The Millies are just coming back down from cloud nine after an amazing convention in Cardiff. We had the most amazing weekend we have ever had in our ten-year history and we can’t wait for the coming year.
On the Friday we got to witness two of our wonderful quartets Sound Central and Blonde Ambition take to the stage. We were already so proud of them anyway but we were honoured to witness their achievements on that stage. Not only did we see the Blondies take the Most Improved Quartet award but Jen and Sarah smashed it in their first Sweet Adelines quartet competition by getting the silver medal alongside Suze and Bev. We can’t wait to see what both of these quartets do in the future. Both are destined for great things.
Our Friday night celebrations however were short and sweet as we all needed to get an early night. We did however have time for our annual Friday night briefing. Here was the time for me to give some final thoughts for each member of my Millies in the form of a written card. It’s one of my favourite traditions as I get to tell each of my girls just how much they mean to me. Our team co-ordinator also gave us a little gift which included all of the things that would get us through contest day.
On Saturday morning, everyone had their hair and makeup done by 10am and we made our way over to St David’s Hall for our warm-up. The best memory from our warming up session had to be hiding from Sue when she went to the toilet. Revenge that was ten years in the making. Sorry Sue! Hang on! We were supposed to be in serious mode as it was contest day! Oh, who am I kidding. It’s the Millies. Do we even have a serious mode?
After warm-up we went back to our hotel in order to get changed in to our wonderful costumes and then we were back over at the convention centre getting ready to get in to the traffic pattern. This was it! No turning back now. Well, unless you’re Sheri who had to turn back as she had forgotten the pitchpipe. I’ll let her off. Sheri is my rock and we couldn’t do this without her – although we very nearly couldn’t do it with her. Luckily, our friend Veryan from Fortuity came to our rescue by giving us hers and even a member of Heartbeat gave us one of theirs. We ended up having two, thanks to this amazing region.
Soon, the stage call came and we walked on to the stage to give the performance that we had been working so hard on for the last few months. It goes so quickly. It’s also hard to tell how your performance went when you are in the moment and therefore we would just have to wait for the results.
The results are my least favourite experience; I hate being away from my Millies. I would much rather be with them so that we can celebrate or commiserate together. When they announced us as first placed small chorus, I can’t even remember what happened apart from me hugging Ali like my life depended on it. We had done it! My heart was pounding so quickly. Then came the wait for the scores…
When you go in to competition. You have some idea of what you want to achieve. Us? We wanted to achieve 580. Get 70s across the board and achieve the greatest score in our history. When I got the envelope with the scores inside, I took it out tentatively and scanned the sheet for our name. I must have looked down that line about ten times before it sunk in. I was actually seeing the score 585. I ran so fast to find the other girls and there they were just outside the double doors. I literally just screamed at them and cried. Then came 24 embraces. A hug so tight that just said, “we did it!” We got exactly what we came for. And worked so hard for.
On the Saturday night, we partied hard. We sang, we laughed, we cried and all while being on cloud nine.
A week after getting home, we received the best email from international headquarters. We have been invited to the Harmony Classic Competition in Louisville in 2020. Never in our wildest dreams thought we would ever get back there and we are so delighted to say that we have accepted this wonderful offer. To be one of four choruses going to Louisville, we feel so excited for our region and we are going to have such an amazing time.
Although we achieved our dreams, nothing is comparable to the friendship that I get from these amazing women. Every single member of this chorus works tirelessly to get to the standard we need to be. I hear a lot of directors say how lonely it is being a director. This is very true to some extent and there have been times when I have felt like I couldn’t go on or that I wasn’t good enough. However, when you have your sisters in front of you lifting you up and helping you out you never feel lonely for long. I feel like the luckiest director alive. I get to direct the Millies who are not only super talented ladies, but the warmest, funniest and amazing people, too. Every single one of them has been there for me in some form or another in the past ten years and I am looking forward to seeing where the future will take us.
Next up is my wedding. I can proudly say that my girls are coming to my special day. It wouldn’t be right to get married without them there and although we will be singing a song especially arranged by the amazing Simon Arnott, the day is not about singing. It’s about celebrating with my family. And that included my Millies.