By Becky Wilkins, bass of Crystal Collection
The first event we attended was the Comedy Quartet contest. We laughed until our sides hurt and tears were streaming down our faces! My favorites:
Jurassic Larks, winners of the SPEBSQSA International Seniors Quartet contest on their very first try. They had a wonderful sound, and wore pastel colored leisure suits (where did they find those?), plus they were hysterical.
Brooks Brothers, who came out dressed as huge sumo wrestlers - the visual comedy was fabulous! (they won the contest).
Troubadors, who sang great parodies, including a song about a guy who went overseas for three years, comes home to a wife and new baby, and when he questions the baby's age, is told "Benny's from heaven" to the tune of "Pennies from Heaven" - great stuff! OK4 (with Jim Massey, OK City director as lead, and Frank Friedeman, director of Tulsa Jubilee as tenor) were funnier than I have ever heard them.
The judges consisted of 4 SAI's, 5 SPEB's, and 1 Harmony Inc., and the first few rows of the audience got to judge entertainment. Since CC sang towards the end of the regular quartet contest, we missed seeing most of those competitors.
The Grand Champions were Crystal Clear, and some of the Prairie Winds folks will know their bari, Susie Bonds, who used to be RichTone's assistant director. Second was a SPEB quartet called Permanent Vacation - look for good things from them at men's International. CC was pleased (and surprised!) that our name was called as 2nd in the women's category and we got 5th overall.
We went to the Buckeye hospitality room afterwards and got to hear some fine quartets, including Permanent Vacation and the Troubadors, from about 3 feet away. It's a lot more fun that way!
The chorus contest the next day was awesome. The winner of that contest was the Harborlites from California. Their director is Pam Pieson, who was part of the wonderful International Champion quartet, Panache. There were foreign competitors in all the contests, from Britain and Germany.
The Stars of the Night show featured several fantastic SPEBSQSA International Champ quartets, including Revival (1998), Yesteryear (1997), and Fred (1999). The experience was indescribable, hearing overtones from start to finish, and still laughing until I couldn't breathe, and getting teary eyed during the ballads.
This is a great contest to attend if you like to laugh, if you like to see great barbershop from men's and women's groups, and if you want to see what a wide variety of groups there are that can call themselves barbershop performers.
Below is a review by Jade Walker on CC's Buckeye performance:
Crystal Collection (SA Region 25) began with "Red Red Robin". Bass Becky Wilkins took a turn at the melody (go for it!) Next was the ballad "Who'll Take My Place?" and a jazzy version of "Straighten Up and Fly Right". In "The Moment I Saw Your Eyes", bari Tina Scarborough was upstaging the quartet with her pregnant belly, giving significant looks on "Well, when did it happen?" and "look at me", for example. Tina grew more and more agitated throughout the song, and when the quartet looked at her right after the song, she gave a desperate "it's time" nod, and they pulled her offstage.