By Boss., November, 2015.
Standing on the stage for call-off last spring in Winston-Salem, we had no idea what was to come. When the fifth place score of 572 was announced, we were amazed. We’d had reserved hopes of coming home with a fifth place medal, but thought there was no way we could have improved more than fifty or so points from our novice year score of 495. When we heard “Boss.” announced with a score 98 points higher than last year’s, all of us were in complete shock. The weekly rehearsals all winter/spring and special coaching sessions had paid off… big time!
After we returned to Atlanta, we started processing what winning Regional actually meant. There was so much to do and learn about representing Region 14 at International Contest, and we were absolutely clueless. We reached out to Speed of Sound for guidance, and they not only answered our questions, but they also created a fifteen-page “So, You Just Won Regional Contest…” info booklet for us. With information on everything from the Circle of Champions responsibilities to all of the paperwork we could expect from SAI, it was A-mazing!
Even with help from Speed of Sound, and support from friends, family, and coaches, the months leading up to International were riddled with extra challenges. Melody Hine graduated from UGA and spent the summer honing her barbershop skills at back-to-back barbershop camps and workshops, then moved to Orlando, Florida for a semester with the Disney College Program.
Tessa Walker continued her classes at UGA, while working and commuting back and forth between Athens and Atlanta every day. Mary Cox’s time was stretched between caring for parents out-of-state, taking a few family trips, and attending foreign missions with her church.
Meanwhile, Angelina Stasulis was busy devoting herself to countless hours of study in preparation for a 16-hour professional licensing exam, when she joyfully discovered that she was pregnant with her first child—and due at the end of November! The pregnancy, while not a complete surprise in itself, presented special concerns because her due date was so close to the date of this year’s International Convention.
That unique mix of challenges, travels, obligations and life changes really taught us the value of dueting and trio-ing when not everyone was free to rehearse. Our weekends and free time rarely lined up for rehearsals and coaching, so practicing independently and matching with every part when we managed to sing together was extra-important. Fortunately, we had unbelievable coaching from Clay Hine two weekends before International. We were so thankful for his input, and for being so flexible and willing to work around our crazy schedules.
Just when we thought we were getting things figured out, life threw us another curve…literally…when Angelina’s growing baby bump forced us to re-think our costumes. We decided to keep our signature blazers, but chose to leave them unbuttoned, and we finally found the perfect sparkly tank top that fit our personalities and Angelina’s new addition, too. It’s fun to think that there were really five of us on stage that day.
Our Vegas time itself was a wonderful whirlwind. The week started out with the Region 14 Rally on Monday evening. Since the other three parts were still traveling, Angelina served as Boss.’s lone representative at the event. It was wonderful to be surrounded by familiar, friendly faces on our first night at International Contest.
We started Tuesday off at the quartet briefing session and were honored to mix and mingle with Queens and other competitors at the Coronet Club reception that afternoon. We finished the day with a second “pep rally” for some of our Song of Atlanta chorus mates who weren’t in town for the previous night’s regional event.
Wednesday (Contest Day!) was surreal. We rehearsed a bit in the morning, and then cheered on some of our competitors, especially our region mates in Speed of Sound and Legacy. Next, more rehearsing, followed by our usual getting-ready ritual: rocking out to Angelina’s YouTube playlist while doing our hair/make-up (Thanks, Becki Hine!) and getting dressed.
We enjoyed every second on the International stage, and were so proud to be able to represent Region 14, especially during a year where we had so many of our region sisters at contest, both competing and cheering from the audience. Thank you all so much for the cards, emails, FB posts, and support! We’re so grateful for all the love you’ve shown us on this journey, and look forward to seeing you all at the Regional events in 2016.