The Sheraton has a dinner restaurant, the Overland Stage Express, that opens at 5:00. We don’t want a rushed meal, so we meet in the hallway at 4:45 and head downstairs. We arrive before the doors are unlocked, but there is a menu posted outside. They’ve got some expensive barbecue, but more reasonable sandwiches and salads. I spot a “Prime Rib Beef Dip” sandwich that looks pretty good.
Once the restaurant is open, we’re seated quickly. The restaurant gets busy in a matter of minutes, and at least half of the tables are of Vocal Majority guys. So, I’m not the only one with this meal idea. I’m seeing a lot of the guys here for the first time, which is not too surprising given that many of them weren’t arriving until today. Many of the guys are in their new black and blue VM shirts. I haven’t yet changed back into mine.
Service is still pretty fast and reasonable given the crowd, and we finish eating within an hour. My “prime rib dip” sandwich is wonderful. I feel a bit stuffed, and hope I didn’t overdo things when I’ll be up and moving on the risers this evening. Ah, well. I have an hour to digest.
The ballrooms that the VM will be using are on the way back from the restaurant to our rooms, so we stop by. I’ve been told by veteran members that our rehearsals at International can be filled with spectators, and we want to be sure our family has seats.
As it turns out, we have two moderately large ballrooms side-by-side. One, which has our risers and lots of chairs, we find is actually in use by another chorus, the Midwest Vocal Express, until 6:30. The other room has all of our racks of tuxedos and lots of chairs around the perimeter, and will be our dressing room.
The VM front row guys are gathering for an early rehearsal in the dressing room. The front row does all the of the really energetic choreography and acrobatics, while those of us on the risers do similar moves along with them without dancing around so much – the easier for us to sing well. It makes for a great overall visual experience.
We on rows 2 through 5 still put a ton of energy into our performance, but it pales in comparison to the front row. They bust their tails with every run-through of the songs (and sometimes break bones). Every time I’m feeling overworked on the risers, I just watch them for a while and am reminded how thankful I am that I’m not one of them!
Becky and her parents are going to wait here until the rehearsal room is available to get good seats. Brandon, Benjamin and I go back to the room briefly. I change into the VM travel shirt, take some pre-emptive Tylenol, and we head back downstairs.
Time for the VM California Gold Rush to begin.