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Annie Mac Notes from Seattle - Friday Oct 22

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  • themcalexanders
    I almost forgot to mention our chorus dinner on Thursday evening, which is where we headed after our brief post-contest in-room decompression. Ever since we
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 5, 2011
      I almost forgot to mention our chorus dinner on Thursday evening, which is where we headed after our brief post-contest in-room decompression.

      Ever since we wore our zebra costumes in Calgary -- comfy black slacks and a black top with bias-cut zebra-patterned panels -- Capital City members have adopted a zebra theme for just about everything. We refer to ourselves as "the herd", and we snatch up just about every zebra item in sight at any store we visit. So when we entered the room for dinner that evening, Maggie and I were hit full-on with lots and lots of zebra-wear! But it was cool-looking, too. It's a great way to unify without having to dress alike.

      We found a couple seats at a fun table, and waited for the buffet to open. This was going to be something different – A "potato bar," but not in the traditional slice-the-spud-and-dump-the-toppings-on sense. No, this was much more elegant. The potatoes had been scooped out of the skins, seasoned, and put in large tubs so that they looked like big containers of ice cream. The servers put a big scoop of potato in what looked like a long-necked martini glass, handed it to us, and then we went along the bar and dressed it with our toppings of choice. Pretty cool, and while it was not intended to be a full dinner, it was pretty satisfying.

      We all had a good time debriefing about the day, hearing the feedback, and cheering about singing on Saturday. We hung out for awhile, then eventually we went up to the room, enjoyed some roommate chat, and went to bed. We really had fun rooming with Sally and Sharon. It was fun to catch up with Sally and find out what her family was up to many years after she and I had last talked about them. It's hard to believe it's been almost 30 years since I met her when I first joined Capital City. She and I are both much too young for that to be possible!

      Friday morning we were up at the crack of dawn for the second day in a row. Maggie and I had two rehearsals that morning – One for the Family Chorus, and one with Capital City. Yes, even the mic testers rehearse intensely before the Saturday performance. It may not officially count, but we wanted to make it count in the audience's mind anyway!

      The Family Chorus this year was directed by our Region 4 friends, mother/daughter team Char Gurney (who was also judging this week) and Kerry Denino (who was also running around in her super-duper crown to all her queenly activities). Busy ladies! We'd been told ahead of time to bring a yellow top and blue jeans to wear for the Family Chorus performance at the end of the Chorus Finals session on Saturday, so Maggie and I had gone out shopping the week before and found a couple tops that were a nice sunshiny yellow color. I'm not a big yellow person (with my hair about the same color as the top, I feel like wearing yellow makes me look like a big lemon), but these were okay – definitely good for blending in with the Family Chorus crowd.

      Our songs were "One of Those Songs," and "You're Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile." After we and a couple hundred of our best related-to-each-other friends sang through both the songs, Char and Kerry explained that the plan was to intersperse some scripted jokes in several spots in "Songs," then close with "Smile," which we'd embellish with a little choreography. So we worked for an hour to learn the plan, and with some slight modifications – like putting the jokes all in one spot toward the end of the first song instead of interspersed – we all felt confident that with one more rehearsal we'd be ready to go. Maggie was picked to be one-half of one of the joke telling pairs (I think there were four jokes altogether), so she was excited that she was going to have a speaking role on the international stage. Wow, wish I could have done that at the age of 14! Awesome!

      As soon as we were done there, we joined CCC's rehearsal, which was already in progress. We slipped up onto the risers, and had fun watching Molly, Bev, and the front row make some minor tweaks to our performance package closing number, Sisters, with what we hoped would be great humorous effect.

      We'd presented an Irving Berlin-themed dinner show in August of 2009 as a fundraiser for our international trip, an elaborate affair with a big-ticket live auction, silent auction, and sit-down dinner. One by-product of that show, in addition to raising enough to cover the cost of the international all-events tickets for all of our competing members, was our Irving Berlin-themed show package. The package opens with Blue Skies (I had no idea when I heard Willie Nelson singing it back in the `70s that it was an Irving Berlin classic), follows with contestable songs What'll I Do and Alexander's Ragtime Band, and closes with our somewhat madcap version of Sisters, that explains how we deal with our two co-directors, Bev Miller and Molly Huffman, who in many ways are just like sisters.

      We didn't rehearse for our whole allotted time, a good thing because we were all pretty tired from the day before. We still had some time before the quartet finals started, so Maggie and I walked down the street and found a sandwich shop, picked up some food, and took it back to our room so we could relax for awhile. When we got back to the room and sat down, we realized then just how tired we really were.

