by Linda Arnold
We Celebrate Our 21st Year!!!
April 30 marks the end of our 21st year as South Florida Jubilee Chorus. We still have 4 of our original charter members very active in our chorus: Laurie Hunt, Meryl Kelleher, Doris Pfenninger, and myself!! We love watching how our chorus has grown under Nancy Bowers, our first director, and the last 19 years directed by James Kastler.
It is so much fun to celebrate all of our accomplishments of the past year. How did we get to where we are and how did it help those 6 minutes on our regional competition stage? We all know that nothing happens overnight and that it takes a lot of work to get to where you want to be. Let’s look back and see what we did!
It started a whole year ago. After critically viewing our 2017 competition video with James, the chorus brainstormed ways we could improve individually and as a chorus. We wrote 3 chorus goals on areas we thought we needed to rev up our game. We feel that kept us focused this year and certainly helped to increase our scores by 17 points over last years contest! We even got some B+ scores!!!
One of our goals was not only increasing our membership, but making sure we bonded with them so that they felt very included. This group of new members brought us a vitality and enthusiasm that made all of us want to strive to put our best foot forward and work hard with them. Young and old we found that we had more in common than we thought. Our holiday party was at a member’s home and we all spent the evening chatting with members that we never get to talk too! Then, we had lots of performances out in the community and of course, what do we do best after, but go out to eat after, bond and sing.
Another thing we really wanted to do was to improve our visual plan. We really wanted to make sure that we all felt the same emotion and conveyed that emotion and visual plan to the audience!! We worked hard to find our groove and to become totally involved in the visual message. Not only did we look good in our newly blinged costumes but we felt good and confident and especially comfy in our flat shoes!!. We were so confident that for the first time ever a judge actually said we were very energized and aggressive!!! Okay, now we might need to learn to tame our aggressiveness a little bit, but the good news is we all did it together!!!! So our goal was accomplished!!!
Our third goal was to improve our musicality by earning higher scores in sound and music! We really worked hard to do this. We had many extra sectional rehearsals and even a joint sectional with Bari’s and Leads to really improve those rubs. Maybe our scores did not go up as much as we would have wanted but we actually had dynamic changes and rang lots of chords. We even had two quartets representing our chorus, which is great for us!
We worked hard all year! We are proud of coming in 6th place. We saw the results of the dedication we put in place this year. We had wonderful coaches along with James that helped us to visualize a new us!! We are up for a new challenge, to take what we did on the stage this year and bring it to the next level.
So, how did we celebrate all of this year’s accomplishments, we had a party!! We all got together at Buca De Beppo’s and celebrated!! We recognized our out-going management team: Laurie Hunt – Grants/By-Laws, Lynne Gaudamuz - Ways and Means, Cynthia Cohen and Marty Moore – Visual, Barb Parga- Finance, Ginger Ruoff – Marketing, Brenda Popovich – Performances, Carol Sheppard – Communications, and James – Music. This team really steered our goal setting , kept us fiscally responsible, made us gorgeous, booked us lots of performances, and of course our music team chaired by Laura Knowles that guided us to improve vocally. (Ed: Too modest to mention her leadership, Linda Arnold - Team Leader)
We installed our new team, many of the same members: Laurie Hunt – Grants/By-Laws, Lynne Gaudamuz - Ways and Means, Sally Rose– Visual, Barb Parga- Finance, Ginger Ruoff – Education, Brenda Popovich – Performances, Carol Sheppard – Communications, Celeste Burke – Marketing, Linda Arnold - Team Leader, and James – Music.
Then we recognized all of the individuals that did so much. Vivian Ruggles and Brenda Popovich, our show chairs’ moved us out of comfort zone by doing a country show. We loved learning 9 new songs especially “Black Horse and a Cherry Tree”, “County Roads”, and “Happy Trails”. We had fun and so did our audience!! Lots of people helped make that show a smash and Vivian recognized them all.
Ginger Ruoff recognized all of her marketing people and newsletter team. We are very pleased how we are moving into the use of more social media to attract new members. Cynthia and Marty recognized their visual team. Then our section leaders thanked their sections!!
A special high-light is when we announce our “Sweet Adeline of the Year”. Marty Moore, last year’s “Sweet Adeline of the Year” gets to read all of the nominations from our members and makes the final selection. We are so proud of Celeste Burke. She has brought a tremendous amount of technology skill, personality, and enthusiasm to our chorus.
Everyone had decorated a paper doll describing themselves and their attributes. When each member was recognized for something they did for the chorus (other than just singing) we pinned up their paper doll. When we were all done we realized that 100% of our chorus was involved in making our chorus grow and improve not only as an organization but as sisterhood dedicated to music and each other. Our chorus is so much more than just getting together on Thursday nights!! We will continue to take everything we have learned and continue to learn to challenge ourselves even further. We know we are more than 6 minutes on the stage and we want everyone to know it!!