I really can't fully explain what is happening here. Last night's Vocal Majority rehearsal was a rough one for me physically -- it began with my first hour-long rookie choreography lesson at 6:00, followed by the regular 3-1/2 hour practice, standing on risers the whole time as usual. At the 10-minute break, when I'd normally go sit and rest my feet, I was instead chasing down the signatures I need as a new member (as I contact the various people responsible for adding me to the roster, getting me on the member email list, getting me a name badge ordered, etc.). Add to that tearing down the risers at the end of practice (my job as long as I am a rookie), plus the fact that I hadn't eaten before coming to rehearsal (never again!), and then standing around for 15-20 minutes afterwards just singing some impromptu barbershop with a few of the guys (fun!), I was on my feet for all but about 5 minutes out of 5 hours! I was really hurting by the end of it all last night...
...and yet this morning I feel great. I can't explain it -- but I love it!
I am officially a member of the Vocal Majority now. I've completed all five steps of "phase one" -- passing the audition, being signed off by director Jim Clancy, checking in with the "Rookie Coordinator," being approved by the Board of Directors (I was interviewed at their meeting on Monday night), and submitting my membership application and dues. Phase two consists of ten administrative steps, including getting assigned an official position on the risers, getting my own copies of music and practice CDs, and the various sign-ups mentioned above. Phase two also includes the choreography and vocal training, and learning the VM's entire current repertoire, with emphasis on fifteen or so "core songs." When I am ready (meaning perfect or darn near close, from what I gather!), I will have a qualification audition. Only when I pass that will I be able to perform with the group.
There were several really enjoyable moments for me last night, not least of which was being able to sit on the risers as a member during the "halftime" announcements, rather than stepping down to be introduced as a guest. I also witnessed, for the first time, some members become riser-qualified. Five or six guys were pulled out during rehearsal for their qualifying attempt, and apparently they are not told at the time whether they passed. At the end of rehearsal, directors Jim and Greg Clancy stepped forward with an announcement, and Greg held out a small, dark blue velvet drawstring bag. The guys in the group starting getting excited for this -- I of course was clueless as to what was going on at first. Greg announced a man's name and held out the bag to him, and the rest of the group cheered wildly as he stepped out to claim it. I figured out at that point that he had qualified, but I had to ask a veteran member what was in the bag.
It contained his cuff links, for the new performance tuxedo he will soon be wearing.
Two other men were announced in the same manner. Also, two others passed their initial audition, so I am no longer the newest member.
One final note (A#?)... One thing about I've learned about the group made me laugh. I knew when I joined I'd be considered a "rookie" for a while, and have extra set up/tear down responsibilities. What I didn't know was how long I'd be a rookie. I thought maybe until I passed the qualifying audition, or maybe for a full year. Wrong. The group is so accustomed to winning the international gold medal every three years that new members are rookies until they "get their own gold medal" -- in other words, until they are a part of the group when they next win! (I was specifically told it doesn't count if I just steal someone else's!) So... it looks like I'm a rookie until the summer of 2009!