Earlier this month the Hearts journeyed up north a bit for our annual Sweet Adelines International Region 19 Convention and Contest. We were thrilled to have several "contest newbies" come with us this year. One of these "newbies" shared her experiences about this always exciting weekend:
April 2016 - my first competition and I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I’d been going to rehearsals for months and practicing my songs, but I still didn’t feel like part of the community. I knew my section (all four of us, scattered across the risers), and I knew a couple people who stood next to me, but since we always did our best not to talk on the risers, I didn’t know most of them that well. Still, I knew I wanted to be a part of a musical community, so I packed my costume, makeup, and walk-around outfit and drove up to Hershey, PA.
I was amazed at how many people reached out to me. Everything from offering me lemon cake, to asking me to come with them to dinner, chorus members I’d never met before went out of their way to provide a welcoming environment for me. They asked about my cat (who had recently been lost and found) and told me how happy they were that I’d joined the chorus. Those piano scarves served as a marker: “Here you will find someone happy to see you.”
We didn’t win the Open Division (which shouldn’t have “winners” and “losers” anyway), but we were victorious in that we had worked as a team for months to present something that was amazing to perform and to experience.
My roommate, who I hadn’t known that well before the event, and I stayed up until 2:30 each night, talking about our lives and about the chorus. She confirmed a lot of things I’d been thinking and encouraged me to take a leadership role and to work for the things I wanted to see in the chorus’ future. I came away inspired to be a part of something that had felt distant.
The music over the entire competition weekend was incredible. Seeing all the quartets and all the groups perform helped me gain a better understanding of the Sweet Adelines world in general. I saw a community of sisters with a powerful love of music and of each other, who wanted to share their talents and hard work with the world.
The whole weekend was a whirlwind of chorus, comradery, and chocolate. My only regret is that it only comes once a year. I’d be thrilled to do it all again. Here’s to next year!
~ Lauren, the newest tenor
(on the right in the pic)