Magic Choral Trick #151 The Great Irony About Competition
On Friday evening, June 1st my women’s Barbershop chorus, Sea Belles made history.
In the 42 years since they chartered they have placed second in the regional chorus competitions many many times – but they’d never won. That is, until Friday night.
So needless to say, I’ve been thinking very hard over the last few days about competition and its function of spurring us on in the pursuit of excellence. I’ve also been remembering what I said to my chorus before we were to go on stage – that an hour an a half after the competition, it wouldn’t really matter where we placed – because we’d already won the real prize, which is singing even better than we did at this time last year.
Well, I guess the judges agreed with this enough to give us a 5 point lead at the end of the evening. And certainly for that hour and a half (ok – and maybe a couple of days longer), winning felt pretty good. However, the really exciting thing is that we worked hard enough this year to increase our score – over last year – by 19 points. From 842 (out of a possible 1200) to 861. (For any of you interested in the ‘box score’ aspect of these competitions, here’s the scoring summary page for Harmony Inc. http://www.harmonyinc.org/Official_Scoring_Summary.html )
By the way, this number of points means we qualify for the international competition in Florida in November!
The Great Irony? We work and work all year with winning in mind – and now that we’ve won, it is exciting. And it will increase our public profile, and it will encourage more singers to join us. However, when the competition has become a memory, the richest prize of all is the pride felt by every one of us in the quality of performance we can now offer our audiences all through the year. At that point it doesn’t really matter that the six judges gave our sister chorus 5 points less than they awarded us.
And the Magic Trick? The trick is in convincing ourselves all year that winning matters more than anything else.
(Ok Sea Belles – next step is a medal this November in Florida!)