Shanno originally sent these to the Harmonet in 11/96.
From: US1RMC::"email@example.com" "Shanno Wilson"
Subject: HI International - Chapter 1 (long)
The following is a personal account of the Harmony, Inc. International contest which took place in St. John, NB, Canada over the weekend.
I'm Shanno Wilson and I sing lead in a quartette named Zing! This is our first International together, though three of us have been there before (Linda Bober, our tenor, as a lead with Notorious; Debbie Borsari, our baritone, as a tenor with1989 Harmony Queens Heart's Delight, and me as baritone with 2 time International Silver Medalists Heartsong). Tracy Harrison, our bass, is fairly new to barbershopping and is attending her first International as a quartette competitor. We are all also members of the Women of Note chorus from Hudson, MA (last year's third place International medalist chorus). Linda is an assistant director and tenor section leader, Debbie is the baritone section leader and Tracy sings in the bass section. I am currently on a leave of absence from the chorus, but when I'm there I sing in the bass section.
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Took the day off work to take care of all my last minute running around and to get into a contest frame of mind. Debbie headed up to St. John early this morning since she has queenly duties. Tracy and Linda are flying up after work tonight. I spend the evening packing. No worries about forgetting anything as I am armed with Linda's famous Anal Retentive Contest Packing sheet, which is an exhaustive list of every possible item needed to go into our suitcases, from batteries for our tape recorders to the Zing! sign for our hotel room door. (Sure, you laugh, but I haven't forgotten my toothbrush or jammies since I started singing with Linda :-)
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Up at the crack of dawn to get to the airport. I run into a bunch of women from the Harmonettes, a chorus also from MA, whose plane tickets have been screwed up. My tickets are fine thankfully and while I'm waiting at the counter I see one of my fellow Women of Note members, Diana Vlamis, is on my flight. Her ticket is also screwed up, so I leave her to fix it and go in search of breakfast. We eventually get on the puddle jumper from Boston to Halifax. We are a little worried about the plane (one of the Harmonettes observes that our pilot is middle-aged, so that means that he wasn't good enough to make it in the big jets...) We land in Halifax, NS, set our watches ahead and try to adjust to the public smokiness of Canada (hack, hack). We forget to leave our bags after we go through Customs, so we have to find the airline counter and re-check them (it wasn't well marked, I swear). We find a bathroom (I'm drinking *lots* of water already), some food and our gate and then we're off to St. John. There is supposedly going to be some kind of shuttle to take us to the hotel, but none of us have any details about it (I *knew* I should have traveled with Linda...) Once we see the airport, however, we aren't too worried, as it appears to have only one gate. Sure enough there are drivers at the door to whisk us away, all our luggage having arrived safely.
We arrive at the hotel and there is a message for me - "Your on-stage time is at 3:10 at the convention center" I look at my watch, which says that the current time is... 3:20. Oh no! I abandon my luggage with Diana and go pelting across the street to the convention center. "Where's the stage? where's the stage? I'm missing my on-stage time!" I am pointed down the hallway and as I'm running I am psyched to see the rest of Zing! in the hallway, with a quartette still ahead of them waiting to go on. Thankfully, on-stage time is running late, so I have time to catch my breath and cease freaking out. We check out the stage. The microphone is placed so it's pointing directly at my forehead, which I find incredibly distracting. (I hope that they change this, since I'm not particularly short and I can't imagine that that configuration is going to be good for the majority of the contestants.) The stage, the lights, and the monitors are o.k., however.
We head back to the hotel and I try to locate my luggage, but no one appears to be in Diana's room next door. (I find out later that I have been knocking on the wrong door, as our next door neighbor is *not* Diana, but Ed Waesche, who is on the panel in the Music category.) Eventually I knock on the right door and get decked out in my Zing! gear. Next it's off to sing at the mall connected to the hotel and convention center. Before we go on stage we run into Debbie's sister, Wendy Mercier, lead of Limited Edition, 1995-96 Harmony Queens (as well as former baritone of champs Heart's Delight with Debbie.) The 15 minute set goes pretty well, though the end of our ballad, Broken Hearted is still a little rough, which we find worrisome, as it is in our first set tomorrow afternoon. There are supposed to be two stages, so after we finish at the first, we go in search of the second. We find a stage, but no sound system so we decide against singing any more at present and head to dinner.
After dinner and copious amounts of dessert (Zing! *loves* dessert), Debbie runs off to do queen things before the Parade of Champions. We find my parents, who have flown in from Toledo, OH for the contest and collect hugs and kisses and best wishes for tomorrow. I can only make it through to the intermission of the Parade as I'm totally wiped out from traveling. I go back to the room and crash, but wake up when the rest of Zing! gets back to the room. We gab for a while and finally turn in around midnight.
