“How interesting!” And “Seems about right.”

Two of the thoughts that might go through your head upon learning Firespringer Natalie Johnson spends the majority of her annual volunteer time supporting the Lincoln Southwest Show Choir.

Firespring’s director of marketing acquisition just has that outgoing-and-organized kind of vibe—not to mention the whole “being a mom of a high schooler” thing—that makes you believe she’d be right at home planning a show choir competition.

Specifically, for the past two years, Natalie’s been helping to coordinate volunteer activities for Lincoln Southwest High School’s biggest music department fundraiser, “Southwest Showdown.”

The annual event invites more than a dozen high school choirs, hundreds of volunteers and around 4,000 spectators from Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota for a day’s worth of singing, dancing, fun-fueled competition.

Natalie—whose daughter, Abbi, is in her second year of show choir at Southwest—is responsible for recruiting, coordinating and managing the hundreds of volunteers it takes to make the whole thing sing.

“I love show choir and the community around it,” Natalie said. “It’s an atmosphere unlike any other. Ask any show choir parent; we all cheer for each other’s teams. The unconditional support and love surrounding the kids is fantastic.”

Last year’s event, she said, lasted 14 hours and welcomed over 500 performers. It took over 200 volunteers to manage ticket sales, sign-up, logistics, guest services—and even a full cafeteria serving breakfast, lunch and dinner to students and guests hungry from experiencing so much glee.

“The smiles exchanged are worth the weeks of effort and the stress of piecing together a giant puzzle of volunteers. Knowing we’re all there for the same goal is amazing,” said Natalie.

The next Southwest Showdown will take place in February 2024. But supporting local music education, she says, should happen all year long.

“Music departments at every school need funding, volunteers and other support. If music education is important to you, please find a way to support it.”

Stay in touch with the Firespringer Feature to learn how more of us use our annual volunteer hours!