Last Saturday came way too early for me - 4:30 a.m. to be exact. And this was after covering Marshall High School's graduation the previous night. I couldn't fall asleep and Ross had to be in Fergus Falls by 8:30 a.m. as his chorus was competing in the Red Carpet and Northwest Division at the Land O'Lakes District chorus contest. And I just wanted to go along of course. Since we've never been to our destination in Fergus Falls - the Kennedy Secondary School (a relatively new high school built in 2010), we allowed ourselves a little time in case we got lost.
Fortification came in the way of a sausage and egg muff and Coke from Burger King. We soldiered on. I somehow stayed awake thanks to an episode of TLC's "Four Weddings" I was watching. We managed to find our destination and I went in search of an outlet to charge my Kindle Fire while Ross met up with the rest of his chorus to rehearse and get dressed before the 11 a.m. start time. Basically I sat in the hallway under a couple of display cases reading while the Fire was charging. Well I did have more than two hours to kill.
There were six choruses and one VLQ competing in the first half of the contest. I was like "what's a VLQ?" Turns out is stands for "very large quartet." Northern Lights, a VLQ of 10 out of the Bismark-Mandan, N.D. area didn't really have to wry about competition. Ross' chorus, the West Central Connection, was up against choruses from Fergus Falls, Grand Forks, N.D., Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, St. Cloud and Fargo-Moorhead. After going to similar events in the past, I knew what to expect. The West Central Connection only had 16 members competing but did a good job.
After lunch was the quartet portion of the competition. Sound Image, in which three of the members are part of the West Central Connection, was competition. I had to rest my eyes a few times as I was exhausted.
After the quartet competition, the judges had tallied up scores and started announcing winners. Most improved chorus went to the chorus out of Fargo-Moorhead, Great Plains Harmony, and the director was told not to leave the stage. Second place was announced and went to Ross' chorus (kind of a surprise, but a nice one). Great Plains Harmony was the overall winner, but it was great to see the West Central Connection hold its own and beat choruses bigger than it. Choruses that scored 360 points or more qualified for the district chorus contest. And five of the six choruses qualified. Sound Image was the Red Carpet Division champion in quartets.
I have to say that in the last three and a half years, barbershop music has grown on me. It just needs to stay alive with more young people getting interested in singing four-part harmony and being involved with choruses or quartets.
Getting off the barbershop music subject, one of my Monday night rituals has come to an end. Dr. Gregory House, portrayed by the amazing Hugh Laurie (hey, it's my opinion) and his team are no more. I actually didn't start watching "House" until two or three seasons had already broadcast. I watched seasons one and two on DVD and a few episodes of three before finally tuning in on FOX (I still haven't finished watching season three). And somehow I got Ross into it. He's more into the medical mysteries. I was more into the interpersonal relationships the characters had with each other. I would tape the show and we'd get together to watch it. We're currently several episodes behind, so we haven't seen the finale yet.
We would buy DVDS of the show when they came up on sale, and we both have seasons one through six in our own libraries. I was about to get a copy of season seven for myself, but Ross asked me why, as I could probably watch his copy anyway.
So now I'll miss the cranky genius doctor who popped Vicodin like Pez. How he and his team would try and determine what the "patient of the week" has and is possibly dying from. One thing for sure, it was rarely lupus. Ross can make reference to an episode from four or five seasons ago and I would just not remember. But I do have to say that the program kept you guessing until the final diagnosis.
But now what do I do with my Monday nights?