Saturday, July 04, 2009

Ending the day on a high note

The impromptu singing by the pool continues.

Brandon and Benjamin stayed for a while enjoying the singing, but then went to change into their swimsuits, and are now back ready to swim. They remind me that they want me to swim with them. I’m reluctant to leave the fun, but I eventually go change.

Of course, when I return and get in the pool, we swim over to the deep end, next to the VM guys, so I can continue singing along from the water. Now this is living!

The pool may be a tad warmer than when we swam on our first night here – only four nights ago, but it seems like a month! – but not much, so before long I head for the Jacuzzi. The singing’s winding down a bit now.

The boys and I enjoy a good, hot soak. “Soaring” VM front row man Charles Kennedy – he’s the one who gets lifted high in the air while Jim Clancy walks under him at the end of “Sweet Georgia Brown” – joins us, and I introduce him to Brandon and Benjamin. He’s a fellow “still-a-rookie,” like me. In fact, he and I qualified on the same night back in June 2007, and we both performed for the first time with VM on the Denver International stage.

I always find it interesting how different guys came to barbershopping in general, and to the Vocal Majority in particular, and Charles has one of the most interesting stories. He actually came to the VM through a Google search for “dallas choruses” – he was looking for a place to sing. He’d never heard, or even heard of, the VM, so he came to a rehearsal and got hooked on the sound.

I’m curious if the lift he performs is scary or fun. “A little scary at first, but now it’s a blast,” he says. I tell him that if he ever gets tired of getting vaulted up, I’d be willing to take over for him – all 300+ lbs. of me! He laughs and says I’ll have to get in line – two other hefty men in the chorus have already made the same offer.

It’s almost 9:30, and the crowd of VM guys has gone at last. This is the Fourth of July, so the boys and I want to make it back to the room to watch the Disneyland fireworks again. We tell Charles good night and head upstairs.

We see my mom and Aunt Kay in the hallway outside our room – they’ve returned early from the Quartet Finals, leaving my dad and uncle there. They tell me something pretty amazing – the Ambassadors, in their trophy acceptance speech, spent a good deal of their time talking about the number two chorus: the VM. Wow.

First Director Jim Henry and then Associate Director and arranger extraordinaire David Wright heap gratitude and praise on Jim Clancy and the Vocal Majority for all the help VM has given the Ambassadors over the years to help them reach the level they are at now, and for the way VM has applauded and encouraged them after their win. That’s… pretty classy, and unprecedented for a winning chorus to spend some of their precious time talking about another group. I like and respect them even more.

The fireworks begin soon after we get into the room, and they are spectacular. My spirits are high once again as I relax on the balcony and watch shell after amazing shell explode over Walt’s Magic Kingdom. The only thing better would be if I could hear the music.

Wait... is that...? I do hear music!

Drifting up from the parking lot below is the familiar a capella pulsing of “Stars and Stripes Forever”! Turns out that most of the VM guys from the pool haven’t called it quits, they’ve just moved to the parking lot on the Disneyland side of the hotel so they can watch the fireworks and continue singing! (And also entertain this side of the hotel in the process!)

I love this chorus, this hobby. This brotherhood.

When the fireworks are over, we turn in for the night. Disneyland tomorrow!

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