I just finished writing an email to Sandi Wright. Here’s a little background on her:Sandi is a member of the American Choral Directors Association, the Missouri Choral Directors Association, Sweet Adelines International, and Harmony Incorporated. She is an associate member of the Barbershop Harmony Society. She is the director (at the master level) of the award-winning St. Louis Harmony Chorus, and has earned two international quartet gold medals and six regional quartet championships.
aka she’s really awesome. She posted on Facebook that she was looking to speak with some of the younger members of the Sweet Adelines to see what they liked and didn’t like. I sent her a 1776 word email (pretty much of all good things) and this is how it started:Let me talk generally first about my Baton Rouge Chorus experience. I live in Philadelphia, I travel to Baton Rouge for work. I knew I wanted something to do in Baton Rouge that wasn’t work, so I googled “Baton Rouge Choir” because I used to sing in college. The Baton Rouge Chorus was the first thing that came up. I emailed them and I explained to them that I didn’t know how long I would be around – and they emailed me back quickly and with so much enthusiasm and they just sounded so nice – it all made me really excited. I was really nervous to show up to rehearsal the first day (I had no idea what I was walking into) – and I was made to feel right at home. These ladies were AWESOME. Now, I feel like I should clarify this “AWESOME” – because I feel like people just throw that word around sometimes. They are all so nice, and generous, and motivated, and have such great stories, and have traveled so many places, and know so many people, and nobody judges, and there’s just so much personality and spirit and charisma. The word I’ve been describing it as is honestly sexy – just a room full of vibrant women who know themselves and are comfortable with themselves and just shine. I’ve been telling people for months that if I grow up to be half as cool as these ladies, I will be doing something right in life. Then they (people) kind of laugh at me (because the average age of our chorus is probably 55 and I’m only 24) and then I threaten them. I love these ladies.
I’ve been placed on a different project, so I will no longer be traveling to Baton Rouge every week – and leaving these ladies kind of stinks a lot. It’s unclear whether or not I’m going to be able to sing with them at competition right now, although I’m doubting it considering the amount of rehearsals I’m going to miss. (Although they have generously offered to Skype me into rehearsals.) We’ll see what happens next.
If you want to hear what we sound like, check out this video from competition last year. Or if you want to see what the makeup transformation looks like to get to that point, check out this blog post here.
Now, this part is to the ladies – feel free to keep reading even if you’re not in the chorus though – maybe you’ll learn some cool things about some cool people. Ladies, months ago – I mean months ago – I started making you guys cards. Individual cards. Somehow it failed miserably. I was never happy with the way they were turning out, and now I have a box of half started cards. So I’m going to try again, except this time, it’ll be on the internet.
AD: Thank you for everything you do. It blows my mind how on top of everything you are – and always willing to help. From blue scarves, to earrings, to irons – I have always known if I needed anything you’d be there. Also, thanks for hosting the Christmas party, your house is gorgeous. I also love that you think of things like to make the entire chorus necklaces to bring us together.
AM: There’s this chance I learned a thing or two about standing on the risers from you – and I’m okay with that. I love how when I don’t know lyrics to songs you’re the first one to over-exaggerate motions to help me figure it out. I also really loved fighting over the bouquet with/against you in “Over the River” this summer. You also have some shirts that say cool things on them – although I don’t remember what they are right now.
BT: Let me start by saying it amazes me that you stand on the third row of the risers all the time – I could never do that. Second of all, you’re always SO thoughtful – I have the “Love is all you need” plaque that you gave me sitting on my dresser and I smile every time I look at it. Also, I’ve never told you this, but you sort of remind me of my grandmother. I didn’t know her all that well, but I like to think she was a lot like you – awesome. Oh yeah, and you sounded awesome in your quartet on What a Wonderful World.
CM: Where to begin. Thank you for being awesome. Always supporting me and boosting me up – whether it’s in person, or on Facebook, or Twitter, or text message. I love the fact that you are so easy-going and calm during rehearsals and manage to find a way to explain things in such plain english. Oh, I also love listening to you narrate Christmas concerts – it’s pretty adorable. PS. Thanks for letting me be a part of your quartet – I had SO much fun doing it.
