Weekend of Harmony

I’m back from my Sweet Adeline weekend. I always forget how amazing and exhausting regional competition weekend is. I’m really proud of my chorus; we came in 3rd place overall and 2nd in our division (mid-sized chorus). We improved in score since last year, and I am just very proud to call myself a member of the Scenic City Chorus!

The quartet competition was fantastic. Loads of great quartets got up there on Friday and my chorus’s director’s quartet won! Her quartet is called Dream and they were absolutely amazing. I mean breathtaking. I kept telling my director all weekend that I wanted to be like them when I “grew up”. Since they won the quartet competition for our region, they get to go on to the International competition in October where they will compete against the top quartets from all over the world! I’m so excited for them!

It’s hard sometimes coming back from a Sweet Adeline weekend. It’s a truly amazing experience; sharing a space with hundreds of women who all share your love and passion for singing barbershop harmony. There’s flair, bling, and glitter in pretty much every nook and cranny that you can find. It’s not unusual to find people who don’t even know each other singing barbershop tags in the elevator, lobby, and even bathroom. I am positive that the cleaning staff dread our regional competition weekends because there is  glitter all over the floors EVERYWHERE.

I’m unwinding and relaxing now, and trying to gear myself up for getting back to reality tomorrow! I hope you all had a great weekend because I know that I did.

 

Stop: Glitter Time {2011 Competition}

If you’re new to Mommy Boots, you may not have read any posts about one of my passions: singing. Specifically singing a capella barbershop harmony. I sing with a local chapter of the Sweet Adelines International and I’m also a member of a barbershop quartet called Route 41.

Tonight kicks off the beginning of Region 23 (the region that my chorus is in)’s competition weekend! The Young Women in Harmony quartet competition starts tonight. My quartet was asked to be microphone testers, which we are so excited about! Tomorrow night is the quartet competition and I cannot wait to sit and watch the competing quartets. We’ve been running around town the last week promoting the contest with TV appearances (if you’re feeling ambitious and want to see us on TV, check out this clip. You will have to let it load, and then fast-forward to the 48:00 mark to get to the point where my quartet sings) and radio spots. Last year, Route 41 sang for evaluation only. We decided not to sing for eval or compete this year, so I will get to relax and enjoy where last year I was a bundle of nerves!

Saturday is the big day. On Saturday, my chorus takes the stage to compete against all of the other choruses in the region (which I believe is about 14)! We’ve taken third place overall the past three years and we are pumped and excited to sing our hearts out this year. We’ve been working really hard and I just cannot wait to show everyone what we are made of.

I will not be around online at all this weekend. I’ll be surrounded by Sweet Adelines, soaking in the harmony and excitement of the weekend and generally geeking out. I hope everyone has a fun and safe weekend! I know I’m going to!!!

 

 

Quartet Practice with a Toddler

My quartet, Route 41, is singing on the news in two weeks. We are also microphone testers for our regional Young Women in Harmony competition, which is in about three weeks, so today we decided to get together and practice a new song we’ve been working on. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, read this post that explains my involvement with a women’s a capella barbershop harmony chorus)

Daddy Green is working today, so I packed up Nellie and headed to S (who sings lead)’s house. S has a 4.5 month old, L so I knew it would be interesting. Nellie hasn’t been around many babies who aren’t close to her age.

It started out well enough; I sat down with Nellie after she tromped all over L’s playmat and gave her a snack and a drink. Nellie was content exploring L’s toys, crawling around the living room and being inquisitive. She kept trying to crawl out of the room so S got her pack n’ play and we contained Nellie for a while that way.  After a short time in the PnP, Nellie decided she’d had enough of that foolishness. We barricaded the way out of the living room with the pack n’ play, so Nellie had free reign of the living room.

