Saturday, July 04, 2009

The joy of the music

When we’re finished with dinner, we head back to the room, after first stopping at the Anaheim Resort Transit ticket machine to purchase 3-day passes for the remainder of our trip.

The boys want me to swim with them. That sounds pretty nice – my body could use a soak in the hot tub especially. But mostly I plan on doing whatever will help me rest and recuperate the fastest, so I can handle Disneyland over the next three days.

We pass through the palm-tree studded courtyard of the Sheraton on the way to our room, and as we pass the pool enclosure, there are some voices in the pool area singing in harmony – like there have been in so many random places during the convention.

Becky and boys duck through the gate into the pool area to check out the singing – the song does sound familiar. I continue on to the entrance to the building, but Becky calls me back: “It’s VM guys.”

Okay, that’s nice, but I’ve heard them sing before. But Becky’s insistent that I come back to the pool area.

I’m glad for it.

When I get through the gate, I see, and hear, fifteen to twenty Vocal Majority men, plus a handful of their spouses and family members, gathered in a circle of chairs close to the side of the pool. They are singing one of my favorite VM songs, a humorous, upbeat piece with the hilarious title of “How Could You Believe Me When I Said I Love You, When You Know I’ve Been a Liar All My Life?”

The guys wave me over to them. I’m singing along before I get there.

I park myself on a low stone wall by their circle of chairs and continue singing. There are moves to “Liar,” and some of us perform them, kind of, while sitting. It’s a blast. We’re not singing to impress, or for a score, but just for the sheer love of the music, and to enjoy the friendships we share as a chorus.

When one song ends, another is suggested, and we keep right on singing. Nick Alexander is doing the conducting honors – to the extent we’re paying attention. He also has a pitch pipe, but we sometimes have to guess the starting pitch. This can lead to some comedy if we start too high or low.

We mess up a few of the songs, either by the pitch being off or by it being a song we haven’t done in a while. This just leads to more comedy – any time we mess up, someone starts the chant, “We’re Number Two! We’re Number Two!” and all the guys join in.

After a few songs with my VM brothers, I realize that this is just about the time we would have been going onstage at the Honda Center if we had won. Let’s see, which sounds more appealing at the moment – stuffing my swollen feet back into my tux shoes for yet another trip to the arena and another performance, or sitting under the palm trees by the pool on a nice, cool California evening with my friends, singing for the pure joy of it?

There are advantages to second place.

More VM guys wander by and are pulled into the circle. Eventually we have over thirty of us singing and having a blast. Jay Dennis, official blower of the VM pitchpipe, shows up, and he not only has his pipe, but also The List of current songs in the VM repertoire and their starting pitches!

We plow through a number of our songs. Some are appropriate for our setting, like “California Dreamin’.” Others are patriotic for the Fourth, like “Stars and Stripes Forever.” We change lyrics on the fly, as when “God Bless the USA’s” “from Detroit down to Houston” spontaneously becomes “from Detroit down to Anaheim.” “Home on the Range,” “Elijah Rock” (which is pretty complex and hasn’t been sung by the chorus in a couple of years, and thus falls apart rapidly – “We’re Number Two! We’re Number Two!”), even “Let It Snow” get a workout.

We’re not alone in the pool area, but the others there are all smiles at this large group of men hanging around the water singing their hearts out. There are even people out on the balconies in the hotel tower above us, sitting out listening.

The sun sets, the moon is peering through the palm trees, but we keep singing. It’s a wonderful time. I’m laughing and enjoying myself more now than at any time so far on the trip.

“We’re Number Two! We’re Number Two!”

Yes. Yes we are. And we’re having a ball.

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