One year ago (June 14th to be exact), I passed my final review with the Vocal Majority chorus and became "riser qualified" -- that is, able to perform with the group in public. Hey, rehearsing is fun and amazing by itself, but nothing beats getting in front of an appreciative crowd. And so far, every audience we've had has been extremely appreciative.
So I've now done a full year's worth of show series -- Fall, Christmas, and Spring -- plus many other individual shows; I've been a part of one new CD and will be starting to record the next one tonight; I've sung with the group at an international convention before 9,000 people; and I've had a full year of camaraderie with some of the greatest guys on the planet.
But with time comes experience, and with experience comes wisdom. Theoretically. But wisdom does not lead to this...
From the great minds at the Wombat Institute for Socio-Economic Research and Short-Order Cooking School:
Top Nine things I've learned after a year of performing with the Vocal Majority:
9. Making up your own harmony line is strongly discouraged.
8. Same with choreography.
7. Collectively the members have so many gold medals, you can regularly find them left in dressing rooms, bathroom stalls, window sills... (The medals, not the members.)
6. Jim Clancy's mantra is true: Hard work is fun when improvement is evident! Seriously, I love how the group is on the top of the world for this type of chorus, yet is never satisfied and always working to get better.
5. Part of the key to performing in a world-class group like this is to look like you always know what you're doing, even if inside you're terrified that you aren't sure of the notes. Or words. Or moves...
4. Body shapes may change over time, but costumes do not always adjust to match. (Lose weight, Brad!)
3. Being in a group like this is just the right amount of "fame" for me -- enough that I occasionally get recognized, or fawned over when people learn I'm in the VM, but not so much that it disrupts my life.
2. There is still NO number two -- not since 1978. (The chorus has won every competition it's been in in the past thirty years -- 31 separate competitions in a row!)
And the number one thing I've learned after a year of performing with the Vocal Majority:
1. Rookies are the backbone of the organization. I will hold to this belief firmly, until I win my own gold medal and no longer am one.