Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The show before the show

I’m really pumped up about this rehearsal.

Veteran members have told me that in past contest years, VM likes to hit the rehearsal audience with our full contest set, the better to get the “buzz” going early (and possibly some intimidation?). We need to warm up first, though, and Jeff Oxley guides us through a slow, relaxed even, 50-minute warm-up.

Interspersed with the singing is a lot of talking from Jeff, Jim Clancy, Chuck Mitchell – who it turns out was given a week’s reprieve before starting treatments and was able to come cheer us on – Phil McShan. The general theme is that, while we’re still going to work while we’re here, we are at the level we need to be at, and now is the time to soak in every minute and enjoy ourselves.

After almost an hour, there’s talk of taking a brief break – we don’t want to go into Friday on tired legs, so breaks are promised more frequently than we had them in Dallas. Recognizing that 400+ people are sitting in anticipation in our rehearsal room audience and that they’ve gone all this time without doing much more than warm-up exercises and snippets of a couple of songs, Jim Clancy leads us in singing his beautiful arrangement of “You Raise Me Up” for the crowd. It’s received very well.

We break for five minutes, with the promise that we’ll be running the contest set when we return.

I climb down the riser steps and make a line for my family – but I don’t make it. An energetic young brunette in a purple windbreaker has intercepted me – my online friend Lara. She made it! Her hubby didn’t, but that’s his loss.

We talk and hug – I wish I had more than a five-minute break to visit! Lara expresses mild dismay that she doesn’t have a camera to commemorate the meeting, but hey, it’s my vacation – I always have a camera with me. (I’ll probably have it Friday morning on the contest stage!)

We’ve moved over to where my family’s sitting, and I introduce her to the gang at large, and then enlist my older son (and fellow amateur photography buff) Brandon to take our picture. Lara’s not overly tall, especially next to me, so I lean down for the picture. She’s not having it – she asks me to stand tall so her husband can see how tall I am!

The first picture attempt somehow turns us blue. I change the exposure settings and give the camera back to Brandon. Second times the charm.

I only have a minute or two of break to rest my feet, so I exchange goodbyes with Lara and promise to try to come see her “in her native environment” – at Disneyland – later this week.

Soon enough we’re back on the risers, and about to perform the contest set.

Bob & Linda have left the rehearsal, turning in for the night. I’m disappointed they won’t see the set tonight, but they will see it Friday, of course. The other seven of my gang are still here, and I can see that Lara’s taken a seat towards the back of the room in the center.

After a little more detail work, it’s time to run the set.

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