Preparing for Regional Competition with Coaches Char Gurney & Kerry Denino

Lynn Billings-Thomas's picture

In April, Scenic City Chorus and some of our quartets are headed to Lexington, KY, to compete in the Sweet Adelines Region 4 Competition.

We’ve worked on our package—a ballad and an up-tune—for months, getting right down to the finest details of the barbershop craft. We’ve been polishing those vowels, solidifying our synch, working proper vocal production, and becoming the story we want to tell in song. We want that story to emotionally touch every person in the audience. And four certified judges in that audience—specialists in music, showmanship, expression and sound—will be evaluating us on every nuance of the craft.

To help us achieve our goal, we periodically bring in expert coaches. Recently, dynamic mother and daughter team Char Gurney and Kerry Denino, both Master 700 Directors who co-direct Scioto Valley Chorus in Dublin, OH, did some in-depth weekend coaching. They relentlessly pulled out the best in us and wouldn’t settle for less. (It’s interesting to note that we will be competing against Scioto Valley who placed 4th in the world in Sweet Adelines international competition last fall in Las Vegas.)

It’s incredibly hard work to prepare for contest. There are 25 choruses and over 50 quartets in Region 4. Scenic City Chorus (which this year is categorized as large) took 2nd place in the mid-size division and 3rd place overall last year. Can we best that?

Maybe. But what we really want is to beat the number of points we earned last year. That’s the true indicator of success in maintaining forward movement towards better and better performances.

And who benefits from that besides us? Our audiences in the greater Chattanooga area. You!