Each year since 2005 we have signed up for the spring SAI Regional Convention and Competition. Each year we have worked hours and hours on our music and our choreography, agonized over what to wear on stage, and paid many valuable dollars for top notch coaches to help us prepare for the competition. We put ourselves through this process voluntarily. No one forces us. It costs us a lot of time, a lot of money, and causes a lot of stress.
So why do we do it? Well, I won’t speak for Lori, Lori or Kate, but I can tell you why I compete.
First, I am in this to stretch myself, creatively and developmentally. How far can I go? What am I capable of if I work hard? What creative abilities can I develop if I dig a little deeper? What will I discover about myself if I follow this path? For example, over the years I have discovered that I have mental and emotional roadblocks when it comes to “choreography”. I used to think I couldn’t do it, and I used to be afraid of what I would look like. And I still have a lot of room for improvement. But I have overcome those roadblocks a little bit, learned to relax a little, to settle into my own skin. Putting myself on stage forces me to face this roadblock head on. That has been very empowering for me!
Musically I’ve gained skills and an education in barbershop sound and style. This part of the hobby has come the most naturally to me, and it’s been really fun to explore deeper and deeper into the musical side of things. Taking the musical product on stage in a competition setting gives me the opportunity to evaluate how far I’ve come and how far I have yet to go in my barbershop education.
Surprisingly to me, and ever more important to me, has been the teamwork aspect of this hobby. I never expected that the “team” part of quartet singing would be the hardest and also the most rewarding part. Learning to give and accept feedback, learning to compromise with three other equal partners, learning to move forward toward a common goal – these have been lessons that I didn’t expect but have welcomed. Working toward contest with three like-minded, talented women is a study in high-performance teams, and I love it!
There are a lot of other reasons why I sing, but these are the reasons that I choose to sing competitively. None of these reasons have anything to do with “winning”, or achieving an end-game. It’s all about what I’m learning along the way. It’s about the journey!