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From: Debbie Warwick

Hello all,
As you may have read in Kay Bromert's reports, I attended the Saturday evening show which closed the first Sweet Adelines International Education Symposium. From all appearances this appears to have been a very successful, very intensive 4-day workshop.

I drove down from Georgetown (just over 100 miles to the north) arriving a little after 5pm. I found Trinity University easily and also drove right to Laurie Auditorium where the evening's show would take place. Unfortunately the show didn't start for another 3 hours, so I decided I really needed to locate the dining hall since that's probably where everyone would be for a while. I had written Kay earlier in the week and mentioned that I would be coming down, and I would try to locate her. (We met in Anaheim, so I knew what she looked like. I felt pretty sure I would find her there prior to the show. I was wrong!

I parked my car and was starting to walk up the hill (everything is uphill at Trinity) and who should I meet coming down the hill but Rumors and their Royal Entourage. I greeted Peggy Barnes and (first things first!) asked if she remembered to save me one of their brand new "hot off the press" CDs - "Rumors are Flying!" She sadly said that they had SOLD OUT on Wednesday! I asked how many they brought, and she answered, "We had FOUR HUNDRED of them Fed-Ex'd down here from the publisher!"

Well, DUH.... IES maxxed out at 1400 attendees! I think *I* would have brought at LEAST that many! What I don't understand is why they were SURPRISED that they sold out! Gee, maybe they haven't yet figured out that they are "stars"! (I guess they really don't act like "stars" so that must be it!)

Anyway, back to the subject.

I asked Peggy how to get to the dining hall, and she helped me get there. (That's the short version of the story.) Finally inside, I found the place PACKED with people and wonderful smells. (I'd eaten on the drive down, so I wasn't tortured too badly by the aromas wafting through the room, but they still smelled pretty appetizing..) I browsed through the area like Dr. Seuss's baby bird asking everyone I ran into, "Have you seen Kay Bromert?" "Have you seen Kay Bromert?" If you can believe it, most of the people didn't know Kay, but Jim Massey did say he had seen her "somewhere". Thanks, Jim. :-|

Since I was unable to attend the symposium, I decided to do some informal interviewing to try to get a feel for how it was received by those who did attend, either as students or faculty. During the evening and the following morning I managed to talk to at least 30 people getting responses that covered a wide range of opinions. On the whole, nearly everyone agreed that it was an enormous success!

While the complaints basically fell into only two categories, (Physical Discomforts and Scheduling) the praises were almost as varied as the number of people I spoke with.

There were many who apparently did a fair imitation of sponges, soaking it all up and begging for more. Whether in the Arrangers Track or the Chorus Track (or nearly a dozen others) there were plenty who just wallowed in the opportunity to learn from the well educated, well respected faculty members. Most everyone agreed that the class content for their particular Track was excellent!

I didn't get any program or course material so I couldn't even begin to list who was there, or who did what, but it would most definitely make a good start on a "Who's Who in Sweet Adelines". I heard numerous variations of the following sentence: "I've been in this organization for XX number of years (always double digits) and have probably been ______ (judged, coached, etc.) by (insert name here) numerous times, but this is the first time I've actually gotten the chance to MEET her!" An added bonus was if they got time to visit with them at some point during the week.

One very new director expressed great relief at discovering that even the top-notch Master directors go through the same kinds of difficulties and deal with the same problems that the rookies experience. Sharing the classes with them, either as a fellow students or as instructors, seemed to be equally rewarding. A couple of judges I spoke with, who were on the faculty, felt that the scheduling was too tight and too intense. Another lamented that they were all so busy they never got a chance to enjoy each other's company.

Most of the student complaints about scheduling involved having so little time between classes. Trinity's campus would be a great location for a health resort. There's no way you can attend classes there on a regular basis and not improve your fitness level! Those attending who have difficulty negotiating FLAT terrain had little chance of making it around there without a motorized scooter. I heard there were quite a few falls during the 5 days of the symposium. I didn't hear if any of those resulted in serious injury, but I hope not!.

The other complaints involved the weather. (IMHO, anyone deciding to come to Texas in July, and not including the beach in the venue, should probably have their head examined.) I live here, but I know better than to go traipsing about in the midday heat. (That's why God created Air Conditioning!) Actually those who are familiar with Texas weather know that this wasn't really that bad either. Things could have been worse. It could have been LAST summer. By this date in 1998 we'd already had 30 days of over 100 degrees. This year we've had none, and with the added bonus of a lot of rain, the temps have been kept down. Yes, it could have been MUCH worse.

The "Afterglow" in the courtyard was really wonderful. Highlights included seeing the Harmonettes (YWIH quartet) strut their dance stuff with Rumors' supplying the musical accompaniment by singing "We Are Family." Dale introduced them to the crowd saying, "For the first time anywhere... The Rumors Solid Gold Dancers!"

Another bright spot was seeing Julie Ann Garcia, the (possibly 6 year old) daughter of a member of the Alamo Metro Chorus. Julie Anne sang "It's Time To Sing Sweet Adeline Again" in a quartet! Peggy Barnes was enthralled, as were we all. (Peggy's entrall was just at closer range!) I guess you might say it was a quintet, since Julie Ann's mom helped a bit by singing behind her. However, as Dale Syverson observed, she was often there ahead of the others with the words, and she didn't seem to be relying on mom's help too much for the notes either! She gathered one of the biggest crowds and definitely the most encouraging ovation of any performance that evening! What a sweetheart!!

The focus of the week was obviously the classes and the wealth of training available, but the secondary focus was on the youth. I never saw anyone pass up an opportunity to encourage the young ladies, and they were obviously having the time of their lives. I understand there are some regions who have started a youth contest in conjunction with their regional contests, and I think its a wonderful idea!

I'm so grateful for the chance to participate in this, even on a short term basis. This very first IES looks to be the launch of a truly wonderful addition to the educational offerings available from Sweet Adelines Int'l. Maybe next year I can manage to work it into my schedule a little better!

Thanks to Kay Bromert for sharing so much of it with us! I've already asked her if she's interested in being the Harmonet Reporter in Atlanta, but like me, she doesn't have enough leave time from work.

Jade.... Are you out there????

Debbie Warwick,
--who thinks that paper plate thing Charla did was just about the coolest group activity she's ever seen!

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