Friday, July 03, 2009


After the Ambassadors finish their set, VM members stream into the corridor of the Honda Center.

My family and I do likewise. With apologies to the next chorus to perform, the men of the VM are finding themselves drawn to each other to try to put what we just saw in context.

The opinions are varied, some still giving us a definite edge, others cautiously expressing that that performance of the Ambassadors “just might do it.” No one, though, is certain any more.

Me? I’m remembering Jim Clancy’s words to us yesterday: “If there is a chorus that can beat you, I want to be there to see that performance.” I fear that I’ve just witnessed the performance that can beat us.

We come across VM front row man and fellow rookie J.R. Leath. He is much more blunt in expressing his fear for our revised medal chances: “I’m just looking for a place to throw up.”

I try to remain positive, but I am definitely unsettled now. One thing is absolutely certain – the Ambassadors put on a heck of a show, an amazing, superlative, wildly entertaining show. At the very least, if the VM beats them on points, we may have an audience revolt – they were that good. And if the Ambassadors win the gold medal, as much as my pride is dreads that possibility, they will have earned it.

We return to our seats, and the mood in the “VM wedge” of seats a couple of sections to my left is decidedly less positive now.

The last few choruses perform in a blur. Then it’s time for what’s sure to be a spectacular show: the Masters of Harmony “swan song,” where last year’s champion performs and “sings away the trophy” while the contest results are tabulated. They’re spectacular as well, and their finale song, a new composition – called “The Dream is Passed,” I think? – starts with the Masters, adds in one champion quartet (that I don’t recognize, sorry), then adds OC Times, then the men of the Westminster chorus. It’s a smashing finale to the whole event. I’m ready for the results, but I’m again thankful that the Masters aren’t competing this year.

Okay, here we go. The medalists are announced, from fifth to first place.

“In Fifth Place, with 2706 points, for an average score of 90.2” – wow, that’s already high for a fifth place score – “Toronto, Ontario, The Northern Lights!” Cool.

“In Fourth Place, with 2744 points, an average score of 91.5, Denver Mile High, the Sound of the Rockies!” I’m happy for them. They’re a perennial contender and always put on a great show.

“In Third Place, with 2764 points, an average score of 92.1, Hilltop, Minnesota, the Great Northern Union!” Um, who? Becky and I look at each other. She doesn’t remember them either. (Turns out they performed last in the first session, and neither of us saw them perform. Sorry, GNU, and congratulations! Guess you were good!)

Okay, all of this has been prelude. This next one’s the one that counts, the one that will tell us the overall results. All of our work comes down to this.

“In second place, with a score of 2889 points” – the crowd gasps – this is a new record high – “…an average of 96.3 points…” – wow – “…

“…Dallas Metro, The Vocal Majority!

The entire arena goes berserk.

I sink into my chair.

Second place.

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