      So do you know what we did? Something I never, ever thought I'd do at an international convention. We stayed in the room. That's right, you heard it here first. The McAlexander girls did NOT go to the arena for the quartet finals. We were THAT tired.

      However, part of our decision was based on the fact that we knew we could get the webcast on our laptops in the room, so we decided we'd "attend" the finals that way this year. And actually, it wasn't bad. No, considering how tired we were, it was actually the best solution possible.

      Maggie also wanted to check to see if she'd missed anything monumental during the six days she'd been away from her first trimester of her first year of high school (she hadn't), so she sat down on the bed with her laptop while I tuned in to the webcast. Within about 15 minutes Maggie was … You guessed it … Sound asleep. Poor kid! She was exhausted. She ended up sleeping through the entire quartet finals.

      I, on the other hand, was glued to the webcast screen, and also, thanks to extricating the second laptop from Maggie's tightly clasped hands after she fell asleep sitting up on the bed, to the barbershop chat room, which I didn't even have to flip back and forth to like I usually do since I had two screens up and running. I looked a little like Mission Control, sitting there in the corner of our room at the Sheraton with one laptop up on the window ledge next to me and one perched on the small round glass table in front of me.

      If you watch the webcast and don't simultaneously access the barbershop chat room, you're missing out on some fun. I've done this for years, any time I've been watching a barbershop webcast, and I've "met" barbershoppers from all over the world in there, many of whom have become real, in-person friends when I've met them later at a convention. We not only share our own running commentary (which is usually positive and very interesting) about each of the contestants, but we also swap barbershop stories and chat about our own chapters. There's almost always a barbershop "celebrity" or two in there (champion quartet members, champion chorus directors, etc.), and it's fun to hear their take on things as well as some of their stories about their own experiences.

      So there I was, holed up in the hotel room, too tired to hop on a bus and go over to the arena. And there I stayed, while Maggie slept. And slept. And slept. Neither of us moved for, literally, hours. And eventually I was starting to feel like maybe I was coming down with something. Uh, oh. Well, at least that would explain why I was SO tired. I watched all of the finals, and watched Max Factor get their crowns, and watched everyone sing to them, and I sang, too, in the quiet of my hotel room, with a sleeping Maggie. Not exactly my usual International experience, but still fun nonetheless.

      We had another chorus dinner planned for that night, which made the logistics easy for those planning to go to the Coronet Club show. I'd kind of wanted to go to the show, but I left it up to Maggie. We usually wait and get our tickets at the convention, and I asked Maggie several times when we were in or near Harmony Bazaar if she wanted to go, because we could get our tickets while we were there. But she couldn't decide.

      When she finally woke up on Friday afternoon, I asked her again. This time she soundly vetoed it. She was exhausted, and since we still had to sing tomorrow, she said she'd rather just hang out in the room and get to bed early. I understood, but have to admit I was a little disappointed. I always enjoy those shows a lot, and they're not webcast, so this meant I wouldn't get to see it at all. But if giving up the show was our main concession in order to keep up with the rigors of performing both on Thursday and Saturday, so be it. A small price to pay!

      One plus about spending the afternoon in the room was that we were able to get dressed and go down to our dinner before most of the rest of the chorus showed up from the quartet finals. A few other herd members were starting to trickle in to our chorus room when we got down there, and the room filled up over about the next 15 minutes. This meal was our chorus feast for the trip, featuring prime rib and some other yummy stuff. Dinner went pretty quickly because many were on their way back to the arena for the Coronet Club show. We weren't the only ones pooping out. We rode up in the elevator after dinner with several other chorus members who'd decided to take a pass on the show. Never mind that they were mostly about 20-30 years older than me, and scores older than Maggie. They hadn't been there for over a week like we had, or had all the fun we'd had so far. I guess it was understandable why we were so tired!

      After her long nap, Maggie was in great shape. I, other the other hand, felt pretty crummy. I figured I'd probably picked up a bug of some kind. Yuck! Hopefully I'd get through Saturday okay, and get back home before it hit in earnest. So while Maggie went upstairs to the fitness center to work out, I crawled into bed and was asleep by about 9pm. Those of you who've hung out with me at afterglows know that I'm usually one of the last dogs to die, and that's not usually until around 2-3am. So for me to climb into bed before 9pm, especially in the middle of an international convention, was huge. I didn't even hear Maggie or our roomies come home later. I was OUT!

      Ann McAlexander
      Capital City Chorus, Region 4, SAI
      BHS wife, mom, and Associate
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