As time marched on, Nellie got more and more restless. L had woken up from her nap and was content sitting in her Bumbo and watching the scene. In true toddler fashion, Nellie was not. She was crawling everywhere and getting into everything. I had to move everyone’s purses toward the back of the couch so she wouldn’t pull them down. The TV tray that had cups of water, pitch pipes, and a digital camera perched precariously atop it had to be monitored at all times. My three singing sisters sang beautifully, while my part sounded more like this:

Goody goodbye, bye bye, I’ll see you never.
Goody goodbye, bye bye, so you think you’re – NELLIE, PUT THAT DOWN.
While playing with my – NO! you overplayed your part
I must have been dumb, dumb as – NELLIE ROSE, THAT IS NOT YOUR PACIFIER. GET IT OUT OF YOUR MOUTH PLEASE.
To believe you from the start
Goody-good luck to you, and to the – NO, WE DON’T PULL ON BABY L’S FEET.

I think that my absolute favorite moment was when I had to make a mad dash to retrieve Nellie, who had suddenly taken off crawling at breakneck speed across the living room floor toward L’s baby bottle… Full of breastmilk.

We managed to get a decent practice in, but let me tell you what. To all of you moms whose babes haven’t made it to the toddler stage yet: you think your baby is difficult now?

You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

 

Retreat

I’m back from an amazing weekend with my chorus. We had a weekend-long retreat at Lake Guntersville, Alabama state park lodge. We sang, we worked our asses off on our contest music, we played games. We laughed, we shared meals, some of us drank way too much (that might have been me) Saturday night and woke up with an epic hangover on Sunday (also me). We. Had. Fun.

I was feeling anxious about the weekend away from Josh & Nellie, and also just a little nervous about how it’d go since I’ve been so absent from the chorus lately. Turns out I had no reason at all to be anxious or nervous. Everyone was, as they have always been, loving and accepting of me. Like I’ve been there every single Tuesday for the past year. The view from the lodge was breathtaking. I failed and only got one picture:

The chalet I stayed in with my quartet was great. I stepped into the shower on Friday and could have stayed all night. No hurrying to get done before naptime, nothing to do and nowhere to be… It was awesome.

I needed this past weekend. It rekindled my love and excitement for barbershop singing and I am so pumped for competition this March. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about in all of this, read this post and this post as well to get caught up.

I loved my weekend away, but I have to admit every time Josh would send me a picture of Nellie I would almost cry. When I swept her into my arms upon arriving back home yesterday, I breathed her in and covered her with kisses. I didn’t want to put her down but alas, my sweet little toddler wriggled free and wanted to crawl all around after a few minutes of snuggling. We took her out to the local Greenway to enjoy the unseasonably warm day we were having. It was great to be back in my family’s arms. My voice is absolutely wrecked from all the singing, laughing, and hollering I did but it’s worth it. I can’t wait for March!

Coaching

So I’m a singer. I sing. I’ve always loved it and I come from a musical family.. Everyone in my immediate family (brother, cousins, aunts, etc) sings and almost everyone plays an instrument (I don’t). When I moved from Chicago to the South, I looked for an outlet for my singing and came up empty for years.

In 2008, an outlet found me in a karaoke bar while I was hanging out with Josh and some friends who had come to visit us from Illinois. A group of women were there at a bachelorette party and they handed me a card for their chorus. They informed me that it wasn’t for everyone, because the type of music they sang was unique.

They sang 4 part a capella barbershop harmony. I am such a nerd, I had to hold back from squealing and flapping with excitement. I was raised with barbershop music and had no idea that women sang it. I also had no idea that there was an international organization full of women who sang it! The very next Tuesday I visited a rehearsal and that began my passion for Sweet Adelines.

I’ve been with the chorus for two years now. I’ve been through two regional competitions and I’ve even been on TV with my quartet. It’s something I love doing though since Nellie’s been born, I’ve had to cut my attendance due to scheduling issues and whatnot. Today my chorus is being coached by the director of the amazing Metro Nashville chorus and I’m psyched. We’ll be working for about 6 hours. Wondering how you can work on singing for 6 hours? There’s a lot more to singing – particularly singing barbershop – than you may think!