Chapter 2 to follow later...
"Shanno Wilson" 12-NOV-1996 09:43:42.31
Subject: HI Int'l - Chapter 2 (long)
Linda - Installment 2. Please forward. Thanks, Shanno
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The alarm is set for us to get up in time to represent Women of Note at the 8:00 a.m. membership meeting. Linda wakes up to find that there is no hot water at all. I get up, take one look at my extremely severe case of "bed head", think about how little I want to take a cold shower *or* be seen in public looking as scary as I do, and promptly go back to sleep, as do Tracy and Debbie. Linda rises to the occasion, however, and goes to the meeting. We sleep some more and by the time we need to get ready for the quartette briefing we have water that is not exactly hot, but warm enough for our purposes. While getting ready, we blow our first, (but not last, as Ed Waesche will soon find out) fuse and some of us go to the briefing with wet hair. We get dressed in our new black Zing! shirts, which each have a two contrasting color Zing! logo on them (mine is purple and yellow, but all four are different). We have black bike shorts, and tights and canvas sneakers (my tights are flourescent green and my sneakers are bright purple). Admittedly, this outfit borders on obnoxious, but with a name like Zing! we find it's best not to be drab.
We go to the briefing, greet our fellow competitors, say hi to the judges etc. Ed comes over afterwards to compliment us on our hotel room door, which has a Zing! sign in black on flourescent orange, surrounded by a string of blinking white Christmas lights. (We heard that other 9th floor neighbors, from LABBS (Hi Jamboree! :-)) felt like they were on the Strip in Las Vegas, what with our door blinking night and day.)
After the briefing we head back to the room to eat and start getting ready for the afternoon session. Zing! travel food essentials include cereal, bagels and cream cheese, fruit, trail mix, and Clif bars (kind of like Power Bars, but with texture - we highly recommend the peanut butter flavor) as well as the ever-critical assortment of chocolate (because, as we know from Chapter 1, Zing! loves dessert). We graze for a while and then start warming up. Linda has been nursing a sore throat and is a little worried about having enough voice, especially if we are fortunate enough to make the cut to the second round tonight.
My dad shows up with his camera and starts shooting everything we do... Tracy ironing all our costumes (we dub her our official "press" agent, ha, ha)... Debbie doing last minute sewing... me being a total nervous wreck (my internal dialogue was something like - "I can't believe I'm singing lead - how did I get talked into this? Everyone will know I'm a total impostor.")... all of us warming up... Dad leaves, but promises to meet us downstairs when we get our official picture taken.
We get into makeup (our makeup motto: when you look like a prostitute you're halfway there...). I do Tracy's lipstick since she can't be trusted to restrict it to her lips. I also convince her that, yes, she *has* to put on eyeliner even though it feels repulsive to her when she puts it on. We get into costume and start warming up in earnest. Our quartette hostess, Joyce Baxter from the prospective chapter Bluenose Tradition shows up around 2:00. She gives us a sweet card and good luck gifts and settles in for a listen to our package. She ooo's and ah's and looks encouraging in all the right spots. I am still a nervous wreck, so Tracy and I take a couple of sips of wine to calm the nerves (we're not big drinkers - two glasses of wine last us for two days). We then head down to get our official picture taken. Dad is in the lobby and tells us how beautiful we all are (he's so objective, of course ;-)).
We notice that somehow Linda got through our makeup inspection without putting on mascara (Gasp!) Joyce runs back to the room to get it.
We are scheduled to be the second quartette after intermission, and things are running late, so we're stuck in the lobby for a while. It gives us a chance to chat with the quartette before us, 1995-96 second place International medalists, IMAGES. They look and sound terrific and we're pulling for them to win, as they have been 4th, 3rd, and 2nd in the last three years, and they are wonderful people as well as very talented singers. The bass is having health problems and is being wheeled from room to room in a wheelchair to conserve her strength for the stage. She is in good spirits, however, and takes the time to compliment us on our sound.
We finally head into the warm-up room. Dad is still taking pictures like mad. We're feeling pretty good, though we're still worried about the tag on Broken Hearted, especially since it's Tom Gentry's arrangement and he's in the pit. (Actually, both our songs in the afternoon session are his arrangements and we want to do an especially good job on them, since we really like both Tom *and* his arrangements.)
Next stop is the Quiet Room across from the stage. Lynn Randall, Harmony Queen is manning the door and gives us all a high-five and tells us we can sing quietly if we want to. We opt not to and spend our time breathing and visualizing a great performance.
