Show choirs are not an established art form in the West, McCoy said, and there are no contests in Washington state.

Oak Harbor’s show choir will also be more of an outlet for the performing arts, rather than a course expected for aspiring music majors, he added.

School board member Dave McCool said he liked the idea, “As long as it can be done without the drama in ‘Glee,’” he joked.

In a later interview, McCoy said he expects a drama-free year, unlike his TV show choir counterpart, teacher Will Schuester.

“I won’t have to worry about a wife getting pregnant or a crazy P.E. teacher,” he said, referring to the show’s tyrannical cheerleading coach who is determined to destroy the Glee club.

He also can’t breakdance or beatbox like Schuester, but said he does have a few dance moves. However, McCoy will leave the show choir choreography to a professional.

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