CA: I feel like the first time I really got to know you was at retreat last year, I walked into your little hut and got to hear a little bit about life in Louisiana – which I thought was interesting – I never really thought about things as “pre-Katrina” and “post-Katrina” until that day. Also, I love getting random Facebook messages from you – they always make me smile.
CS: I love standing in front of you while singing – not necessarily during Christmas season because I get confused easily – but it’s always a fun time (and you sound great) – and I can turn around and make sarcastic comments and you appreciate it – which always makes me happy. PS. I know you said once that you almost had to take a break from Sweet Adelines, but I’m really glad you didn’t end up doing that. PPS. I owe you December dues still. I’ll get it to you.
DH: My Houston driving buddy!! I had a blast getting to know you on that trip. (Thank you again for driving part of the way.) Then I had a great time getting to know you even better after the concert this summer out with your son and his friend. And then again at Brubachers. You keep appearing in random places and I love it. Also, it was cool to get to sing at the place where you teach – it’s very cool that you teach.
DR: I only regret not standing closer to you on the front row more often – we could have gotten into LOTS of trouble. I love your Facebook posts. I love that you dye your hair pink. I love that you know that you’re an awesome baritone (because it’s true). I also love that you walk 60 miles every year – that takes a crazy kind of motivation. PS. Great job coordinating our concert this year – you kicked butt at it. Also, I loved hearing you sing “Under the Boardwalk” – I felt like you gave it just the right about of… sexiness. Also, I’m sorry about that link that you clicked one time – totally not my fault. Oh, and it’s cool that your husband was in the car in the concert.
EW: You were the first person from the chorus that I ever talked to – and you were so nice that I knew everything was going to be okay. Since then you’ve always checked on me to see if I needed anything, drove me to and from retreat, and we’ve had a lot of great dinners together (even split a margarita) – and my birthday is your anniversary and that’s got to connect us somehow, right? Also, I love the fact that you honestly and openly talk about life (WW does this too) the good the bad and everything in between – it’s a nice change of pace from what I’m used to. Oh, and thank you for making sure I was never left out of rooming assignments – and I promise I heard no snoring during retreat! And your chex mix stuff was awesome at competition.
GJ: I’m really sorry that I’m probably not going to be able to attend that ball with you anymore – I was really looking forward to it. Although sometimes I roll my eyes about it, I love the fact that you nit-pick on my choreography – it keeps me in check and it makes smile. I don’t know that I’m ever going to be able to stop my hips from moving though – or get my fingers right on “feels like a feather that’s floating on air”. I loved chatting with you on the way home from PN’s concert. And I love the fact that when I lent you my earrings they came back new and sparkly shiny gold. Also, I never did figure out how to do my own blush…
GC: My big sister!! From the beginning you made me feel so welcome – and you would sing all of the right notes in my ear so that I could try to make them up when I really needed to – that was definitely appreciated. You have an awesome laugh. When you conduct it always makes me smile because I can feel exactly what you’re trying to get us to do. I love that you’re utterly carefree about almost everything – and that you make as many comments as I do during chorus rehearsal :).
IL: I’m glad that you came along and joined the chorus! I know you haven’t been around very long – but really I can’t believe you’ve learned everything you have already. I think that the ornaments that you made are really awesome – and you and I should probably talk about crafts sometime because I really love them too. I hope you stick around. Oh, and if you have a Facebook, you should probably find me on there – I tried searching for you already and failed.
JD: I know at some point in the beginning of my time in the chorus Cate made an announcement that we shouldn’t tell people on the risers that they’re wrong – but I’ve got to tell you, I appreciated every time that you called me out on something – I really did – I’d rather know that I’m wrong, then I can fix it :) Although some things I might never get – (but I really was working on ewer!). I’m glad I could hold your cue cards at retreat last year, if I’m around this year, I’d absolutely do it again.
