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Brimming with 'Glee'

Updated: January 13, 2011 11:50AM



T he concept of the high school show choir has been boosted to ultra-cool heights on "Glee," a hit television series on the Fox network. On a local front, the actual reality of that kind of student group is presented in the documentary "show/choir," which details the joys and tribulations of competition season for the Chesterton High School Sandpipers -- a male-and-female ensemble.

"I think that the spirit of the kids and how much they care about working together as a group is a big part of what comes through," said 27-year-old Marissa Flaxbart, director of the unique movie, which gets its premiere Friday at the Chesterton High School auditorium.

While high school sports test a student's fortitude, Flaxbart assured that show-choir competitions are also intense: "There's a lot of pressure there."

Headed for entry in certain film festivals, "show/choir" follows the ups and downs of the push for glory by the Sandpipers during the 2005-06 academic year.

The Drifters -- Chesterton High's all-girl show choir -- are also represented in the film.

A 2001 graduate of Chesterton High School, Flaxbart was a member of both the Sandpipers and Drifters.

As much as anything, "show/choir" is about youthful, unbridled optimism -- and the can-do attitude.

"I hope it gets across the message that anybody can achieve anything that they want," said Christopher Brush, choral director at Chesterton High School.

Brush also serves as programming director for the Duneland Performing Arts Series, which is presenting Friday's showing of Flaxbart's documentary.

Its running time is in the neighborhood of two hours.

Now a Chicago resident, Flaxbart edited "show/choir," which utilized 2002 Chesterton High grad Cole Murray as director of photography.

Murray was also in the Sandpipers, which calls on teens to mix in dancing skills with vocal prowess.

Flaxbart and Murray went to classes and competitions to document the goings-on of show choir members for their documentary, which radiates the gusto of young performers who exemplify "the power and potential of music programs all over the country," according to a press release touting the film.

Flaxbart, it seems, was a little ahead of the times.

She captured the let's-put-on-a-show fervor of high school performers that "Glee" made wildly popular by modernizing the glee-club concept.

" 'Glee' didn't exist when I shot the movie," Flaxbart related. Although not officially rated, "show/choir" probably falls in the area of a PG classification (parental guidance suggested).

That's Flaxbart's assessment.

"I bleeped out the only curse word in the movie," the director said. Documentary captures emotions of show-choir world at Chesterton High Who helped the directorof "show/ choir" with the film-



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