Monday, March 21, 2005

American Idol

Okay, I admit it - I am addicted to American Idol. But, at least it makes sense for me to be addicted to this show. After all, I am a singer. And I was a 'Dominant'. (Kerry is smiling at that.)

When I was in high school I started singing in the Concert Choir. It seemed I had some talent, and when I'd go for All-County, Regional, Honors, and All-State choir auditions, I always made it. In fact, in my senior year I tied the record at All-State choir auditions by getting a score of 299 points out of a possible 300. But that's not what made me a 'Dominant'...

'The Dominants' was an award-winning vocal jazz/show choir from my high school. From the first time I heard them (as a freshmen) I knew I would one day be a member of this prestigious singing group. The name 'Dominants' is a play on words, referring to the 5th of a chord, or the dominant of the chord, as well as performers who dominate at competitions. And yes, there were competitions...

I will never forget in my junior year 'The Dominants' were enrolled for some vocal jazz and show choir workshops followed by a competition in Jersey City, NJ. We were a little scared that schools from New York would be there, as we imagined 'Fame' choirs putting us to shame. The workshops were from like 10 am to 4 pm, and the competitions were from 6-8 pm. Unfortunately for us, our County school bus broke down on the way, which delayed our arrival by several hours. We got to the auditorium just as the workshops were ending. Fortunately we arrived in time to have a quick dinner, change into our costumes and compete.

All of the high school groups were competing in either the vocal jazz OR the show choir divisions, except for 'The Dominants'. We had two different performances and were enrolled in both divisions. As we watched the groups who performed before us, we got more and more excited because we knew our songs were better and that we were simply more talented. But the proof was in the pudding... err, the performances.

First was the show choir division, which involves more choreography and less complicated vocal arrangements. We were like group 5 out of 10, I think. Then came the vocal jazz division, which involves very little choreography, but complicated tight harmonies. You can't fake a vocal jazz performance. We drew the coveted position of performing last. Remember, we were the only group to compete in both divisions, using 2 different sets of songs.

After a brief intermission for the judges' votes to be tallied, they reassembled everyone for the results.

"The trophy for best choreography goes to... The Dominants" followed by thunderous applause. "The trophy for best vocal solo goes to... The Dominants." More thunderous applause and whistles. "The trophy for best costume goes to... The Dominants." The audience was going crazy - even our competitors were happy for us. On and on, The Dominants won all of the trophies except for one: best instrumental solo. As I recall, one group had a fabulous trumpet solo that got duly recognized.

Then came the finale. "Best overall performance in the show choir division... The Dominants." We were all on our feet, screaming, jumping up and down and hugging each other. Then came the last one. "Best overall performance in the vocal jazz division... The Dominants!" We were all hysterical by that point. We were in such an excited frenzy you'd have thought we'd each won a hundred billion dollars. What a night! I'll never forget that as long as I live.

Then there was the vocal jazz competition where the volunteer student from the audio/visual club was practicing for the Emmies. Each time a group was named as a winner, he'd play a snippet of one of their songs as the choir director went up to the stage to accept the trophy. When we won first place there and our song was playing, I swear I felt like I was on an TV awards show! The entire 24-member choir charged up on stage to be photographed with our choir director and that big-ass trophy.

If I wasn't 41 years old now, I'd have auditioned for American Idol when they came to DC. But although I look younger than 41, I honestly don't think I could pass for 28, the cut-off age for American Idol. So instead, I will look at the photos taken with my fellow Dominants and I'll remember when...


Val said...

Mark!I'm dying to know what year you graduated from G-F. I graduated in 91 and was also in Dominants! I got a kick out of reading your post.

Mark in DE said...

I graduated in '82, quite a few years before you. Glad you're enjoying the blog. Come back again!