Saturday, July 04, 2009

Still the Vocal Majority

The men of the Vocal Majority gather punctually for the ten o’clock rehearsal. No one is tardy. Almost every member is wearing his silver medal, even the veterans who could rightfully continue to display one of their previous golds. What a classy group of guys.

Warm-up and rehearsal are mostly relaxed. Jim Clancy sets the tone early on by a quick word about the “other guy.” This carries on a theme he established back when our rehearsals in Dallas were long and backbreaking. Jim told us how he gets through them himself: when he reaches the stage, he mentally “sends in” his performing alter-ego. The guy he is in front of us is a superman, with boundless energy, who never gets tired, never complains. The “other guy,” who gets tired and sore, has no place on stage. Oh, sure, that other guy will collapse from exhaustion later on, but not until we’re done doing what we come to do.

Today Jim is touching but to the point. “I know that, somewhere, that ‘other guy’ is hurting.” Darn right. “But I don’t want to see any trace of him on the risers today!”

That does the trick. Hey, medals, no medals, judges, scores, gold, silver – in the grand scheme of things, they don’t matter. This chorus is all about heart. This chorus exists to entertain. Sure, we like to pick up a few medal-shaped trinkets along the way. But we exist to touch people with our music, and we have an opportunity to do that today in a new and spectacular way.

The Harmony Foundation Show this afternoon is going to be an event like no other in the history of the Society. The Harmony Foundation is the charity wing of the BHS, supporting music education and Youth in Harmony programs internationally, and this show is a separate ticketed event to raise money for it. And they’re bringing out the “big guns” for it:

  • The show will start with the Harborlites, a Sweet Adelines champion chorus;
  • Next to perform will be Vocal Spectrum, the 2006 champion quartet;
  • Then the Masters of Harmony, seven-time champions, will sing;
  • Then comes OC Times, the 2008 champion quartet;
  • They are followed by the newly crowned champion chorus (and also 2004 winner), the Ambassadors of Harmony;
  • Max Q is next, the 2007 quartet champions;
  • Following Max Q is the Vocal Majority;
  • And for the finale, something that is unprecedented – the Vocal Majority, the Masters and the Ambassadors will join together in one mega-chorus, 450 men in all, to perform several numbers, the last of which will also include the three quartets. It will be a spectacle like none other.

So, we get to entertain by ourselves, and then in a grand finale with two brother choruses. We’re getting excited again.

The performance team has decided that we’ll go ahead and perform “Sweet Georgia Brown” again to start our set. Hey, the crowds love the uptunes, and don’t mind seeing the best ones twice (and some of the audience might have missed it the first time). We might as well hit them with what we’re doing best right now.

Our second song will be “You Raise Me Up,” and Jim plans to speak and dedicate the song to our families and fans in the audience who have supported us over the years.

Then, because it is the Fourth of July, we’ll finish with Jim’s powerful choreographed “Armed Forces Medley,” honoring those in the crowd who have served or are serving in the military. (As you might expect, barbershoppers tend to be a patriotic bunch.)

We run “Sweet Georgia Brown” full blast, moves and all. Jim comes away from it chuckling and shaking his head. Some way, somehow, it’s even better than yesterday’s contest performance. The VM is still the VM.

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