The Woodlands Show Chorus participated in the Sweet Adelines International Convention and Competition in Baltimore, Maryland in early November 2014. We earned the right to compete there by winning the regional competition in March 2013. This was our first time to compete at the international level. We were very excited to represent Region 10 and worked diligently to enhance our vocal skills and performance skills.
Our week started with a rehearsal on Monday evening, November 3. At this rehearsal, we had the privilege and the joy of having Jim Arns, Renee Porzel, and Carol Persinger with us. They provided us with an avalanche of reminders and a few new tidbits to keep our gray matter whirling around in our heads. What a rush! We were already excited about competing; their good wishes sent us headlong into a week of “firsts”and hopeful anticipation.
We had one rehearsal each day, during which we concentrated on the task at hand AND we managed to laugh a lot and to recognize the sheer joy of participation. Thousands of SAI members would love to be in our shoes. We were (and are) aware of how lucky we are to have an extremely talented and dedicated director, Betty Clipman. She continually guides us and shares her vision with us.
At our rehearsal on Wednesday, Ryan Heller joined us and tried to remain silent ;-) but was unsuccessful! He shared some gems with us, identifying several phrases where a slight change would make a positive difference in our performance. Ryan’s selflessness (offering coaching advice to TWSC while his own chorus – Pride of Portland – is competing in the same contest) serves to illustrate the love of music and the giving spirit of those associated with our “hobby”.
On Thursday, TWSC members gathered for breakfast, followed by a rehearsal. This was The Big Day that we had been anticipating. We ran through our “set” (the two competition songs, sung back-to-back, with a break for applause in between) several times, pausing for observations and reminders after each set. The two songs: Time After Time and All Bound ‘round the Mason Dixon Line. After rehearsal we headed to our hotel rooms to apply our stage makeup, style our hair appropriately for stage, and present ourselves one at a time for approval by the makeup, hair, and costume committees We needed to fit in a midday meal as best we could manage.
Then we had a few minutes to relax (actually to do whatever each member would find helpful to keep her concentration intact and to be sufficiently rested and “ready”.) We gathered in the hotel lobby at the appointed time and boarded several buses for the short ride to the arena. Once in the arena, we passed through the backstage traffic pattern and sang briefly in the warmup room. Then we were off to perform for an audience of 8000 of our closest friends plus several thousand more on the webcast!!!
We sang both songs… I just KNOW that we did… It just went so fast for us!! Bunches of us gathered in the lobby after exiting the stage. We shared our feelings and our thoughts about our performance. We felt very good about how we sang and performed and Betty seemed pleased also.
When the final contestant had performed and the scores were tallied, we learned that, of the regional winners and 5 wild-card choruses (33 choruses, total, from around the world), TWSC had placed 14th!! Considering that this was our first venture in competing at the international level, we were proud and happy of our accomplishment. We believe that we have much to learn and that our future journeys to international competitions will yield even higher scores and placements. The future looks bright for The Woodlands Show Chorus!!!