Thursday, January 12, 2012

Waiting for Waukee

First, let me say this.  I'm a lazy S.O.B.

A casino about 90 minutes from here is run by the Meskwaki indian tribe.  My son and I try to head over there every couple of months or so to play one of their cheap Texas hold-em donkaments.  They allow 18-year olds to play there and my son is only 19.  I can't wait until he turns 21 so we can just go over to Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino to play.  It's only 15 minutes from here and is, in my opinion, just better in every way.  The action is better.  The dealers are better.  The management is better.  Trust me, it's better.

I took today off from work in anticipation of returning from the casino later than my bedtime.  Anyway, we decided against going because there was the threat of snow and we had a very harrowing trip back from there in a snow storm last winter that I wasn't aching to repeat.  Did I get up and go to work?  No....of course not.  I stayed up late playing video games and drinking Blue Moon Belgian ale and slept in until almost noon. L-A-Z-Y.

I guess I deserve some down time considering the craziness that is the show choir competition season is about to kick off this weekend.  On Saturday we head about 5 miles from Urbandale High School over to Waukee High School to compete in their show choir invitational known as "Starstruck".  This competition may be our toughest of the year as far as trying to win the whole thing for one reason: Totino-Grace "Company of Singers."

Totino-Grace is a powerhouse show choir from a Catholic school in the Minneapolis area. We have rarely beaten them in our history.  I think it may have happened a grand total of two times in the dozen or so times we have faced them.  Last year we lost to them by 20 points (a pretty big margin from 1st to 2nd at a show choir event) on a night when we felt like we had our best performance of the year.

I think our show choir is the most prepared we have ever been at this point in the season and I really like our show.  I don't know a thing about Totino's show or how good they are expected to be this year.  I just know that they are always good, but can slip up early in the season thanks to their abundance of costume changes and props.  All of that makes me think this might be our best chance in a while to steal a win from them.

For anyone that might stumble across this blog (I haven't promoted it at all) who are interested, here are Studio's selections this year:

"Breakin' Loose"
A Damon Brown and Anita Cracauer original.  It's cheesy fun with a train theme and a sort of fifties hand jive feel.

"Sound of Silence"
It's a creepy re-imagining of the Paul Simon classic.  This one features some really cool band moments from pizzicato strings on the synth to timpani in the percussion.  I think this will be the song the crowd talks about the most after the show.

A typical Josh Groban ballad from the soundtrack for the movie Troy.  I don't think it is as technically difficult as last year's ballad, but could be very special if the students really sell it the right way visually.

"Forget You/Get Over It"
Our girls are definitely the strength of our group this year and they open this number with a cool swing/big band version off the Cee-Lo Green hit.  Then the boys smack you in the face with a cocky and rockin' rendition of "Get Over It" from The Eagles.  It's not a super well known song, but when the boys fully commit to the intensity of the song it is very, very entertaining.

The closer begins with a little known Neil Diamond piece called "Be" that is from the soundtrack of the movie "Jonathan Livingston Seagull." It is definitely not well known, but has a very impressive solo by senior Adam Brown that changes keys three times before his solo ends and he has to cover a range that goes from low A to A-flat above middle C. "Astonishing" will be recognized right away by the Broadway afficianados in the crowd as the inspirational ballad sung memorably by Sutton Foster in the musical "Little Women." We have taken it way up tempo, but I think it is true to the original piece and still just as inspirational thanks to the amazing vocals of our group.  They are singing at the end of their show like most groups wish they could at the beginning.  If they pull it off and sing powerfully, yet still healthfully, at the end of their show, the judges will have no choice but to reward us with a good placing.

Anyway...I'm nervous and can't wait until this Saturday.

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