From: Kay Bromert
Sally Eggleston, from my home Region 20, was the MC for the evening, and she kept us laughing as only Sally can do as she recounted some of the history of our organization. She has been directing the Cedar Rhapsody Chorus for 41 years, so she had a LOT of memories to share throughout the evening.
Introductions were made again for Pat LeVezu, Betty Clipman, and Lorraine Barrows, all of whom have been instrumental in putting this week together. A big thank you was given to the headquarters staff who have been so efficient behind the scenes, and the faculty received a standing ovation. As Sally began to tell us about things "the way they used to be", she was suddenly interrupted by Britt-Helene Bonnedahl, who came out dressed as a ring master, blowing a whistle, and out of both sides came the Alpha chorus. They were all in various types of circus costumes, including lots of clowns and tricksters of all kinds. The first number was Give 'Em a Show They'll Never Forget, with lots of cute tricks and fun choreography. Then they sang Laugh Clown Laugh, a serious ballad, but they put some swaying choreography into the middle and made it funny. Very entertaining. At the end, they all ran off the risers toward the audience, then stopped in a line and took a serious bow. It was a fun package.
Next up were the Rising Star quartet winners, The Dazzling Diamonds. They wore black pants and sparkly sequin blue jackets. They did a nice rendition of Yesterday, alluding to the changes in their lives since they won the contest yesterday. Then they did a great performance of I'm a Blonde, with the tenor singing the solo. I'm still amazed that these girls are only 9th and 10th graders. They are a fine little quartet.
Bravo Chorus, under the direction of June Dale, was next. They came down from the audience in bobby soxer outfits - blue jeans, your dad's white shirt, one poodle skirt, and June in jeans and a leather jacket. The poodle skirt turned out to be Dale Syverson, and she sidled up to the mike and started to sing a solo, meanwhile popping her gum and pulling it out of her mouth. As the chorus joined in, she left the stage, and they sang I'm Just Breezing Along With the Breeze and Jutebox Saturday Night. The choreography was fun and well done. Another chorus that had a good time! Kathy Carmody came out next and directed the audience in Blue Skies, and while we were singing, Dolly Mixtures, the Young Women In Harmony chorus, came down to the stage. Char Gurney has been directing them all week, as the Rising Star quartets have been in the Young Women in Harmony track. Each quartet had on the costume from last night's contest, except The Dazzling Diamonds, of course, who had on tonight's costume. They sang Life Could Be a Dream, and what a sound for such young girls! Three of them came out front to give their thanks, and they explained the meaning of their name. In England, Dolly Mixtures is a type of candy with all different flavors and pieces in it, so since the girls are from everywhere, they thought it would be an appropriate name. And it was. The second number was a two-hankie job, I'll Be Your Candle on the Water. During the singing, a mother or coach, not sure which, came right down on the stage and took pictures. The audience murmured a little at first, but you know, it just seemed to fit and be OK under the circumstances. They received a well-deserved standing ovation. Tuxedo Junction was the next song the audience sang, directed by Pat LeVezu, and then Jan Muck and the Delta Chorus came down onto the stage. They were wearing red or pink shirts, not at all the same color, but close enough to give us the idea. They sang That Old Feeling, which was very nice, and When My Sugar Walks Down the Street. It had great choreography, including 3 folks who held up stuffed parrots for the birdies who went "tweet tweet tweet". At the end, 4 ladies came to the front and lay down on the stage propped on their elbows, then they got up on hands and knees as the rest of the front row joined them for a cheerleader style ending, with Jan on the backs of two of them. It was a cute and fun package! Betty Clipman directed us in Just One of Those Things, and then the Echo Chorus, under the direction of Lori Lyford, came down. They were wearing white pants or shorts and tops of various colors, mostly red, blue, and yellow, but a smattering of other colors as well. They sang When I Fall In Love and Get Happy, and the audience obviously loved them because they leapt to their many feet at the end of the performance. It was very nicely done.
All four of these choruses were made up of "Molly Members" who have been in the chorus track all week. This gave them a chance to sing under a Master Director, and it was obvious that they had put a lot of work into what they did. I'm sure they must have had a wonderful week.
Several Master Directors were introduced, then Dale Syverson, still in her poodle skirt, and Charla Clare, the Rumors tenor whose name I couldn't remember on an earlier post, came out with what was probably the most unique thing that happened all week. Around the auditorium paper plates had been placed by each row. We were to pass them down so that each person had two of them. BTW, the auditorium was pretty well filled for this performance, so there were LOTS of paper plates. Staff came around with extras to be sure all of us got two of them. Charla told us that she was the leader and we were to imitate whatever she did with the two paper plates. A tape started that had bird and wilderness sounds, something like Natural Wonders might have. She sat on the floor and did lovely, graceful moves with the paper plates, sometimes like a beautiful butterfly, sometimes like a bird soaring, and other soft, restful moves. Then the music began to change, she stood up, and before we knew it, we were hearing Gaite Parisian (Can Can music), and she was dancing, bobbing, kicking, reaching, and it went on from there. I glanced at a group standing stage right, watching the audience. I hope someone got a video of this nonsense, because I'll bet it was a real hoot to see the goings on.
What could follow this but intermission?? And who should come up the steps but Debbie Warrick, digital camera in hand. She asked Muriel and me if we wanted to move down and sit with her, so we traded our ho-hum seats for 4th row center for the rest of the show. We were right behind the big Mucky Mucks, and I felt special!