Finally, we are backstage. We leave our water bottles with Joyce and head up the stairs to the stage. One last group hug for good luck and we're ready. As soon as the MC says "Close the doors, please" hooting and hollering and applause starts. "And representing Area 2... from the Women of Note chorus...Zing!"
We head out onto the stage and we can see the judges clapping in the pit (I'm so glad they are allowed to do that now. It is a reallly nice feeling for us competitors), and our friends from the chorus waving fans and cheering like crazy. Linda blows the pitch and we launch into "That's my Weakness, That Certain Party". The audience is very responsive and we're having a ball. (Hey this isn't so bad!) We get a little raucous towards the end, but overall it goes very well. We accept applause and come back to start Broken Hearted. We're a little tired from the first song (which is quite an aerobic workout) and the intro isn't as strong as we'd like it to be. Once we settle in it feels better, and we're really feel like we're *in* the song. We get to the tag and, as we feared, it didn't quite come together (boy is that sucker high!) though the emotional impact still felt strong. We accept applause and leave the stage. I go off muttering that we didn't lock the tag and pointing out all the places I hadn't done what I wanted. Tracy turned to me and said "I have nothing to compare this to... did we do good?" That snapped me out of my negativity and I realized that we had done as well as we possibly could at this moment in time. Debbie's sister Wendy met us backstage and hugged us all and told us we did great, and that she was sure we would make the cut.
We run back into the auditorium so we can see the rest of the quartettes. We joined Debbie's parents, Jim and Joanne Dodge, and they were practically jumping up and down they were so excited about our performance. I find my parents and they come over and join us. They bond with the Dodges as they agree how wonderful and beautiful and special we are, until the people around us are ready to throw up - of course my parent's criteria for whether something is good or not is "Is Shanno in it?" so they can hardly be trusted to make an objective observation.
We wait for the draw for tonight's session. "Singing first... Cadenza... singing second... Zing!" We scream and leap to our feet, and have a huge group hug. Linda gets hugged so hard that she rips her program in half.
We leave to go back to our room and prepare for the evening session.
More to follow....
Bass, Women of Note
"Shanno Wilson" 12-NOV-1996 16:08:44.17
Subject: HI Int'l - Chapter 3 (long)
Linda - Installment 3. Please forward. Thanks, Shanno
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We get back to the room and Linda and Debbie want to go in search of dinner. Tracy goes with them to pick up sandwiches for us to eat later. (She and I are not hungry now, but we're pretty sure we'll be ravenous around midnight when we get back.) I'm exhausted so I opt to stay in the room and try to snooze a bit. I flop around for a while, trying to fall asleep until I hear a knock on the door. It turns out to be my British neighbors, the bass and baritone from Jamboree!, plus Lynn Randall's son, David. They lament that American audiences are so sedate compared to audiences back home, and want to know what they should yell out when we come on stage tonight. I tell them to shout "You *go*, girl!" for us. They don't get it, but it sounds great with a British accent. We chat for a while longer and they wish us luck for tonight.
The rest of Zing! gets back shortly and eats quickly. Since we are so early in the draw we don't have too much time to get ready. (Fine with me since I would only get more and more nervous if I had more time.) I try to have the attitude that we've already accomplished what we set out to do - make the top 10 - and that this should just be fun, but so far, it's just not working for me. I am worried about 4 Leaf Clover because it's really not in a comfy range for me and involves a lot of going back and forth over my break, which is a big problem for me at present. Also, we are doing a parody that involves props and our singing has tended to go south when we use them. The rest of Zing! is pretty relaxed, however, and Linda thinks her voice should hold out long enough to get through the set.
We touch up our makeup and get into costume (black jumpsuits with short jackets in assorted bright colors, black velvet chokers, and rhinestone earrings). My dad shows up with copies of the pictures he took this morning -- he found a one hour developing place in the mall, isn't he cute? He got some great shots, including some of us on-stage (he used very slow speed film so he wouldn't have to use a flash). He lets us know that he was so enthralled with the first song that he forgot to take any pictures, but got a great shot at the end of the ballad. (It's nice to see photographic evidence of our facial involvement!) He takes more pictures as we're getting ready and then heads over to the auditorium.
We warmup for a while and do a run-through with the props. Then it's off to get official pictures taken again. In the warmup room we concentrate on the parody, and we feel pretty good about it. We wonder what Ed is going to think of it, since it is his arrangement that we are parodizing. (It turns out that he doesn't even recognize it, since he asks us later whose arrangement it was. When we tell him it was his he says, "It was a little over-arranged, wasn't it?") After what seems like no time we are headed to the quiet room.
