Humans of JHS: Tyler Phi and Show Choir


Tyler Phi ‘24 was inspired to join the show choir after watching his cousin, a senior at the time, perform on stage. Despite having not taken choir in 6th grade and having no prior dance experience, Phi knew that show choir was what he wanted to do.

“So I kept going ever since 7th grade, and I wasn’t that good at singing or dancing, but I liked it,” Phi said.

Because Phi was less experienced than most of his peers, he spent the majority of his time in the back rows. Phi realized that this was not where he wanted to be. 

“I 100% had to work for it…  I was never in the front row. I was pretty booty. And then in 10th grade, I started to put a lot more effort in… I started to take it a little bit more seriously in order for me to be in the front row and get those opportunities,” Phi said.

According to Phi, he did not truly form a passion for show choir until he reached the high school level.

“At first I didn’t really care too much about dance and getting better because in 7th, 8th, and 9th grade the [choreography] was too simple for you to fall in love with dancing, but as it started getting harder and I started getting used to the motions and the music, It was fun to find my passion in that,” Phi said.

Once Phi reached that higher level, he began to really push himself so that he was able to put on the best performances possible.

“You have to do the most with every movement and put it all together. There shouldn’t be any throwaway moments, everything should be a moment,” Phi said.

This mindset was the driving force behind his improvement. Phi began taking each rehearsal seriously and practicing the material at home. He even started doing hip-hop classes in his junior year to further improve his skills.

Since then, Phi has built up quite the reputation in the show choir department as not just a great performer, but also a great leader.

“Yeah, they call me the G.O.A.T.,” Phi said.


Although he said this in a joking manner, many would tend to agree. This year, Phi was the Dance Captain for Innovation, the high school’s top Show Choir group, a position that Phi took very seriously.

“Oh my gosh, it’s a completely different Tyler,” said Phi’s friend and fellow show choir performer, Logan Jordan ‘24, “As a leader in the show choir and as a dance captain, he pushed everybody to be better… We all still had fun, but he was more worried about making sure that we were all focused, we were all paying attention, we were all doing everything we needed to do to compete at the highest level and win as much as we could.”

Phi’s leadership left quite the impact on the show choir department. He went beyond what was expected of him and helped every member of Innovation to be at their best. 

“Tyler is an extremely hard working student. He is a great leader to his peers. He motivates them by how he demonstrates his dancing and his singing, but also, he motivates them with his voice and in a nice way,” said JHS Show Choir Director, Laura Grimm.

Because Phi always pushed himself to be a great leader and dancer, students would often come to him when they needed help with the material and Phi would always find time outside of rehearsals to help them improve.

“I think the thing that I really appreciate about Tyler this year is that he is obviously an extremely talented dancer and all the kids looked up to him for his style and his strength. But it was when he would work with a kid that was struggling and come in early, one-on-one, and help them, and spend a lot of time with them to make them feel good about themselves,” Grimm said, “That was probably his best quality.”

Tyler Phi ’24 on stage with his little brother

No matter what Phi decides to focus on, he always pushes himself to be the best that he can be. Determination and effort are just in his nature.

“Anything Tyler chooses to do with his time he does it to the fullest. He does it as best he can. There’s no half effort with Tyler, it’s always full, whether it’s the gym, whether it’s show choir, whether it’s videogames, he just works so hard to be the best that he can at all of them,” Jordan said.

Jordan goes on to explain, “When he’s doing his sets, he’s one of the hardest workers in the gym. He always takes his sets to failure and then, in the gym, there are these things called partials that you do after you hit failure and they are like half reps. He always ends up doing like, ten of those after a full set to failure.”

Phi’s passion for physical fitness and Show Choir will carry on after high school. He will be attending the University of Iowa to double major in Exercise Science and Dance. 

No matter what Phi is doing, whether it be helping a student nail their set, spotting a buddy at the gym, or performing up on stage, he is always a kind, helpful, and supportive friend.

“He just makes me smile. On my worst days, I look at Tyler. He doesn’t even have to say anything and we just start laughing and it just cures my day and makes me feel better,” Jordan said.

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