Monday, April 07, 2008

Gig report: Anthology at the Harmony Sweepstakes

Last Saturday Anthology competed in the Boston Regional Harmony Sweepstakes. This was a bit of a stretch for us - after all, our core is currently classical, though we're playing around in a lot of directions, and this event is very firmly planted in a cappella/barbershop land. It was a good experience, though, and we did very well, especially considering we learned one of the songs in less than a week and we were operating outside our comfort zone. There were eight groups competing, and Syncopation won, which was totally and utterly correct - they were fantastic. But the people who really knocked our socks off were the barbershop group Men in Black, who won last year and hosted this year. Holy cow - the tuning! The stage presence and charm! The tight-harmony arrangements! Go check them out if they are in your area.

We performed Benedictus by Brahms, I Am Stretched On Your Grave arr. The Voice Squad, and I Am a Can of Tuna, by the Chenille Sisters. We felt that set represented our current range pretty well. That last one we first looked at the music for six days before Saturday - that is, a week ago today. And we memorized it. And I sang a walking bass line - new experience! - into a hand-held mic - new experience! well, except for karaoke - and it all went quite fine.

We got judging sheets, too. Some of the helpful criticisms covered vowel shaping, blending, use of vibrato, tuning, mic balance (though that's not exactly our fault) and visual presentation. I will share with you a few of the positive comments, including, of course, some of the ones that mentioned me.

"bold choice to start" - that was the Brahms
"beautiful sound"
"woman on (my right) - watch posture" - Yes, that would be me.
"Great bass line in Tuna" - Woohoo! That would be me, too, on my first bass line performance!
"Nice opening -- Allegra! fearless approach!" - That one is, of course, my favorite comment, coming from the judge that I already knew from somewhere else.
"Excellent diction - clear consonants - crisp"
"You present a poised and professional appearance!"

All in all, I thought it was a great learning experience, and also just plain fun, for all of us.

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