Friday, October 31, 2014

Next Week is a Big Deal

We're coming up on the most important week of the Sweet Adeline's year:  the annual International contest and convention.     Once each year, the top choruses and quartets from around the world gather together for education and for a week's worth of contests.  

Performing in the SAI International competition - a dream come true!
If you sing in a chorus or a quartet, then making it to the international competition is a big, huge, important deal!   You only get there if you win your Regional competition in the spring (or if you score high enough to be one of a few wildcards who receive an invitation).  I believe there are over 700 choruses in the world, and over 1200 quartets (not exactly sure, but those numbers sound about right).   To be in one of only 50 choruses or 50 quartets to be invited to compete at the International contest is a huge accomplishment and honor!

So next week, the SAI International Convention is going to be held in Baltimore, MD - my old hometown!   (Ironic that I move away from MD the year before the contest is going to be there, huh?)   My chorus in Maryland, the Harbor City Music Company, is not competing this year (choruses are only eligible to compete every other year at most), but we will be performing as an exhibition chorus to open the entire competition week.  How exciting!

SAI 5th Place Medalists - Honolulu - Nov, 2013
My quartet, Lustre, is competing in the quartet competition.  It's our fourth year to be invited to the international competition.  The first year (2011), we finished in 34th place.  The next year (2012), we finished in 7th place, and last year (2013) we finished in 5th place.   We're hoping to once again place in the coveted Top 10,  or even better, the Top 5.   While our track record shows steady improvement and increasingly higher scores and placement, we know that we can't control other groups who also compete and sings well. We've seen other groups move up and down in the rankings from year to year, and it's possible we'll do the same thing, depending on who else is there and having a great performance.  So our goal is to focus on improving our own scores, and if we achieve our score goal, it should put us squarely in the Top 5 again (based on historical score trends).

Next week is a big deal.   I mean, it's like, a really big deal.   We've been preparing for this contest for an entire year.   I've been focusing these last few weeks on just staying calm and confident and healthy, and trying not to get freaked out. But it would be really easy to be freaked out.  Like, a lot.  The way I've been singularly focused on it, sometimes I think that I've lost perspective, that I'm treating it as an important world event.  I was venting with a friend yesterday about all the stress I've been feeling and the fears and concerns and worries I have about it, and at the end of my diatribe, I apologized for making it sound so overblown in importance.  My friend reminded me that while this may not be as important as other aspects of life like health, shelter, food, etc., the fact is that this is a big dream for me, and I shouldn't feel bad about making it important in my life.

Friends, always
I appreciated her assurance, and it helped me put this whole thing into perspective.   Yes, I'm stressed over it, and yes, I have worries and fears and things.   But, in the big picture, I'm so proud of myself.  I'm pursuing a big dream:  to one day win the SAI International Quartet Contest with my best friends by my side.   I've set my goal, and I've put myself in a position to pursue that goal, through consistent work and skill building and team building and creative stretching.  I've put myself out there and gone into creative areas I never knew I could.  And I've been able to do it as a member of a four-person team of best friends.    It's pretty astounding to me, actually, when I look back at myself over time from the day I joined Sweet Adelines 11 years ago until now.  I've grown, learned, stretched, and achieved things I never knew were possible.

Next week, as my quartet mates and I move through the busy week full of events and performances and contest results, I will stay in the moment, enjoying each laugh we share, each song we sing.  I'm so grateful for this in my life.  

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