JP: I love following you on Instagram. I love that you bird. I love how much you support Nora and the Royal Teeth. I love reading your Facebook posts. And I love that your hair is red. I’ve always enjoyed going out to eat with you WW and EW – as I said to Emily, I love that you are all real about everything – you talk the good and the bad and it’s a nice change of pace. Hopefully sometime the Royal Teeth perform in Philadelphia I’ll actually be here to see them. That would be cool. Oh, and I had a lot of fun standing next to you during the Christmas concerts – your expressions are great. Also, thank you for letting me use your lipstick more than once.
KS: Your musical knowledge impresses me – from that one day CM wasn’t there and you were talking about all of the notes in the chords and such – I was impressed. Also, I absolutely loved singing with you in the quartet – I would absolutely be up for that any time. I also really like the fact that you once sent me an engineering job available in Baton Rouge – not going to lie, I absolutely did consider it. Also, you always send nice emails – so thank you.
MM: I think you’re awesome. You are one of the most vibrant people I’ve ever met. I love your stories that go with the music. I love watching you conduct. I love that sometimes you play games with the chorus just because you can and you’re in charge. You’re an incredible baritone and I absolutely loved being in a quartet with you. I also think it’s cool that you have horses.
PC: I love the fact that I get so many random emails from you throughout the course of a week – and greeting cards, they always make me smile. Also, there are always so many kind words. Standing next to you on the front row has been a lot of fun as well – I will never know how you tenors do it. Thank you for always offering to lend a hand. Maybe those prayers will bring me back to BR soon. Oh, and thanks for the tips on doing my own eyeliner – I’m not all that great, but I’m better than I was before now.
PN: I love that you signed your email “the short tenor”. I remember getting to have some fun conversations with you at retreat last year – about dating and husbands and whatnot. Also, I think it’s really nice that you’ve offered to drive IL to and from rehearsals. Thank you for inviting us to your concert in Metarie, I had a blast getting to see you and the rest of the concert. Also, I think it’s cool that you know so many people in other choruses – and that you dressed like a bumble bee once upon a time.
PE: One of the first conversations I remember with you was when you told me that the note that I was singing in one measure through to the next was in a different part of the chord in each measure and I was mind blown. I knew that you and I were going to be friends. Thank you for being patient with me on all of those learning tapes – I apologize they weren’t always where they should have been. Thanks for inviting me to that concert – I had a lot of fun. Also, I think it’s really cool that you danced at the concert with your husband. Definitely a fun hobby.
SB: We were in it together. Thanks for being awesome. And rooming together. And teaching me about pageants. And always inviting me out (even though I sucked and never came). And for creating chaos in the front row with me for a while. We will have to go dancing next time I am in town. And out for a few more drinks – where we can hear the bartenders – although that did turn out to be a good night after all. Oh, and I thought it was really cool that you sang that song at retreat last year. And thank you for not laughing at me while I put on fake eyelashes.
TT: I absolutely love when you comment on my Facebook page – I get excited every time. I think you’re awesome. I also love the fact that you would have considered bringing me a buffalo chicken calzone if we were in the same state. I love watching you sing in Oh Yes. I still can’t believe you’re a great grandmother – that blows my mind. I also love that you’re witty and make comments during rehearsal that make me smile.
VA: You write awesome poetry – I’m actually really sad there’s no more pig to hear poems about. You really do give the best hugs – one of the first things you and I had a real conversation about was that you’re a hugger – and I loved that. You also have really great facial expressions while you’re singing – it’s like you’re telling a story like you do with your poems – which is very very cool.
VS: I love standing next to you on the front row – that means that you and I got to fight during the “Over the River” number – which was always fun. I love that you (like TT and GC) always have witty comments during rehearsal – and during sectionals you’re always full of good questions that make us better as a section.
WW: You by far have some of the greatest facial expressions while singing in this chorus – as far as I was concerned, you were the lady I was trying to match. I loved getting to room with you during competition and I love all of the dinners that we’ve gone out to in the meantime – and the same as with EW and JP – I love that you’re real when you talk about things. It just feels good. Also – it’s always fun to quartet with you – you’re a pretty great lead. Also, you’ve kind of inspired me to try jazzercise, now I just need to find time.