Lynn Randall is again manning the Quiet Room door and says something encouraging as we go in. We run through the end of the parody, adding something different for me to do after we accept applause. Then Lynn is back to send us off to the stage.
We drop our stuff and head up the stairs. Group hug and we're ready. "Close the doors, please... your second contestant of the night... representing Area 2...from the Women of Note chapter... Zing!" The crowd is going wild and I faintly hear a British-accented "You go, girls!". We go out, accept applause, and start 4 Leaf Clover. It's nothing to write home about, but we make it through in one piece.
We start the ballad, which is a parody of My Mother's Eyes (written by Harmonetter and bass of the comedy quartette, the Musical Chairs, Mary Bingham). It starts out:
"Back in childhood days, memories tremendous, of colors horrendous glaring at me. I really wonder now, what was he thinking? Must have been drinking - what else could it be?
Bright red with purple kites, a really horrid sight, right there on My Brother's Ties"...
At "Bright red" Tracy reaches behind her and turns around her choker to reveal a big red tie with purple sequin kites on it. When we get to "my brother's ties" in the lyric I see Steve Plumb in the pit just put his hands on his head, while shaking it and laughing. The song goes on with more ugly ties revealed by me and Linda. After
"Good looks were such a waste, on one who had no taste"
we rip them off and throw them to the ground. I pull out a lighter and we agree to burn the ties, then we hear a gasp from Tracy and see that Debbie is pulling tie after tie after *ugly* tie out of the top of her jumpsuit as we exclaim about how horrible they are. (Dad got a terrific shot of this.) We throw the huge string of them down at the end of the tag and accept applause. The other three leave the stage while I try to set the ties on fire, but the lighter won't work so I slam it down and walk off disgusted.
The set went about as well as we thought it would, but it definitely wasn't as good as the afternoon session. We head out to the auditorium to watch the rest of the quartettes. It's hard to make guesses about who is going to finish where since we missed most of the afternoon session, but For Heaven's Sake (their ballads are like little gems - what musicality!), Footloose (funny as ever, and singing well, too), and IMAGES (solid job, but missing some of their usual zip) all do a great job. After hearing everyone, I have us about in the middle of the pack, maybe 6th or 7th.
While we are waiting for the announcements, outgoing Queens Limited Edition get up to do their swan song. Unfortunately Wendy (the lead) is ill and they only do one song, with Renae, the tenor, singing lead. You can see the emotion brimming over as they do their last song as reigning queens. Debbie leaves us to go to the stage, as Wendy has chosen her to give her her permanent crown. (Harmony, Inc. has big traveling crowns for the reigning queens. After their reign ends they are given their permanent crowns, which are smaller tiaras.) Debbie has forgotten to bring her own gold medal and crown, so she has to borrow one backstage. We all get teary eyed as Debbie puts the crown on Wendy.
Finally it's time for the announcements. Fourth place goes to Legacy. Third to Footloose. Second to IMAGES. First place to ...For Heaven's Sake. They are very surprised, as they were 7th last year and expected maybe to medal, but not to win. They get up and Limited Edition put the traveling crowns on them and they sing a number while trying not to have those big crowns go flying off their heads.
The remaining places are posted in the hall, so I go out to see where we ended up. I can barely believe it when I run my finger down the list and see "5. Zing!" I run back into the auditorium and tell Deb's mom. I head to tell the rest of Zing!, but the Harmony theme song starts, so I have to wait for it to end. After the song I run over to Zing!, jumping up and down and yelling "5th! 5th! 5th! We're 5th!" They just stand there with their mouths open for a second and then start jumping up and down, too. None of us can believe it. (Actually, I *still* can't believe it.) We find out later that we beat the 6th place quartette, Euphoria, by a single point!
We pick up our individual score sheet and don't find too many surprises. We expect Presentation to be our highest category and Singing our lowest and are correct (though we are dismayed that one Singing judge scored us quite a bit lower than the other two - like **16 points** lower on the same song!!). We schmooze with old and new friends and are overwhelmed at the positive response we are getting. (One of our favorites was fellow Harmonetter and director of the Pacific Belle Chords, Jeff Taylor, who showed us his program in which he had written "future champs" after our name. Thanks Jeff!)
Eventually we're off to evaluations. No big surprises there. Got some useful, actionable comments. Linda now has almost no voice whatsoever.
After evals it was back to the room to eat (we were right about being ravenous afterwards - I would almost have eaten brussels sprouts, I was so hungry!) hash over everything and then crash. The other three are competing with Women of Note tomorrow and need to get some sleep.
-Shanno Wilson <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Lead, Zing! (HI's 5th place International quartette!!! How cool is that!)
