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Ahhhhhhh. The Midwest Convention is over. This one ended up as really hot stuff. Usually, the Sunday session of a convention is more sparsely attended than the Saturday session, especially in the morning when people want to go to church. Not our Midwest this year. Half an hour into it, the singing room was already as packed as it was on Saturday, and more people kept coming in during the day. I would guess that, by day's end, there were two hundred or more people stuffed into that room. And the vast majority of them were singing at the tops of their lungs.

This is the kind of singing that pretty much moves itself. We of the arranging/secretarial committee did not have to remind people to move efficiently and not dawdle in the square; they did that themselves, bouncing up to lead a song, and hurrying down to let the next leader in. Chop-chop. So the accumulated energy really built itself up to a major head, and the room was ringing even before dinner.

Dinner, which is usually heavy on carbohydrates and sugars*, only added fuel to this fire. From where I was sitting as Secretary, I could see the Convention literally pulsing as the after-dinner singing took off. It was the kind of singing where, if the song was fast, it was really fast, and if it was slow, it got intense. In the middle of all this, I led Easter Anthem, because someone had requested it. It was the perfect time for an anthem, and the class roared it out with amazing gusto.

Sometimes, a convention will start to flag towards the end, as people get tired, but that did not happen here. At the time we called a halt to the proceedings, the singing was going on just as strong as it had all day, and the room was at its fullest. We could have easily kept on going for another hour or two, if we'd had a mind to. Definitely a Midwest Convention for the ages.

I got to host an acquaintance who is another old girl from the Fairest College, which was fun. We were never at the Fairest College together, but we "met" on an alumni message site, and we primarily keep in touch through that (though we did attend the New England Convention together a couple of years ago). It was great to see her in person again, and she makes a very nice houseguest.



*I wonder, now, if anyone has ever managed to eat an entire slice of the mile-high coconut cream cake that one of the Chicago singers brings every year. It's so good, but so rich that most people, including me, only take fractions of slices so that we can sample the other goodies as well.

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
meckinock
May. 28th, 2007 04:29 am (UTC)
Wow, sounds like a great time was had by all.
frenchpony
May. 28th, 2007 10:31 pm (UTC)
It was indeed. Most everyone I talked to had something to say about how great the event was. I think that last year's Midwest wasn't so well attended, and everyone was pleasantly surprised at this one.
(Deleted comment)
frenchpony
May. 28th, 2007 10:33 pm (UTC)
There almost aren't words to describe it. I can tell you everything that went on, and even try to describe the sound and feel of two hundred and fifty voices roaring out a song all aimed at you, of seeing the pulsing mass of people abandoning themselves to the joy of the music, of the warm press of bodies taking the parting hand. . . and still it isn't enough. It will never be enough.
jelazakazone
May. 28th, 2007 12:10 pm (UTC)
Dang and double dang. I love it when the energy keeps rising.

One thing we've noticed with our regular sing (NSV) is that the energy is often better after dinner. We have never tried to figure out why. One theory I have is that only the serious singers are left and there is no one to "drag us down" or muddle the notes. But I know this isn't entirely true as we often have new people left after dinner. *shrug* One of those eternal mysteries:)
frenchpony
May. 28th, 2007 10:34 pm (UTC)
I think that the dinner does raise the energy. Dinners on the grounds tend to be heavy on carbohydrates, since they're portable, and then everyone makes at least one stop at the desserts table, thereby eating lots of sugar right before resuming singing. That's just a recipe for high-energy song right there.
meggins
May. 28th, 2007 08:26 pm (UTC)
Sounds like a wonderful event.
frenchpony
May. 28th, 2007 10:35 pm (UTC)
Awe-inspiring would be another good word to describe it. It literally inspires awe to be in the middle of a singing that big.
thebigwhitecat
May. 29th, 2007 02:21 am (UTC)
Ahh, you are so right. Sunday roared. I'm still smiling, still reprising some of the tunes in my head.

There was one great lesson after another after another. Your Easter Anthem was great. Even my lesson wasn't bad. I was fortunate enough to be asked to sit on the front bench for awhile, where the sound was particularly amazing, but the collective exhilaration was everywhere, no matter where you sat. Truly a Midwest to remember.

And one of the more astonishing things was that most of the Southerners (250 or so, I heard) were at the Mt. Pisgah singing in Alabama (and a few were at the Southern Harmony Big Singing in Benton, Kentucky, too) but, as one of the Chicago leaders pointed out, we could do (and did) it ourselves.

Ahh.
frenchpony
May. 29th, 2007 02:40 am (UTC)
Truly a Midwest to remember.

Amen and hallelujah. An ear-popping sound, yes it was. The Sunday session was something pretty special.
elliska
May. 30th, 2007 12:27 am (UTC)
This sounds awesome! So, different groups of people sing different songs? Is there a theme/genre of music? Does everybody sing or just the groups 'on stage?' Pardon the ignorance if you already explained this once somewhere else (I'd forget my name but they make us wear nametags at work). Can anybody come listen? Are there tickets? The more you talk about these, the more they pique my curiosity. I'd love to see something like this.
frenchpony
May. 30th, 2007 04:40 am (UTC)
It's very democratic. Everyone sings -- no real audience, just participation. Anyone who wants can have a turn in the middle leading. Anyone is welcome to stop by to sing, or just to listen. No charge for wandering in, although most big conventions will pass the hat to defray expenses. I've added a link to fasola.org to my sidebar, and that explains things pretty well.

If you want to see video, run a search on YouTube for "sacred harp" -- some singers have been posting pretty good videos of whole songs recently. If you want to see it live, and join a singing, there are four regular singings in Florida. One is in Gainesville, one is in Hilliare, and two are in Tallahassee.
elliska
May. 31st, 2007 01:32 am (UTC)
That looks really cool. The one in Gainseville is pretty close to me. I think I might try it out. Thank FP!
frenchpony
May. 31st, 2007 01:13 pm (UTC)
Here's the info on the Gainesville singing, from fasola.org.

Gainesville: Sunday after Third Saturdays (except December) - 3:30-5:30 p.m. - Episcopal Church of the Mediator, 401 NE Cholokka Boulevard, Micanopy. Info: Pat Morse (352) 377-8061 or (352) 466-3801, pat3@juno.com.

Apparently, there's also one in Old Chicora that didn't make it into the paper minutes book.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )