The song is a blur of action, and we can tell that the audience is eating out of the palm of our hands – I can actually hear gasps and other sounds in response to some of our moves. At one point early in the song, though, I give a thought to the presence of the judges in the pit below us, and allow myself to get distracted enough that I’m a split-second late on a move. It’s very minor in the grand scheme of things, probably completely unnoticed by anyone, and I do not let it show on my face, but inside I’m kicking myself. At this level of performance, every little bit can help or hurt, and I don’t want to cost the chorus even a fraction of a point.
We finish strong – the song flies by, as competitions always do – and we’re done. The audience response is phenomenal. Wow!
The curtains close in front of us, and Jim gives us the signal to break. Yay! We celebrate quietly as we file off the risers and down the stairs stage left. We still cannot talk, but the smiles and back claps say it all – we did what we came to do.
The chorus is led through the underground hallways around to a set of elevators and stairs to take us back to the main level. We’ve been instructed that we don’t stick around the Honda Center after the performance, but rather take the regular convention buses back to the hotel to change. Still, the path to the buses takes me past the section where my family’s seats are, so I duck in and surprise them.
They shower me with accolades, and I soak it in. We’ve put in a lot of work to get to this point, and it’s all over now but the judging.
I bid the family goodbye for now, saying I may return for the remainder of Session One, and head for the buses.
Along the way many different people see the VM tuxedo and approach me with compliments for the group. Several of them are almost speechless, but just want to make some contact, any contact with a Vocal Majority member. Others don’t approach, but just break into applause as I and other VM guys walk past. Wow. I’m loving it, soaking it all in, trying to enjoy every moment of the adulation. (Rock star!)
I see Tony DeRosa and Greg Clancy talking in the hallway. They’re all smiles. I take that as a good sign.
Since we’re taking the regular buses, we have to join the line outside. Apparently a significant number of the audience members came to hear the VM and then left – they’ve beat us to the line. Add to that the 140+ chorus members, and we have a bit of a wait ahead of us. Still, it’s a good time to visit with the other guys and enjoy our accomplishment.
A face I think I should find familiar walks by down the line, repeated telling the members of VM waiting there, “Incredible job, guys.” Only after he’s past do I recognize him as “Awesome” Joe Connelly, three-time quartet gold medalist and barbershop superstar. That’s a guy whose compliments really carry some weight!
One of the Masters of Harmony guys is helping to manage the bus line, and he admits to abandoning his post and coming inside to the arena to hear the VM perform. His verdict? “I’m just glad we’re not competing this year.”
I reply without hesitation, “We’re glad you’re not competing this year!” Smiles all around.
It’s done. I can’t believe it’s done.
Now we just have to wait ten hours or so for the contest results.