Bass, Women of Note
"Shanno Wilson" 13-NOV-1996 18:18:34.93
Subject: HI Int'l - Chapter 4
Linda - Please forward. -Shanno
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The alarm is set for us to get up in time for the 8:00 a.m. chorus breakfast. I volunteer to get up first, to give the other three a little extra time to sleep since they have to perform. (It sounded like a good idea at 2:00 a.m., but now I'm kicking myself!) Stumble into the bathroom and find that there *is* hot water, thankfully. After lots of vigorous scrubbing, the last of the quartette makeup finally comes off my neck (where's that power sander when you really need it?). Linda gets up next, but Debbie and Tracy are fighting consciousness for as long as possible. Eventually everyone motivates (though I had to rip the pillow off of Tracy's head and threaten her with a perky song if she didn't get up) and we gear up in Women of Note duds - a purple WoN shirt for me, to match my Zing! shoes. We head over to the breakfast, but not before blowing another fuse. (Sorry, Ed!) It usually takes us forever to get any place, since Debbie is friendly with virtually every member of Harmony, Inc. and tries to catch up with each of them personally (we don't call her Gabby for nothing!). On the way we get stopped often by people congratulating us on last night.
After greeting our WoN buddies and getting lots of hugs, I immediately jump up to be first in line at the food. As I learned from R.D. Mathey of Bowling Green State University (barbershop encourager extraordinaire) it is always best to be first in line at a buffet. That way you get all the best food and by the time you are ready for seconds, everyone else has already been through the line, so you never have to wait! This is especially handy at pot-luck suppers where there is dessert involved, because as we have learned in past chapters (all together now) Zing! loves dessert. Anyway, Mom and Dad show up and they are still beaming like there's no tomorrow - they're so proud. Dad is still taking pictures (thanks for permanently capturing the major baggage under my eyes, Dad, I really appreciate it).
We eat and our president, Mary Childs, plays a tape from a member, Chris Kuntz, who couldn't attend because she threw her back out. She tells a funny story about how, even though she couldn't be here with us, she had performed the package mentally to the best of her ability while she was getting a root canal this week. (She figured if she could do a good job of it at the dentist, then it should be a breeze for WoN on stage.) We get some inspirational words of wisdom from the leadership, have some announcements, and then get down to rehearsing.
The room isn't really cut out for spectators, so I had back to the hotel room. I relax for a while and start packing, since it's going to be a *long* day/night and I know I'm not going to feel like doing it at 4 a.m. or when I get up tomorrow (I don't even want to think about getting up tomorrow). The rest of Zing! gets back to the room. Linda's voice is coming in and out, but she thinks she should be o.k. to sing. (We have forbidden her to speak at this point, since we want her to be able to sing with us in the hospitality rooms tonight.)
Ed Waesche comes over from next door to say congratulations on our finish last night. He lets us know that he heard us getting ready yesterday and had to work hard to restrain himself from coming over and giving us a few hints. He goes on to mention how he was laying in bed trying to wake up this morning, listening to the TV when, all of a sudden, all the power in the room went off. He asks, "That wouldn't have anything to do with *you* girls, would it?" We feign innocence ("who, us?") but he's not buying it. We apologize and promise not to do it again. (And we didn't, did we, Ed?)
The others start to get made up, dressed, and warmed up. I help zip and spray and powder and generally try to stay out of the way. Then they're ready and go off to warm up. I feel a little sad because this is the first International in my 4 years with Women of Note that I haven't competed. It will be hard for me to be in the audience, but I'm looking forward to seeing the whole contest.
I head off to the auditorium and meet up with Mom
and Dad. We don't normally get much of a chance to see each other during
these weekends (they normally just get to gaze adoringly at me while I'm
on stage), so it's nice to get a chance to catch up. Women of Note is on
fourth, and they're a little worried about the lack of a big audience, so
I pass out WoN fans for people to wave and instruct them to cheer extra
loud. I get a chance to say hi to and get a big hug from Tom Gentry, who
offers his congrats on our finish last night, and comments on the amount
of improvement we made since he judged us at Area in April. He also offers
to re-write the tag on Broken Hearted for us, since
it's just too darned high and thin sounding when transposed from men's key (Thanks Tom!) We chat some more and then he goes off to do the judge thing.
The contest starts. In no time the MC is saying
"From Area 2... from Hudson, Massachusetts... under the direction of
Jean Patterson... Women of Note!" We yell and clap and wave our fans.
