HASTINGS, Minn. — A show choir competition is like nothing else.

On Saturday, Hastings High School hosted its annual competition, "Swingin' on the River." Groups from as far as Iowa and Nebraska traveled to the school for the event that began at 8 a.m. and ended with trophy presentations around 10:30 p.m.

During the 14-hour day, choirs rehearse, perform, receive critiques and feedback from judges, and then watch other groups sing and dance on stage.

At the end of the night the six highest-scoring AA choirs performed their sets again before a final ranking was announced.

"Innovation" from Johnston, Iowa, had one of the most impressive sets of the show choir competition. The group took home the second place trophy and the award for best vocals. Photo by Rachel Fergus/RiverTown Multimedia.
"Innovation" from Johnston, Iowa, had one of the most impressive sets of the show choir competition. The group took home the second place trophy and the award for best vocals. Photo by Rachel Fergus/RiverTown Multimedia.

Later in the day, the high school's auditorium continued to fill until the final competition began and there was nowhere for people to go. Audience members sat on the floor or stairs and stood against walls.

The front three rows were reserved for family and fans of the performing group so after each performance, people would move about looking for seats while weaving through the crowd to claim a chair in the front before they were all occupied. Once most people were again seated, students from the school that was about to perform did cheers and school chants as they waited for their group to begin.

Fans of the Bemidji High School choir ("Vocalmotive") brought signs to hold up like they were preparing to attend a sporting event.

Hastings High School has three show choirs: "Upstage Revolution," made-up of mostly underclassmen; "Dynamic Edition," an all-women's choir; and "Riverside Company," the varsity choir.

Hastings High School's varsity show choir did not compete in the Swingin' on the River contest that the school hosted, but the group did perform while judges tallied the final scores to find a winner. Photo by Rachel Fergus/RiverTown Multimedia.
Hastings High School's varsity show choir did not compete in the Swingin' on the River contest that the school hosted, but the group did perform while judges tallied the final scores to find a winner. Photo by Rachel Fergus/RiverTown Multimedia.

Each of these groups performed during Swingin' on the River but, as the school was the host, they did not compete.

Riverside Company performed as the judges tallied the final scores of the top six AA groups. When "10th Street Edition" from Marion, Iowa, was named the 2020 winner of Swingin' on the River, the members of Riverside Company gave each of 10th Street's members a medal and a trophy was presented to the group.