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Competition Day 3 – Rehearsal, Queens, and Ringmasters…Oh My!

This is an exciting day (11/7)! Tonight we will see a quartet crowned (literally) as the 2015 Queens of Harmony. We only have one rehearsal today from 12pm-3pm, so we should be able to see some of the contest.

What a glorious feeling to be able to sleep in without an alarm. My roommates and I had closed the curtains last night so we could sleep uninterrupted. We woke up and ate brunch in the hotel before heading over to rehearsal. The first part of rehearsal was spent reviewing some choreography for our finals package. The finals package is made up of two contest songs and then whatever else the chorus wants to do for no more than 15 minutes. So usually we focus heavily on the two semifinals contests songs and the two finals contest songs. This means we may need a refresher on some of the choreography for the non-contest songs. After all, out of the 3280 points in a perfect score, 80 points are for “entertainment.” Basically, how good of show did you put on?

I happen to be on the Visual Team, so part of my job is being a good example of the correct choreography and coach anyone who needs help. So the team spent about an hour working the finishing touches of the contest set and then the director started running full sets with us.

At this point, we are all starting to show signs of fatigue. As singers, we already know the right things to do: get plenty of sleep, drink a TON of water, little talking, zero yelling, little laughter, and keeping our voices warm as much as possible. However, traveling and this much excitement are taking its toll on our collective energy. We have to rehearse enough to feel prepared, but not so much that we ruin our voices before we hit the stage. It’s a delicate balance.

After a productive rehearsal, we get some unique orders about our costumes. In order to keep the tops from slowly riding up, our costume designer has suggested that we pin them to our undergarments. So she has graciously agreed to stay in one of the ballrooms and pin as many people as possible.

My hotel roommates and I head straight for the convention center because we want to see the new queens get their crowns. We arrive just in time for…a break in the competition. So we decide to hit the Harmony Bazaar one last time. Once the competition resumes, we get to see the last couple of quartets. While there is much speculation about who the winner will be, there seems to be an agreement that it will either be Speed of Sound or Bling!

And the winner is….(drumroll)…Bling!

Bling!

They get to don the beautiful crowns and be retired into Sweet Adelines history. They can never compete again as that particular quartet, but they will most likely stay together to be booked on shows around the country, maybe a few other countries too. In the future, no more than two of them from this particular quartet can form another quartet together. However, there is no rule against four different queens from four different quartets competing together. We had two of those quartets compete this year, in fact.

After we see Bling! crowned, we head back to the hotel to get into our pajamas and watch the Coronet Club Show on the webcast. The Coronet Club Show, for those of you who do not already know, is a show put on by past quartet champions. The queens of harmony form a large, talent-filled chorus and perform several songs. They also have guest performances from other groups. This year, the 2012 men’s international champions Ringmasters will perform. I’m particularly excited about this because they were on our annual show, but I didn’t get to hear them from the audience perspective.

The show is fantastic. We got to hear songs performed by great champion quartets like Growing Girls, Showtime, The BUZZ, Martini, Love Notes, and more. Mostly, it served as a reminder for all the CDs I haven’t purchased yet. My list is getting longer.

We have a couple of guests in our room to enjoy the webcast with us, one of the mother/daughter combos we have in the chorus. We have five total mother/daughter pairs! But I digress. The daughter is the youngest member of the chorus, just 16 years old. At the very mention of Ringmasters, she squeals with delight.

Ringmasters

When they take the stage, I begin to wonder if we need the paramedics on standby in case she hits the ceiling or injures someone in the room by bouncing off the walls. The other thing I noticed is that the baritone of Ringmasters (Emanuel) is…expressive? Is that a good word? I don’t know. I had trouble translating the movements of his body while he was singing. But our young guest couldn’t get enough. The rest of us were all talking about Rasmus, who sang tenor on the show, but apparently sings has sung lead in the past. Rasmus looks like he could be in the next Avengers movie: perfectly square jawline and charm to spare. Personally, I have a thing for Martin. It’s always the basses that get me.

Emanuel

Emanuel, baritone: “I’m in love (uh-hubhubhubhlllll). I’m all shook up.”

And then the moment that the teenage groupie has been waiting for: they’re going to sing All Shook Up. This is the baritone’s solo, and his…unique physical performance gets turned up to 11. Here, see for yourself:

And every time he does that signature move, I’m convinced the young’un will start crying and fainting like it’s a Beatles concert. The rest of us are just laughing. I’m not sure whether we were laughing more at her reaction or his performance, but it was amusing all around. They really are fantastic singers; I have two of their CDs. You should, too. Their rendition of Blackbird is so moving.

Well the end of the night has come, and even though we don’t have a 5:00am breakfast tomorrow, we still need as much rest as possible.

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