The chorus looks great in black tops and black chiffon-y circle skirts that
flare when they spin around and vests with metallic looking blue, red, green,
silver, and black diamonds on them. They accept applause and then mood shift
for the ballad (I Know What It Means to be Lonesome). The ballad goes well
- I've seen them sell it more, but still an excellent job. Then with a "5,6,7,8"
from Jean, they move to David Wright's One Step Dixie. The arrangement is
killer and the visual plan is a knockout.
Everyone's selling their hearts out, especially my fellow Zing!ers in the front row (you guys looked great!). A problem in the past has been to keep the singing going in spite of all the aerobic activity. This time they do it as well as I have seen them, however. The crowd goes crazy as they all dance their way back to the risers and keep dancing and snapping their fingers as the curtain closes. They keep clapping the beat as they leave the risers, and the audience spontaneously starts clapping along with them. What a great moment!
The rest of the contest goes by in a blur. I pick Pride of Niagara, Heart of Indiana, Capital Chordettes and Women of Note to be the top four, though not necessarily in that order. I don't think anyone has *definitively* won the contest, though the Chordettes did a great package, and are going to be tough to beat.
Last year's champs The Village Vocal Chords perform for us. It is easy to understand why this chorus is a perennial champ. It's not a big chorus, but their sound is so clean, and what a monster bass section. Whoa. They are terrific as always and Jeanne O'Connor is a joy to watch. What a fun and beautiful director!
Then it's time for the announcements. Fourth place goes to Heart of Indiana. (Women of Note is holding their breath right now, as they were third last year.) Third place to... Pride of Niagara. (Still holding their breath...) Second place to... Women of Note (lots of screaming, hugging, hooting and hollering) First place to the Capital Chordettes! (a huge amount of screaming from Harmony, Inc.'s biggest chorus - over 100 women, I think?)
The chorus is happy with their finish, though sometimes they feel like HI's version of the New Tradition. Since I have been with them we have been second, second, third, and second. (And next year we'll be up against the Village Vocal Chords who have won something like the last 10 times they have competed.)
Linda heads off to evals and the rest of Zing! goes back to the room to change. We don't have too much time since Debbie, Tracy and Linda have to sing with WoN on the Showcase tonight, but we're going out to dinner with my parents, so they can beam at us a little more (but for once Dad didn't bring his camera). We have a lovely meal, though my parents insist on telling tall tales about me. (I spend most of the meal saying, "I did *not*... I never... that's not true" though eventually I just give up and let them have their fun.)
We run back to the hotel so my front row buddies can get back in time to warm up with the chorus.
Bass, Women of Note
"Shanno Wilson" 14-NOV-1996 17:00:29.72
Subject: HI Int'l - Chapter 5
Linda - Please forward. Thanks, Shanno
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After giving a thumbs up to Women of Note while they warm up by the elevators, I head to the auditorium. As I'm going down in the elevator I hear different choruses on different floors also warming up. (Has anyone else ever noticed that barbershoppers tend to congregate near elevators and ice machines? What's that all about anyway?)
I seek out Debbie's mom and dad to sit with them for the show. Now I am really feeling the separation pangs of not singing with the chorus. This is my first Showcase since I've been in Harmony, Inc. that I haven't been performing - in `93 & `94 I medaled with both the chorus and my previous quartette, Heartsong (second place for both chorus and quartette, both years), and last year I medaled with the chorus (third place).
The theme for the weekend is Irish, so they have a bagpiper playing (wait, isn't that Scottish?) and all the medalists process in behind him down the aisle. I try not to feel sorry for myself as I wave madly to my friends in WoN as they walk proudly by with their red ribbons, but I get pretty choked up. Luckily the Dodges are there to give me a squeeze and I shake it off so I can sit back and enjoy the show.
Legacy, from the Pride of Niagara chapter, does a nice job on their set as fourth place medalist quartette. They are followed by the Heart of Indiana chorus who are *very* entertaining. They do a great comedy song about tragically losing the remote control. They are a hoot. They are followed by Footloose, from the Heart of Indiana chapter. Footloose is even funnier than Heart of Indiana and the crowd just loves them.
Pride of Niagara and Heart of Indiana squeeze onto the stage together and sing Fun in Just One Lifetime and the song that goes with it, then the lead from Footloose steps to the mike and adds the third song, I Have a Song to Sing. It was neat to see the Heart of Indiana director, Meridy, direct Pride of Niagara, and the PoN director, Linda, direct Heart of Indiana. Pride then does a couple more songs (one from the Lion King, I think) and they are followed by IMAGES. IMAGES does a great job, including a song after our own hearts, "Zing! Went the Strings of my Heart". And, to answer the most popular question Zing! fielded all weekend, "No, we *don't* sing Zing! Went the Strings of my Heart!" (We want to, but we haven't gotten around to it yet.) IMAGES gets a warm reception. They have so many friends in Harmony, Inc. who love them (especially me!) and wish them well.
