Thursday, November 20, 2008

Obsessed -- sometimes (long)

So -- Sweet Adelines International Convention happened November 4 - 8 (I started this post on the last day of the convention, November 8th while watching the chorus finals) in Honolulu Hawaii. The organization started broadcasting live over the internet a few years ago -- so somewhere in the range of 3,000 women worldwide watched the contest...

Wednesday (November 5th) was Quartet Semi-finals
All the winning quartets from 35 regions around the world in one place to compete - plus 4 or 5 "wildcard" quartets. [Wildcard quartets have the top 5 scores worldwide -- but who didn't win their region -- some regions have some really high-scoring quartets. The Wildcard aspect came about because in some regions the same quartets (and choruses) kept winning... but that region's second place quartet score was higher than many of the winning quartet in other regions.]

Because the 15 top-scoring quartets at international contest do not have to re-compete in their regional contests the next year in order to compete at the international level again, in theory the quartet contest could be 35 + 5 + 15 quartets -- each singing no more than 6 minutes each = 55 quartets. This year there were 50 competitors. That is a minimum of 300 minutes. It takes judges between 5 and 15 minutes to score between competitors... so this is a MARATHON of singing.

The director of my chorus (Tucson Desert Harmony), Dayle Ann Cook, is the Lead (singer) of SparX quartet -- and they made the top 10 quartets -- enabling them to move on to the Finals (which was yesterday). Our region (Region 21 is S. California, Arizona, New Mexico & El Paso TX) had two quartets competing in the finals... SparX, and Affinity - the members of which are another post.

Barbershop singing has a PR problem... if you don't know firsthand, then you think singing barbershop is 4 (old) guys with waxed handlebar mustaches and striped vests with straw hats singing "Goodbye You Coney Island Baby." Singing 4-part a cappella harmony is actually quite hip today! This ain't your grandpa's barbershop, baby!!

CARA - Contemporary A cappella Recording Award (Sponsored by CASA - Contemporary a cappella Society) they have a barbershop category in the contest! CASA is hip, its funky, it has cool young people! There are colleges & universities out there that young people choose because of the a cappella extracurriculars! I'm tellin' ya it is COOL!

Sweet Adelines is one of the most dynamic, supportive and organized women's organizations that exist today. With Vocal Education as a core belief, and hundreds of amazing vocal teachers, educators, and women who exemplify that really -- we can be whoever we want to be -- it is a shame it has to fight such an old-fashioned image. It encompasses women of all ages, sizes, backgrounds and abilities... with the goal of constant "Lock and Ring" in singing -- creating an audible "fifth voice" -- a note that is heard above the highest note being actually sung. Music is such a beautiful marriage of Left and Right brained talents -- the art and science a perfect blend!

Real Women. Real Harmony. Real Fun

This Organization offers constant education regarding singing, leading, strategic planning, marketing & team management -- by women who are successful in their non-singing lives in these areas. Opportunties to develop just about any skill you can think of exist and all you have to do is sign up ... and of course, pay $!

Singing is good for your health. My personal motto is, "Everyone can sing, not everyone has to listen!" Singing in a group creates an energy that spills over into your life, and, to be simple -- just plain makes you feel better about yourself and your life. Getting to chorus after a long (and sometimes crappy) day at work is sometimes the hardest thing to do -- but wow -- afterwards I feel energized, enthusiastic, optimistic and happy.

As we age, singing helps in all sorts of ways... an excerpt from the linked article above says this about singing and seniors:

Singing, particularly in a chorus, seems to benefit the elderly particularly well. As part of a three-year study examining how singing affects the health of those 55 and older, a Senior Singers Chorale was formed by the Levine School of Music in Washington, D.C.

The seniors involved in the chorale (as well as seniors involved in two separate arts groups involving writing and painting) showed significant health improvements compared to those in the control groups. Specifically, the arts groups reported an average of:

  • 30 fewer doctor visits

  • Fewer eyesight problems

  • Less incidence of depression

  • Less need for medication

  • Fewer falls and other injuries

Even lead researcher Dr. Gene D. Cohen, director of the Center on Aging, Health, and Humanities at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., was surprised at how big of an effect the seniors' arts participation had on their health.

"My surprise was not a factor of whether the intervention would work, but how big an effect it would have at an advanced age," said Cohen. "The average age of all the subjects was 80. This is higher than life expectancy, so, realistically, if an effect were to be achieved, one would ordinarily expect to see less decline in the intervention group compared to the control. The fact that there was so much improvement in many areas was the surprise factor."

The seniors themselves also noticed health improvements, said Jeanne Kelly, director of the Levine School of Music, Arlington Campus, who led the choral group. The seniors reported:

  • Feeling better both in daily life and while singing

  • Their everyday voice quality was better

  • The tone of their speaking voice did not seem to age as much

  • Easier breathing

  • Better posture

America, Get Singing!! Belt it out and Feel Good about it!

I have more to say on the subject, but this is a LONG post!


LennyHarp said...

I must say Amen to all that Jazz. I too love to sing and play music and do the artsy things. Singing is one of the most marvelous things to do as well as to listen to. That's a great post.

Baroness Insomniac said...

God has given you such a beautiful gift with your voice! I'm so happy that you find so many ways to use this!! =)) (((hugs))) and lots of love!

Baroness Insomniac said...