Five Minutes with Student Tech Crew Manager Richie Barnwell


Amanda Frantz '23

Richie Barnwell ‘24 poses for a photo at the Gaylord Opryland Convention Center in Nashville, TN for the Heart of America Showcase choir competition on March 11, 2023.

Amanda Frantz '23, Supervising Photographer

As competition season draws to a close, South’s show choirs have amassed many awards, from Best Male Performer to overall first place at the Walsh Jesuit Great Lakes Invitational.

Among these accolades is the Best Crew award from the Solon Show Choir Invitational, which came as a pleasant surprise to Student Crew Manager Richie Barnwell ‘24.

“I was just thinking, ‘There’s a Best Crew award, but we probably won’t get it,’” Barnwell said. “Then we did a week later. I wasn’t expecting that at all.”

Barnwell said he first began volunteering behind the scenes last year by helping parent volunteers with sewing projects when not on stage with the South Singers.

“I needed a button on my shirt fixed and the costume moms obviously had bigger things to fix than a button, so I just started sewing,” Barnwell said. “During intermission, I would go back and help sew, and that’s how it was. Every day before the show, I would go and help sew.”

One thing led to another and Barnwell said he began helping with technical aspects of this year’s show choir competition shows. As student crew manager, he has traveled with both choirs to two regional competitions in Ohio, and most recently to the national Heart of America Showcase in Nashville, TN.

“(Competition) has been chaotic,” Barnwell said. “The week in between Solon and Heart of America was a lot. I think tech weeks are definitely more intense than that, but it was a lot of mental preparation.”

Along with the rest of the crew, consisting of South performers not presently on stage, Barnwell arranged set and band pieces and orchestrated costume changes, some of which happened in a matter of seconds.

“Working with everyone has been great,” Barnwell said. “It’s easy to manage (crew) because people trust each other and trust that I know what I’m doing.”