After IMAGES, it is time for Women of Note. They open with a fun circus song, which the audience enjoys. Tracy comes to the mike afterwards to speak for the chorus (you go, girl!) and she does a great job. Then they do their package, since most of the choruses had missed it in the afternoon. The ballad is gorgeous - much better than they did in the afternoon. The lead hanger at the end is just beautiful. Then they launch into One Step Dixie and the audience is so blown away by the choreography that they start clapping in the middle. (I didn't start it, I swear.) After they finish, the audience gives them a standing ovation, which is so great, because I'd never seen HI give a standing O for anyone other than Queens and first place choruses. It is tremendous. (I'm so proud!)
After WoN, the new Queens, For Heaven's Sake are up. Having a mother up there with two daughters singing "This Little Piggy Went to Market" was just too touching for words (I'm verklempt just thinking about it - talk amongst yourselves...). The image of them bent over the baby's crib at the end of the song is one that will always stay with me. Thank you, For Heaven's Sake! You're going to be great Queens.
After the Queens, the Capital Chordettes storm the stage. They do a tremendous set, with lots of great dancing, and show everyone why they are wearing the blue ribbons. (It's fun to watch a big chorus do their thing, since we don't have too many of them in HI.)
We stand and sing the Harmony theme song and then it's back to the room to get into our party clothes.
More to follow later...
(Sorry this is taking so long, but my husband hasn't much appreciated me spending every evening typing, especially after being away last week, and my boss actually expects me to do my job while I'm at work. What's up with that!)
Bass, Women of Note
"Shanno Wilson" 15-NOV-1996 09:25:24.50
Subject: HI Int'l - Final chapter!
Linda - I can't believe I finally finished! Please forward. Thanks, Shanno
Saturday (late night/early a.m.)
We make the mistake of leaving the auditorium without Debbie (our friend, Gabby girl) in tow, so it could be hours before we actually get to a party. She shows up eventually and we dress in casual pastel dresses with matching sneakers (we have matching straw hats that we wear sometimes, but they don't travel well and it's annoying when they fall off every time you hug somebody - besides they give me hat-head, and I hate that). Linda doesn't have much voice, so we have a severely limited repertoire.
We decide to start at our hotel, the Hilton, and work our way from top to bottom, saving the Women of Note room for last, as they'll be most forgiving when our voices are the most shot. Maybe we should have started there first though, after our experience in the first hospitality room...
We start in the Village Vocal Chords room and most
of the judging panel is there. We are asked to sing right when we walk in
the door. I haven't sung all day, so I'm not exactly warmed up, but we start
Basin Street. It's going o.k., though if my break were any bigger I'd need
a suspension bridge to get across it! We get to the tag, and we've changed
it so that I sing the bass part "they call it Basin Street" and
the other three come in on some blues chord. Well we get there and I do
my thing, but Debbie can't hear what her note is, so she doesn't come in,
and Tracy feels Debbie not coming in so *she* doesn't come in, and Linda
doesn't want to come in by herself... so I'm *totally* and completely hung
out to dry! (I don't think we ever even finished, we were laughing so hard.)
Bill Rashleigh tactfully yells out, "What the hell was that?"
just to put the icing on the cake. (Thanks, Bill.) Nothing like a big crash
and burn to get the party started! This makes us nervous wrecks for That's
My Weakness/That Certain Party (or, as we call it now, That's My Party)
which we get through, but not very well -- of course, in
front of the arranger, our friend, Tom Gentry. God, I can't *wait* to sit down....
I take solace in some food (where's the chocolate when you really need it?), and chat with Tom for a while. We stay and listen to The Villagers (1976? Harmony Queens) and to Third Place Medalists, Footloose. Footloose does "I'm a Blonde", from the movie Earth Girls are Easy, which is very funny. After Footloose, we leave to hit the other rooms.
The rooms are starting to blur together in my memory, but we went to a bunch of them, singing the two songs Linda could belt out (4 Leaf Clover and That's My Party). In the lobby someone requests our parody, My Brother's Ties, which we do, even though we don't have the ties with us. It actually goes much better than in the contest, since we don't have props to distract us. In the Scotiannaire's room we get to hear the Villagers again, which is always fun. (We're so proud of their 4th place finish at the LABBS International contest in Wales. You go, girls!)
