First Contest - a Newbie's Perspective ~ Ruth Robeson & Jacque McLaoghlin

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First Contest, a Newbie’s Perspective – by Ruth Robeson


I have enjoyed singing all my life. In Junior Choir at church, I first learned about harmony and have sought out many opportunities and sung with several choruses since then. So, when I heard from Joanie about Pacific Empire Chorus, I was eager to check it out. What I discovered was acomplete surprise to me.

Patty paled a bit when I asked her how much time I would have to devote to the chorus if I joined. Now I know why. At the Regional Competition, I learned that Sweet Adelines, Int. is a very big organization with some serious, competitive members who work hard to take home the first place medals. While all is social and friendly off stage -- on stage, everyone is all business.

I admit that I was disappointed when we took third overall, because I thought we did very well. Having now watched the entire webcast, I can connect all the things that Patty, Leah, Mel and Janet, and of course Awesome Joe, have been trying to drill into us at rehearsals. I still have lots of work to do to learn all the techniques, but reading the judges’ evaluations helps a lot. Naturally, I am mortified by my spacing on Sweet Georgia Brown, though I hope the judge missed it.

PEC knows how to party too! Sharon was my roommate and shared a lot of history about PEC and its members, so I feel I know everyone better. The Afterglow was a blast and I regret that I was too tired to enjoy it! The Recognition Party was a perfect time to decompress. While Reno was still on our minds, I enjoyed watching the video in a collective setting. The awards, gifts and atta-girls showed me the camaraderie among members and hard work they devote to make PEC run efficiently. It appears that everyone contributes in some way.

Joining PEC just before Regional contest introduced me to the best and the worst of competition. So my take-away from last weekend, is that I had a great time and intend to continue learning and improving. I thank everyone for their kindness and support. Just so you know, I have already picked a name for my quartet!

Notes From a Newbie!  by Jacque McLaughlin

Yikes, we are on stage in Reno. The lights are bright and I catch a glimpse of the judges with pen and paper poised to sing our praises, I hope (Oh, I’m not supposed to look at them am I?).  I hope my lashes aren’t coming off and that my red cheeks don’t shine like a beacon on the jumbotron screens.  Ok, we are ready!  Am I ready?  Focus on Patty, lock and ring, smile, show my teeth, move those thighs, remember- Jo-Ja, finish the phrase, tell the story.  Oh, the breath plan, remember to breath----at the right time.  I’m ready; I think!  We’re on.  It’s exhilarating, it’s a little scary, it’s fun!  

I am a PEC Newbie!  You can recognize us by the ‘deer in the headlights’ look.   I thought learning the music would be a challenge and yes, it was.  I thought remembering everything we need to remember when performing would be a challenge and yes, it was.  But it was the makeup that really got me.  I remember a fellow Newbie and I in our room applying our makeup, thinking we had a lot of time before makeup check.   Of course I was distracted when my fellow Newbie pulled her hair back using a headband with bunny ears.  That being said we were moving along just fine when one of us checked the time.  We had 5 minutes and my eyelashes weren’t on and I knew my cheeks weren’t red enough and oh, putting my hair up in 5 minutes?  We made it out of breath and perhaps with our makeup a little out of sync, but were met with lovely PEC ladies who immediately saw our need for help and came to our rescue.  We went back to our room to change and rushed back down to the rehearsal room.  
Everyone looked so fantastic, very diva-like.  And then, we moved to the next place and the next place.  At every step a seasoned PEC pro was there to guide us and encourage us as they all smiled and showed their teeth, which I now know how to do.  I just picture Awesome Joe and my smile gets in place very quick.
Thank you PEC for caring for us Newbies.  
Jacque (A Bass Newbie)


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