2010 Mid Winter convention --- LITE version
- Another wonderfilled week in the "sun" (?????) and a million little facts and stories.
There simply isn't enough space or time in my world to report everything that happened or was said. Therefore, I will just bullet point some highlights for everyone.
* This was a record breaker---an all time record attendance for a mid winter. The Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center's largest hall (2200) was SOLD OUT for the Saturday night show. (And we were competing with the city of Tampa holding their largest annual event---The Gasparilla Festival.
* Next years Mid Winter will be held NOT in Tucson, as advertised, but in LAS VEGAS. Dusty Schleier reports that we have an entire section of an old North End of the Strip Hotel that has been gutted and completely remodeled. All events and housing will be in one location. You don't even have to go out into that gorgeous sun and high desert air. Little side trip when you are finished down to Tucson to enjoy the International Gem and Mineral Show.
* Eleven Youth Choruses competed with 350 young singers on the risers. The largest was the Canadian contingent which represented one sixth of all competitors and drew singers from several districts. By the way, my "old" friend William (age 13) was there with his dad. We sang a couple of tags and then I got buried in Youth.
* The winning chorus, directed by Chris Vaughan and Matt Swann scored 83.5. In the College Quartet Competition, it took 13 years to achieve an "A" level score. The Youth Chorus achieved that level in just 3 years. Hold on to your hats!!!!! It looks like we found the mother lode.
After performing their two required BBSHOP songs, each group could sing a song of their own choosing. The Youth from 52 Eighty chose "Ave Maria" and brought the audience to stunned silence. They performed it again on the Saturday night show with the same results. I was privileged to share United Airlines Flight 159 into Denver with the entire chorus plus Matt and Chris.
* Dusty says registrations for Philly are running AHEAD of some of our most highly attended conventions. If you are thinking about waiting until the last minute, you may be hanging from the rafters. Just to make certain that you have a seat, order one fast-----DO IT NOW!!!
* We had a short discussion on the net just prior to Tampa about singing with the guys with all the medals. Fred Farrell of Crossroads said that they put their pants on just one leg at a time like most of us---therefore just go ask them. I noticed Jim, Mike and Brandon just standing together in the hotel lobby, waiting for Fred. I waited awhile for Fred to join them, as I wanted him to introduce me to our champs. Fred stayed talking and talking so I just went up and introduced myself and was most graciously received.
After a few words, I stepped away and they remained waiting for Fred. I sensed that they might be just a bit lonely without their tenor, so I offered my services at once. Actually, I asked them to sing a tag with me that was "simple, old and wouldn't embarrass me". They referred my request to Mike and while he was pondering the problem, I asked to sing "From the First Hello to the Last Goodbye (the high tag).
Off we went in song. However, I must report that they did not consider my advanced years at all. They just sang it like they always do, nothing held back.
WOW! Need I say more? When we were finished, they thanked me before I recovered and was able to thank them. How wonderful of our wonderful champs. I might just consider only singing with medallists in the future. So if you don't have a medal, don't even ask. (Just kidding).
Fred was right---just ask---they love to sing and didn't get to be champs just because of their good looks. They are all great guys and willing to encourage even old guys like me.
* The storied and famous Dixieland Band, under the direction of our Harmonious President Bill Biffle, performed in the libation center on Thursday night. Joining them for the second time was a wonderful banjo player and cabaret style singer who will be mentioned in the next posting about the Youth Enrichment Program. Don't fail to read it.
* The AISQC welcomed some new members as Resisting Arrest became the 2010 International Senior Quartet Champions and were unbelievably wonderful and gracious in their acceptance on the Saturday night show. I played a major and key role in this whole thing by "volunteering" (under the direction of the strangely (and conveniently) disappearing Ken Buckner) to ice and carry the champagne for the AISQC welcoming reception. However, after all of my hard work, I was ejected from the reception. HARUMPH!!!!! Congratulations to our new champs. They were superb!
* Had some great moments and a great chat with Lorin May, the awarding winning editor of the Harmonizer (well he ought to be). We had a far ranging conversation that covered just about everything in our lives. He is just as charming and marvelous in real life as he demonstrates in the superb quality of his work. Lorin said he came to Mid Winter for the youth and he was everywhere that the kids were. Lorin is really with the Youth Programs and supporting our recruiting and retention efforts with all his heart. We are truly blessed that he is on our staff.
* Also blessing us was our Youth Programs director who I get to know a little more every week (we are on a society committee together). James was also out in front of the youth parade all weekend. When it was all over, I caught up with him at approx 2:00 AM in the HQ lobby (my wife thinks that's where our room was). We talked about the youth and the society and kids and our own families. What a wonderful way to end a wonder-filled convention.
* Just one final note: Prior to the convention starting, our 2009 College Quartet Champs, the Vagrants, did some local school visitations in the Tampa Bay area. By some chance, they visited the school which my grand-daughter Shannon attends. Shannon got it. Her Dad brought her to the Youth Chorus contest and SHE ASKED to attend the Saturday night show. After the show, SHE ASKED to accompany me to the HQ's hotel to listen to the lobby singing.
While we were there, I approached 3 time quartet Gold medallist, Tony DeRosa, also the Director (in his spare time) of a Top Ten SAI chorus (the Toast of Tampa Show Chorus) who had done their International performance package on the mid winter Friday night show. I asked Tony if they considered girls as young as Shannon for chapter/chorus membership. His affirmative reply included a caveat something like "if they behave themselves". Tony also gave me all the information about meeting time and location, which I passed along to her Dad, my son Tom.
Unbeknown to me, Shannon also approached Tony and received the same information about the meetings and also found out that they are having a guest night on Tuesday (tomorrow). My daughter in law Kelly called me yesterday at the airport to let me know that Shannon was demanding to be taken to the guest night.
If you don't think we can do some good in the schools, just consider what one little visit by a quartet and a little mentoring did for Shannon. If she doesn't join up this year, I know she will in the near future.
It could be your granddaughter or grandson.
Blessings to all, wish you were there. Please don't ever miss another Mid Winter.
Montana Jack, keeping the faith and keeping it barbershop
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