Thursday, July 02, 2009

One day to go

Thursday morning. I’m awake at 5:15. Hmm. Well, it’s better than 4 o’clock.

I manage a fitful half-sleep for another hour, but eventually my brain starts “bouncing,” as we call it – so full of things to think about that it’s difficult to settle it down and rest. Rehearsal, contest, Disneyland, rehearsal, shows, contest, Disneyland, gold medal, rehearsal… Oh, well, at least I’m not coughing like yesterday.

Our gang is all up and moving around 7:00. A score sheet from yesterday’s Quartet Quarterfinals has been slipped under the door – I’m guessing that one of our dads picked some up in the lobby and gave us this copy. Hmm. Of the 20 out of 50 moving on to the Semis, the favorites are all there, including Crossroads and Old School. I’m happy to see Storm Front and Glory Days among those moving on, but no real surprise there. Probably my biggest shock is that the William Kratt Chord Company did not score very highly, at least compared to the others, and will not be moving on. Oh, well. I liked them!

Even with my VM obligations this morning, I’m not the first out the door. On this day, my family “entourage” will be going in different directions all day while I rehearse.

Brandon is to be the first out the door, at 7:30. He’s going with my parents and my aunt and uncle, first to breakfast at Denny’s (which they found last night to be much more reasonably priced than the IHOP), and then on to the Gospel Sing, an annual event for the Society, where barbershoppers gather in a nearby church to sing hymns (with 4-part a capella arrangements, of course), hear other groups and quartets perform, and generally worship together in barbershop style. My dad, Bob & I went to the Gospel Sing in Denver, and it was a wonderful time. I’d go again today if my schedule allowed.

Becky & Benjamin are joining her parents a little after 9:00, riding the ART to the Crystal Cathedral in nearby Garden Grove to take a tour, and then get some lunch.

I have my obligations – six hours of rehearsal scheduled for today, from 9 to Noon and then 1 to 4. We’ve had hints that we might cut back the hours again since we’ve made such progress already, but I’m not counting on it. It’s part of the chorus’s nature to work hard, always want to get better, and never be satisfied with where we are.

I leave Becky and Benjamin in the room at 8:40 and go downstairs and out across the pool courtyard to the rehearsal rooms. There’s a few people in attendance today, but not nearly the mob like we had last night. They’ve seen what they came to see. Hopefully the word will be spreading about our contest set.

When the “risers!” call comes, all of us VMers quickly climb to our positions with a lot of anticipation – last day of rehearsals, contest tomorrow! There’s no official outfit for today’s rehearsals, except for those of us on the back row, who are all wearing our “MIB” shirts. They look a lot like the “Men In Black” movie t-shirts, black with the white “MIB” logo on the front, except it stands for “Men In Back,” not “Black.” The back of the shirt spells it out, “’Above the Rest’ / Men In Back / The Vocal Majority Chorus / 5th row, Anaheim, California, 2009.”

Chuck Mitchell steps in front of the risers and starts channeling our energy into rhythmic clapping, working us up to a frenzied pace, and then… and then he starts dancing to our clapping.

This is new.

Chuck is not, shall we say, the most svelte member of the chorus – and you know I can relate myself. He throws himself with abandon into improvising leaps, spins, kicks, and twirls as we clap and laugh. It’s too funny, and just the thing to get us powered up for a good rehearsal.

I’m glad he’s here.

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