We had a 7:15 am call time by the lake at Gresford where we assembled in concert dress and warmed up in the road until the bus arrived. The bus dropped us off at the Eisteddfod grounds and we warmed up backstage in the hold. This differed from 4 years ago when I competed as an alum of my college choir. I think it had to do with the fact that we were the first competition of the day and we had a smaller ensemble.
There’s a big screen backstage where you can see the what’s happening on the stage (rather, watch the performance before yours). I remember just staring at it this time around and watching all the tech guys working at a quick pace to get the sound and stage set up for the day. After a few trips to the mirror to make sure my red lipstick was under control, we lined up like a line of cattle on the ramp to the stage. No nerves, just calm and excited this time around.
It was finally 9:10 am- go time. The techs wished us luck as we filed on stage and we whispered words of encouragement to each other. Once set, I had a few seconds to take in the view. The sun illuminated the tent and the sparse morning crowd which consisted or our homestays and a few older people. They smiled at us as we waited for the ok to start from the judges.
Singing on stage is such a rush. I thrive on the adrenaline and fun I have performing for others and being in a competition heightens those feelings exponentially. Months of hard work and practice are put on the line in one set. Like the Olympics, victory is earned and sweet.
Once the conductor’s hands went up, I was locked in for what seemed to be the fastest 12 minutes of my life. We knocked out piece after piece and only during the pauses in between did my mind wander to think about if the camera caught me flubbing a lyric in the third piece. When we went backstage, I remember feeling satisfied from the rush, unsatisfied about some of the performance, and then bummed that that was our only competition. I was riding a singing high and I didn’t want that set to be our only performance on the international stage.
We ended up getting third place (though deserving of second) so that was a tough pill to swallow. I shrugged it off and thought how lucky I was to be back at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod and went into town with the roomie to sit on the river rocks and enjoy a post-competition lunch.
Addendum: Chamber Ensemble Rules
Each choir (no more than 30 people) should prepare a contrasting programme of up to 12 minutes of music which must include the
A work composed before 1800 (Cantate Domino, Monteverdi)
An unaccompanied work (Deep River, Spiritual)
An original work composed by a living composer from the choirs native country (In Green Underwood, Ed Rejuney a member of our choir)
We tacked on an additional piece to close out the program (Hallelujah, Sunt, Spiritual… UK people LOVE Americans singing spirituals)