I’m listening to my learning tracks and getting ready for a day of harmony!

Yes.. I’m a nerd.

If I Had My Way

Scenic City Chorus.
Second Place Mid-Size Chorus Division.
THIRD PLACE OVERALL.

Last year, we were a “C” grade chorus. This year?

A “B”.

SCENIC CITY IS A “B” GRADE CHORUS.
Region 23 better watch out, because Scenic City is on the rise, baby!

Me, just before our chorus competition.
Yes, I have a lot of makeup on.
Yes, it’s on purpose.
😉

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A Very Glittery (Not So) Wordless Wednesday

Route 41 – Dress Rehearsal

We are going to kick butt and take names.
We’re going to lock and ring our chords.
I am not going to forget my words or my notes.
I am going to take deep, calming breaths and use plenty of air to support my singing.
I am not going to be nervous.
I am going to be covered from head to toe in blue glitter.

We are going to knock ’em dead and make the other quartets realize that we’re gonna be a force to be reckoned with next year when we compete!

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Nerves and the Art of Singing


I’ve got less than a week until my quartet takes the stage at our Sweet Adelines Regional Competition. We are not competing against the other quartets but are singing for evaluation only. I think it’s less nerve-wracking than it would be if we were competing but I’m nervous regardless. There are apparently going to be around 30 judges-in-training in the audience this year. So in addition to the four actual scoring judges we have 30 others who will be watching us with critical eyes and ears. Awesome.

I’m not nervous about the chorus part of the competition. I’ve been there and done that. Sure I’ll have butterflies before going on stage with them, but I’m downright anxious about the quartet part. Mostly because if I make a flub in my singing there are no other women who sing my part to cover up my mistake. I am fully accountable for my tone.

For anyone who thinks that singing is merely opening your mouth and having sound come out, you are very, very wrong. There are so many things that go into singing and singing barbershop is very unique. You’ve got to think about the stance of your body when you sing. Have to make sure that your upper body is straight but not tense. Breath from your diaphragm. Use your air wisely, and put more behind those notes above your vocal break. Don’t forget to form your vowels correctly and in the exact same fashion as the other three members of your quartet (or, in a chorus’s case, the other 33 or so members) or your chords won’t lock and ring. Think about what you’re singing. Make sure you are smiling, that your eyes are bright and you are putting a character into your song. Don’t forget to flip those diphthongs! P.S., are you making sure to use dynamics to make sure the Cone is upheld?

Those are just a few of the things one must think about while singing barbershop. You have to constantly remind yourself of all these things without looking terrified and like you’re in a battle of concentration, because this is supposed to be fun! It is fun. But it’s also a lot of hard work. Anyone who says differently is mistaken.

I’m really excited for this weekend. I’m also really ready for it to be behind me. I am looking forward to a weekend with my singing sisters and to be perfectly honest, I am looking forward to a weekend where I get to be a full-time Sweet Adeline and pass Baby Duty on to someone else (my mother in law has graciously accepted to take Nellie for the duration of the contest to make things immeasurably easier on me). I get two entire days with no spit-up, bottles, diapers or hunger meltdowns…. Unfortunately this also means I have to endure two entire days of no gummy little grins or contented sighs and snuggles. No adorable little coos, grunts or idle baby chat. Two entire days without the company of my sweet baby daughter. It’s very strange how I can be simultaneously looking forward to the break, and feeling anxious at the separation. Such is motherhood, hmm?

I have a lot to do this week, including a dress rehearsal on Tuesday where we will be in full costume and makeup. I’ll be covered in blue glitter and pancake foundation. Everything I own will also be covered in the same blue glitter.

Such is the life of a barbershopper….. And I really and truly love every second of it.

I Was On TV, Ya’ll!

If you’ve been following for a while or know me in real life you know I’m a barbershopper.

