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Good morning!

First of all, a few little pesky details!

  • Jealousy: PLEASE DON’T LET IT RUSH – ESPECIALLY SMALL GROUP! Stay on my pulse.
  • Two words: “FORTE-piano!” Repeat as necessary
  • Arden is back on her feet! YAY! (But I’ve asked her to refrain from small group since she’s been out.)
  • SMALL GROUP: You’re almost there. Some of you are totally embodying the jazz thing, and some of you look scared s*itless. Please choose the former. Sing it like a madrigal. Sort of like you’re having fun.
  • ALL: Beware – again – that note values could change, especially near the end. WATCH!
  • Suo Gan is lovely
  • AZANIA has really found a groove. REALLY play the triple thing melody people. I mean… REALLY!
  • At nearly EVERY transition it sounds like a bass or a baritone is changing the chord one beat early. (Can you grab a moment to sort that this morning. It goes by so fast I can’t catch it.)
  • Petrassi: ONE part music, NINE parts snarky drama!!! Embrace that. And I’ll totally pull those last two passages out of tempo, especially the last one. WATCH!
  • WHOLE WORLD: Watch for dynamic nuance – always. And tenors – PLEASE don’t sound like your dying on those transition passage? Sing lighter and lock the jazz chords. You ARE Take 6!
  • EVEN ME: I think this piece could win the entire competition! DONE! (Love you, Arreon!) The soprano pop at the end it STILL out of tune. Danielle ONLY on the pop. It should simply sound like an overtone
  • SOON I WILL BE DONE: Marcato soprano and altos! It’s not a walk in the park – it’s life or death! – ETERNAL life! Last chord – It’s a freakin’ triad. Don’t over sing to the point where we can’t hear that chord. (Especially sopranos!)

I don’t have a lot of time to write this morning, but I think you already know what I’m feeling!

I’m very confident that we’ll come home with prize in each division, but we need first place in at least one division to proceed to the finals.

As usual, it appears there are only a few contenders, and I believe in the end it will come down to us and the Philippines. They will totally impress the judges with their warm mature tone (wink, wink), their absolute precision, and their mega-serious stage presence. (They came to win! PERIOD!) If that’s what the judges want, I will never be apologetic for putting up a program that shows 1000 beautiful DIFFERENT things that our choir is capable of. (They will likely be amazing, but in a singular dimension.) But I believe you have a strong edge on capturing the hearts of the audience. That doesn’t officially count on the points scale, but it’s very difficult to sit there as a judge and not hear the audience fall in love with you. (Don’t sing to impress the judges. Sing to inspire the people in the audience who see (and hear) hope for the human race in your faces!)

Just be you. UNIMAGINABLY you!

Push your musicianship to the edge, but not at the expense of being the most human version of yourself that says “Singing is not about winning a prize, but about changing lives!” You’ve been watching that happen all week. That’s part of the fabric that holds us together.

You should also be prepared for the fact that when the judges announce the scores, a judge will walk on stage and make comments about each individual choir with an American Idol kind of candor. The comments about the soloists yesterday were ruthless! This is the big leagues, friends. They simply call it like it is. To which your response should be, “OK… I’ll get right on that!”

Finally, you must walk on stage knowing that you are going to win this competition. FULL STOP!

Thinking that it’s a “strong maybe” will not do ANYTHING to improve your performance. And whether that changes the outcome of the prize distribution is irrelevant. You’ve been winning this context all week – elevating your musicianship and finding your own strengths in ways you never would have had it not been for this extra nudge. And if past experience is any indication, the entire choir will NEVER be as fully committed as you are on the competition stage today. (Humans are funny that way!) Your job is to seize that moment of that adrenaline rush so you can bookmark that for the rest of your life as that day you and 59 other people gave all of themselves on a stage in the Welsh countryside.

Having been on the planet for quite a long time now, I can tell you that my very most prized possessions are the memories that have become a part of who I am today, while allowing me to bond with the people who were in that time and place when the thing actually happened.

You’ve already experienced that several times this week. (A music video shoot in a river?! I’ll tell that story for the rest of my life!) And while today may be a memory of the day we took a big prize in Wales, what you’ll really remember is the unbridled passion and energy surging from every person on stage with you today.

There are very few people in this life that have the opportunity to experience anything even remotely like this! For that, I already anoint you as “CHOIR OF THE WORLD!”

You’re most certainly the choir of MY world, and you will never fully grasp the depths of my gratitude for that.

I’m so very glad you’re alive. Each and every one of you. (.25)



P.S. Is you have a few meaningful words about has this week has impacted your life so far, I welcome you to share those in the comment section below. Don’t feel obligated, but remember… You never know when someone is having a musical experience – until somebody actually tells you that has occurred. 🙂

6 thoughts on “From PDH: GAME DAY!”

  1. When I came on this trip I did not even consider the possibility of taking home the title. All I wanted was to make music at the absolute highest level and compete on the world stage. No matter the outcome I know those two things will happen today. The feeling of totally and completely dialed in with people who are doing the same weighs more to me than anything else. I am ready to run through a damn brick wall for every person in this chorus, and I know you guys would do the same for me. Let’s leave it all out on the stage and walk away proud of how we represented our school, our chorus, and our country. There is no place in the world I’d rather be today, and no group of people I’d rather be here with.

  2. This has been such a rewarding experience, and no matter what happens, I love you all! You are all amazing! LET’S SLEW THEM WITH A KICK! AND A STICK!

  3. I’m SO PUMPED! I feel like we’ve really locked in and are producing something truly spectacular, both musically and emotionally :’)) Thanks once again for making me feel so welcome and providing such a perfect place for my voice to slot into. I feel very honored to sing with y’all☺️✨❤️

  4. I’m so indebted to all you amazing people for your talent, welcoming, individuality, spirituality, and everything in-between. Everything about this trip has been so affirming and spectacular. We became the choir of the world in AED118- we just had to stop by to pick up the trophy.

  5. The spontaneity of that moment in the river recording session is what this is all about for me!!! Always those moments of unexpected joy. Those will go down in history!!! 💙💙💙

  6. On the way out of our first church performance, Esther and I were the last ones in the back of the group grabbing the last of items. A man walked out of the church wide eyed and disoriented. He looked at me and said, “We’re you a part of that choir?” And I responded yes. And looking as though he had just had something akin to a profound religious experience, he said, physically moved “i was just sobbing, I think you’re the best choir I’ve ever heard.” He was from wales and explained that he had done some choir but he had never seen something so incredible. We talked and he expressed how he had such a musical moment. He said how he almost didn’t come today, and still wide eyed and shaking, shared how he was so glad he did. It was such an incredible moment that Esther and I shared with that man, and showed that we have already changed lives on this trip and we have an amazing opportunity to do such incredible things on this stage today.

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