One of the first VMers I see in the rehearsal room is Mickey Bonesio. “Bones” is a great guy, a fellow attorney, and stands immediately to my left on the back row of the risers. He also happens to have been with the chorus since the early days, and has all eleven gold medals with the Vocal Majority.
“Do you have a gold medal to wear?” he asks. I do not – the man on the other side of me on the risers had said he’d supply one for me today if I hadn’t yet got one, so I wasn’t worried, but I don’t have it yet.
Mickey holds out a gold medal for me. Wow. Just to be entrusted with this is an incredible honor. It’s doubly so from someone I like and respect – and triply so that it’s from a man who has been with the VM for every championship.
I thank Mickey profusely. I’m a little flummoxed about what to do with the medal before I put on the tux, though – I'm wearing the VM travel shirt again today, and it has no front pocket, but to stick the medal in my pants pocket seems a bit disrespectful to it. Well, I can’t hold onto it all through the warmup, so into the pants pocket it goes. I’m hoping Mickey doesn’t notice or care. Or read this report.
The men are on the risers at 7:30 sharp, 141 of us in all. There is an undercurrent of anticipation. We can feel it – history is going to be made today.
Chuck Mitchell revs us up one more time by getting us clapping and dancing to the claps, and then puts us through the “directed movement” drill. There’s not a lot of need to generate energy – we’ve got that to spare – but it is helpful to get us to focus that energy.
Jeff Oxley takes us through a leisurely, 50-minute warm-up. All of the intensity, the tension, of early rehearsals is gone. We’re relaxed, excited, just ready for the time to pass. Jeff and Jim do as much talking as warming us up, just touching on a few little details, a few reminders. Mostly they just praise us for putting in the work it took to get here, and encourage us to “enjoy the ride.”
At 9:00 we’re thoroughly warmed up, and I for one, while enjoying the ride, am ready for the show to get here! This is the next step – though. It’s time to dress and make up for the performance.