Alamo Metro Chorus, the local San Antonio group and Atlanta bound, was the featured chorus for the second half. They came out in Mexican dress of all kinds, with a four-piece Mexican band playing and singing as they filed onto the risers. Marcy Scofield, co-director, was dressed in a black Spanish dancer dress with many rows of sequins, and she was barefoot. No hurtful Sweet Adeline shoes for her! There were also people dressed as a Margarita, a jalapeņo pepper, Willie Nelson, the Spirit of the Americas statue, and a Mexican army officer, among others. It was enjoyable to see their costume creativity. The band finished playing and left the stage, and the chorus sang I Found Paradise In San Anton, which put us all in a fiesta mood. During this number, we saw imitations of famous people born in San Antonio - Vicki Carr, Carol Burnett, the Spurs NBA champs, which led to a mention of Alamo Metro's own "twin towers", Sasha and Sonya Perez, twins who are the lead and bari in Natural High, Region 10 champs who were mike testers at the Rising Star contest. Next was the Lone Star Is On the Rise Again medley, which had lots of fun stuff in it. Mary Ann Wydra, the other co-director, came out next and directed a jazz number which was all syllables. Reminded me of the Swingle Singers, although this was not classical music, this was definitely jazz. The audience approved! They were determined to give us a great show, and we really got our money's worth, because Mary Ann next directed It Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing, which was super, and then Marcy came back to direct A Nightingale Sang in Barclay (sp??) Square. This arrangement has a wonderful bass slide at the end that had me coming up out of my seat as they finished. This is obviously one of their numbers for Atlanta, and it was WONDERFUL. Mary Ann took over again and directed Rhythm of the Night with some excellent choreography. All good things must come to an end, and the last number was an original song/arrangement by Mary Ann, which she also directed, called Let There Be Music. It was a powerful number, and once more we rose to our feet to show our hearty approval. What a terrific chorus!
Next came the drawing for the order of appearance in Orlando in 2000. I will post that separately.
The final act of the evening was Rumors, who, having left their dress of many colors behind, were now elegantly gowned in long black dresses with fitted sequin bodices and long sheer sleeves. Crowns completed the look, of course. We had been wondering if we would hear any "real barbershop" from them at all this week, but they started with The Moment I Saw Your Eyes, to the delight of everyone. Next they started Old Routine as a rather jazzy uptune, more the way it used to be sung before Renee started the trend of doing it as a ballad. But a little way into it, Dale interrupted, and she and Peggy came to the mike to tell a joke on the lead and tenor. On went the song, only to have Peggy interrupt and they told another lead/tenor joke. Finally Judy and Charla had had enough, and they interrupted with their own joke. Charla: If you were on top of a very tall building with your favorite bass and baritone and pushed them both off, which would hit the ground first? Judy: Duh. Like who cares?? And to the end of the song they went! The audience roared! The next number, after a cute Judy/Peggy story about Peggy's dad's shoes, was My Buddy, done very well. Cats were the next topic, and evidently Peggy, Charla, and Judy love cats, but Dale at least claimed to have an aversion to them. "So many cats, so few recipes," she said. Oh my! Then they went into the number that brought the house down at International ast year, The Lady Down the Hall. There was Charla's lovely tenor voice again. And they also revived The Pretty Little Dolly, with Dale in a bright orange pinifore apron. What a hoot! Rumors had Fed-Exed in 400 CD's to sell to us, and they were gone in 1 1/2 hrs. Peggy said they were absolutely slack-jawed at the response. I laughed hard at that line, but Debbie told me that's a common expression in "those parts". They ended their part of the evening with There's a Meetin' Here Tonight, then told us that if they had had one more CD left over, they would have had a contest to see who could tell them the name of that last number. Of course, the title is only repeated in the song about 20 times! We couldn't let them get away without an encore, of course, so they had the sound man start a percussion tape, and they sang Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing medley, which was terrific. This wonderful and funny quartet received 3 or 4 standing ovations from their adoring fans, and they deserved them all.
With that Sally said goodnight, and the program was over. Debbie said, "What? We don't get to sing?" I said, "It ain't over till the fat lady sings," and she said, "Yes, all of them!" But no, we didn't get to sing again. There was an afterglow outside in front of one of the campus buildings. There were drinks and snacks and lots of people, of course - probably all 1400 of us. A stage and mikes had been set up so quartets could perform, but it really didn't seem to work, so soon quartets were singing around the groups of people standing nearby. We got to hear Harmonettes again, in their flippy little blue skirts. They are so good. I talked to them at dinner and found out three of them are 17 and one is 19. They sing together in three different groups at their school (the oldest one is in collegeon a full scholarship, we found out), and the lead directs a gospel choir at the school. I asked if they were Sweet Adelines, and they told me they were considering joining Molly Hoffman's chorus in Indianapolis. Go for it, Molly - what a wonderful addition they would be to your chorus. They would raise the energy level considerably for everyone, I'm sure. Muriel and I finally decided to hang it up for the night so we could pack for our early morning flights tomorrow. Debbie had driven down to San Antonio from Austin, where she lives, for the evening show. She had planned to stay with someone else but couldn't find her at the party. Muriel and I told her that our suitemate was alone in her room, so Debbie came back to our dorm with us, and we woke poor Jan up to ask her if Debbie could use the spare bed. She was very gracious for someone who had been so rudely awakened! Thank you, Jan. ;-) Debbie had to try out the new laptop she bought on the way here today (oops - was I supposed to let the cat out of the bag, Debbie?? Oh well - too late now!), then she turned in, and that's exactly what I'm going to do right now.
I hope you have enjoyed my little reports. It's been fun to do them and to try to see the symposium through the eyes of the members who couldn't attend. The weather was perfect except for the heat - no rain, no storms. Just lots of fun and frivolity and good learning experiences. Debbie has her trusty digital camera along, and she said that she will post some pictures at some point, but that you shouldn't hold your breath. Have a great week, everyone!
Bye for now.