It was that way all week. From my flight out last Monday (I met 12 members of my chorus in the airport) to the taxi to the hotel (cued up with chorus members from New Zealand), to every restaurant we sampled (Anyone have a pitch pipe? Let's sing while we're waiting for our meal), to our day off hiking in the Canadian Rockies (Yes, we ran into Sweet Adelines in the mountains) - it was complete submersion.
We rehearsed daily, shared rooms, hotels, transport. We talked barbershop, costumes, scoring and stats. We discussed coaching and held hands. We sweated through rehearsals. My chorus ate meals together in mass and in small groups. After the contest we hung out in the bar, listened to quartets strolling by and processed our performance.
It was grand, exhilarating, distressing, stressful, joyous, rejuvenating and exhausting. In one week my phsyical and emotional state hit the following hightlights:
- exhaustion from travel preparations
- sick with a horrible head cold
- teary at the spontaneous marriage of a chorus member and her partner (cause they can do that it Canada)
- healed from the aforementioned head cold
- well rested, ready to perform
- excited, exhilerated, and blissful in anticipation
- disappointed about our performance
- bitter about our performance
- sad about our performance
- awed by the natural beauty of the Canadian Rockies
- dizzy with discussion of our performance, our chorus and the state of Sweet Adelines
- breathless at the sight of Lake Louise
- exhausted from travels
- peaceful from the mountains
- resigned to our performance and the results
- positive about our performance and the results
- happy with the trip
- ready to move foward.
I had my last dose of convention during the ride home from the airport. Our driver had recorded our performance and three of us huddled around a latop computer, watching, as we wound our way home in the dark, early morning hours. What did I notice? Simply that this hobby is quite wonderful.
I woke on Monday to a school field trip and children whiney from too much time away from Mom. It was wonderful to see them and hand out my presents. Nightowl asked me quite seriously: "Why didn't you win Mommy?" (She had watched the webcast here at home.)
After I explained that we hadn't done our best on stage she asked again - "Why not?" Nerves? Lack of focus? Insecurity? We talked about all of it. Her next question took me by surprise: "Will you give up?"
My answer was, of course not - because while it is easy to get wrapped up in the contest, the real joy is the singing. That's what it's all about - the singing. Then she made a lovely mental leap and brought up her violin playing and how the songs are getting harder, but more beautiful. There are days that she wants to give up, but she doesn't. Together we plow through with our individual struggles to learn notes and create music. It is not easy, but it is worth it.
Her last question: What did you bring me? I brought out the maple candy and quartet CDs I'd brought home. Then I showed her the picture of the mountains and Lake Louise and described my day hiking in the icy cold air near the glacier. Her last gift: a glacial rock for her nature collection. She seemed quite satisfied.
Me? I'm getting re-grounded. Re-entry is always a bit awkward. I exclaimed joyfully when a chorus member called yesterday evening - it had been a whole day since I'd seen her. And I've got the barbershop music playing constantly. And I'm still processing all of it. And I'm getting ready for our next concert and checking out our newest piece of music, the oh-so-challenging "Good-bye, World." And my job is calling. And my kids are calling. And I'm glad it is all still here. And I'm waiting for the DVD of our Calgary performance and our next rehearsal. Back to life. Back to reality. Happy sigh.
Photos: #1 - CCC Singing the Ballad in Calgary, #2 - CCC Singing the Up-tune in Calgary (check me out!) #3- Lake Louise and Victoria Glacier, Alberta Canada, Canadian Rockies, #4 - Chataeu Fairmont, Lake Louise