We get up and do our thing and during the second song we notice Presentation candidate judge, Theresa Wetherbee has an entire tray of food in her lap and is chowing big time. When we end the song she has a big carrot in her hand so she can't clap, so she shoves the whole carrot in her mouth and almost dumps the tray of food all over the floor. (Very classy, Theresa. ;-))
We stand in the hallway talking for a while with
Theresa and Joan Ross (Presentation Category Specialist). Joan goes into
the Ladies Room and notices that there is absolutely no toilet paper. Finding
the situation intolerable, she storms the Men's Room (I *think* she knocked
first, but I can't swear to it) to steal some. She can't get the roll off
of the dispenser, so she starts unrolling it and handing it to Debbie. They
TP brigade from the Men's to the Ladies room until Joan is satisfied there is enough. (Debbie is laughing hard enough to pee her pants, so she's probably going to require extra.) ;-)
We hear there is another room downstairs and we find the Overtones chorus. We meet up with the Villagers again and they want us to sing first. The bass, Jacquie Jensen says, "Oh, they're probably going to do something cute and perky" so we attempt to sing 4 Leaf Clover without being either, but it just makes us laugh. We're getting kind of sick of the same two songs, so we decide to try Everything Old is New Again. It goes pretty well and we sit down to watch the Villagers. We request something cute and perky and they let us know that they only do 2 songs which might remotely be identified that way, and we've already done 1 of them (Everything Old). The other is "The Moment I Saw Your Eyes". I groan and say "Please, no" because everyone and their sister has done that song in the contest and it seems to be permanently lodged in my brain. ("Hot to handle, human candle, take a look at me"... damn, there it is again...) They do it anyway, but I don't really mind since they do a very good job of it and it's a great song. While the Villagers are singing, the LABBS quartette Jamboree! comes in. It turns out we all know the same arrangement of Everything Old, so we decide to do a VLQ. It's big fun, though I must admit to feelings of inadequacy when attempting to sing lead next to Lynn Randall of the Villagers. (She's a *real* lead - I just play one on TV...)
We decide that we should head back to the Women of Note room, since it's past 2:30 a.m. and we want to try to catch people from the chorus before they head to bed. Luckily WoN likes to party, and there are still plenty of people in the room when we get there. We graze on snacks, hang with the troops and sing some, until the people sleeping in the suite start giving us hints that they'd like to go to sleep. (Something subtle like getting in the bed and turning off the lights...)
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Well, you don't have to hit *us* over the head with a brick (or maybe you do) so we go back to our room. We continue to graze - because there's no such thing as a bad time for M&Ms - and blab for a while. (I hope our neighbor Ed wasn't trying to sleep or anything crazy like that.) We finally shut up around 4:30 a.m. Debbie has to get up early tomorrow, but the rest of us don't have to go anywhere until 10:00. We crash. I get up to go to the bathroom around 8:30 and I notice that Debbie is already gone. The alarm had gone off, Debbie had showered and blow-dried her hair and none of us even rolled over! We then get a call telling us that our shuttle to the airport is actually leaving at 9:15 and not 10:00, so we all take super quick showers. Mom and Dad stop by for a hug and kiss. (They're still beaming, by the way.) They thank us for giving them such a thrill and we thank them for being so... *them*. :-) It's quite a love-fest. Then we're off to the lobby and to the airport.
We're psycho early for our flights, so we get some breakfast (Zing! also loves breakfast, especially me.) We are surprisingly awake and actually read through a new song (a little tough without a baritone, but not bad). Tracy and Linda's flight gets called first, so I have a nice talk with Dick Treptow and Diane Levin (Area 2 Rep, Presentation judge, and fellow Women of Note member).
Our flight gets called eventually and we're off to Halifax... or so I think... We're *actually* off to Monckton... then to Halifax... then to Boston. (The last time we took off I really thought I was going to hurl.) We eventually land in Boston, clear Customs, then I get on a bus to the `burbs. My husband picks me up at the bus station. I see that he has gone grocery shopping and, when I get home, notice that he's also done the laundry -- he hasn't folded anything, of course, but, let's not expect miracles here. He cooks dinner and I settle in to write Chapter 1...
And there the story ends (for now...)
I'd like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all the people who have been so supportive of Zing! and me. A special thank you to our coaches, Chris Peterson of The Management, and Diane Levin, as well as our coaches by tape, Wayne Wright and Tom Gentry.
We have been overwhelmed by the response we have gotten from people, especially from Harmony, Inc. For all of you who took the time to pull us aside to give us a comment or a hug, please know that we cherish every one.
Thank you also to the people who have dropped me a line regarding these accounts. I have really enjoyed hearing from you. All of Zing! is on line, so feel free to contact us...
Bass, Women of Note
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