Although new to me, this year was the 40th Anniversary of the British Association of Barbershop Singers Annual Convention, at the Harrogate Conference Centre.
We’d had coaching from Sally McLean, and rehearsed until we knew the songs backwards. We had our choreography in place, hotel booked, and boy was I excited.
The Tuesday before we had a dress rehearsal at St James Church, Mapperley, which was my first time performing in public. I’m glad we did as although I was terrified before the show, I felt quite serene for the rest of the week.
It was only during warmup at the hotel a few hours before we performed that nerves started kicking in again. Having never attended before I had no idea what to expect. My stomach was churning as we made our way to the conference centre.
When we got there it struck me as quite production line like, which I suppose it has to be in order to make the day flow smoothly. We were taken up into wardrobe, just in time to see Grand Central Chorus, led by Zac make their way from wardrobe to the stage.
Due to an issue the day before with one of the generators failed, the BABS volunteers and Conference Centre staff worked hard to transfer the show to the neighbouring Royal Hall. This had introduced about a half an hour delay to the program. Although I admire the work that went into allowing the show to go on, at the time it felt like an eternity.
Finally the time came for us to make our way down to the warm-up room, and from there before I knew it off to the stage.
I had absolutely no idea what to expect, and as we walked onto the stage all I could think of was Joe’s instruction to be professional, and take position quickly and quietly. And then the MD were announcing us and I looked up into the gorgeous veneu we’d been transferred to, and boy did it take my breath away. And then I heard the pitch pipe and the next thing I knew the 6 minutes had gone, the songs were sung, and it was time to go.
I knew immediately that I wanted to do it again.
The results came in whilst we were sharing a song or two in the afterglow, and I couldn’t hide my initial dissapointment at finishing 15th (we were 6th last year).
That didn’t stop us from enjoying ourselves at the afterglow of course, and a few songs over a few pints.
And now, a week on, I’m aching to do it all again.