PERU - The recording industry has long frowned upon lip synching, but in the Peru Central School District, it's become an art form.
Students have been mouthing the words to some of their favorite songs for the past 25 years, said teacher Diane Menard, one of the founders of Lip Sync, a Peru Middle School/High School talent show. Menard and former Peru Central teacher Laura Marlow were co-producers of the event in 1985, seeing hundreds of acts performed over the years.
"It's always been a free-for-all for music," said Menard. "We used to make it a competition and have three winners in the high school and three in the middle school, but then, over the last few years, some of the kids thought they should win every year and if they didn't they got upset."
The solution? Making it more of a talent showcase than a competition.
"Now, we recognize all the seniors who participate with a trophy with their name on it and, in May, we have a pizza party for everyone who participated in the show," said Menard, adding underclassmen also receive a medal and certificate of participation. "Everybody comes away a winner," she said.
There's much preparation for a show of this magnitude, said Menard.
Especially since this year's theme is music from the 1950s and '60s - an era which none of the students or some of their parents were even around for when it happened.
When students learned of the theme, Menard said some felt clueless. However, she brought in samples of music to help bridge that connection and make some students realize they had heard that music before - just not in the same way.
An example, said Menard, is how one act will consist of a performance of by The Lovin' Spoonful's "Do You Believe in Magic" - with a slightly different twist.