No, I don’t cut hair.. I’m a Sweet Adeline, which means I sing 4 part a capella barbershop harmony! To read more about me and my love for music/barbershop, check out this post.

ANYWHO, my quartet Route 41 was on the local news this morning. Check us out! I’m the one on the far right – brown hair, brown shirt.

Enjoy!

Route 41 On the News

Ramblings of a Pregnant Brain

Well, this weekend is the big move. We were originally going to sign our lease and pick up our keys tomorrow but upon hearing the prorated amount we’d have to pay for moving in so early we decided to postpone that until Saturday. Yeah.

I am off for SIX DAYS STRAIGHT starting TOMORROW. Today is my last day at work for nearly a week. GLORIOUS. And of course, Thursday is Thanksgiving… AKA Pregnant Lady stuffs herself so she’s even fatter with turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and pie. AKA, The Happiest Day of the Year. I’m pretty psyched for my mother-in-law’s Turkey Day food. The woman is a warlock of food, and I’m not even kidding.

Thursday and Friday should be interesting. I scheduled the electricity to be cut off Thursday at our current apartment, and turned on Friday at our new place…. Because originally we were making Friday Moving Day. But now Saturday is Moving Day and we will now be without power for two days. It’s not a big deal; we’ll just…. Live like cavepeople for two days. No TV, no Gears of War 2…. Just me and the hubby, spending time with one another!

I don’t think I’ve mentioned Nellie’s reactions to video games here yet. We don’t play a whole lot. We have an XBox 360 that we received as a Christmas gift from my dad last year. I like video games and enjoy playing, but I always have a hard time justifying spending $200-$400 on a gaming console. Up until last Christmas, all we had was an old PS2 and a Nintendo GameCube. That’s probably all we would have had for a very long time, too. Luckily, however, my dad bought us an XBox as a gift. My favorite game of all time is Guitar Hero and I could probably kick your ass at it, thank you very much. I’m a rock star. It’s true, and it’s OK to be jealous. I’m also in love with LEGO Indiana Jones and Batman.

Joshua enjoys a wider range of games; his favorites being God of War, Assassin’s Creed and the Gears of War games. He has played Gears of War for a long time and I’ve watched/halfheartedly observed up until recently. He and I have gotten into playing together on Horde mode; which is basically where you have to kill bad guys in waves, each wave getting harder and stronger than the last. I now enjoy playing it with him….. And Nellie likes it when we play, too. EVERY SINGLE TIME we have played Gears of War 2, she has begun kicking almost immediately. She either really likes it, or really hates it!

OK, sorry, Pregnant Brain detour. Back to our busy month. We have got 2 baby showers scheduled for December. I have 2 performances with my quartet, and several with my chorus. Obviously, Christmas is in December. I have doctor’s appointments, not to mention the little fact that on December 27th, 2009 I will be considered full-term pregnant. MY CHILD COULD BE HERE BEFORE 2009 IS OVER. THIS IS CRAZY TO ME. Speaking of Pregnant Brain, mine is like a seive and I literally forget things ALL THE FREAKING TIME. I forget where I put my keys two minutes after I set them down.. I forget what I did with my cell phone, I forget that I HAVE a cell phone, I forget to make phone calls, write e-mails, and I drop things more than a clumsy person covered in baby oil.

……That last statement was really strange. Hmm. I am not real sure where it came from.

So, to sum up… The next month is crazy busy. I am a barbershop rock star along with my ladies and we are in high demand to perform all around the Scenic City (wait, was that the sound of me tooting my own horn?). My baby loves it when her mommy and daddy kick virtual subterrenean bad-guy butt. If my head were not attached to my shoulders, I’d lose it on a daily basis. I will be living in the dark for two days this week.

I am going to try and make my Wordless Wednesday post, but more than likely I will miss Thankful Thursday. So next week I’ll have to play catch-up! If I don’t post before, I hope everyone has a FANTASTIC Thanksgiving!

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