To the beautiful souls who make up the Northern Blend Chorus,
We want to thank you for hosting an amazing show, your 12th annual Sing Fling! event, and for inviting Epic to be your featured quartet. We want to thank you for going out of your way to decorate our afterglow table with fun trinkets and for presenting us with fun, personalized gifts. We want to thank you for being so warm and welcoming to Epic from day 1. But we have some other stuff to say, too, so you’re getting an open letter in the form of our oh-so-formal (ha! yeah right) Epic blog.
As some of you may have heard at the afterglow, we feel more connected to Northern Blend than we probably have any right to. See, we have this lovely habit of making “best friends” with complete strangers, mostly because Kristina Adams could talk to anyone in any situation (i.e., breast pumps to the stranger in the airport) and Anne Albright tends to tell people that she loves them when she has known them for no more than, say, 10 or 15 minutes. Just ask our poor CD engineer, Chris Wright. The things that poor man heard coming over the line… he’s probably STILL in therapy a year and a half later.
When Epic won, we thought we’d work our way through our reigning year, hand down the traveling crowns to the next set of Harmony Queens, and then think about returning to a quiet life in Virginia where we could slowly but surely start building a Harmony, Inc. chorus. As it turns out, our busy gig schedule all over the greater D.C. area had a lot of folks asking, “Is there a Harmony Inc. chorus around here?” We felt like we couldn’t wait any longer to start Bella Nova so with the initial vision laid out by Epic and our coach/director/5th member, Richard Lewellen, we jumped in with eyes wide shut and founded our version of what a female barbershop chorus should be. We have stumbled along, staying true to our vision for Bella Nova, and figuring out what i’s to dot and t’s to cross as we go.
Throughout the year, we have turned to Northern Blend’s leadership many times for advice and guidance. This wide range of sometimes idiotic (or at least innocently ignorant) questions ranged from important topics including, “Where the hell do you rehearse the chorus at international if there are no rooms on Wednesday?” to “Do you make the chorus buy the same makeup?” and “How should we hem t-length for the front row???” and a few other lovely topics in between. We’ve bugged a few other unsuspecting Harmony Inc. choruses as well, but we turn to NBC every time so we can gauge “what would NBC do?”
When we unexpectedly won in 2012, we remember coming across NBC hanging out together in a bar lobby, just singing for the sake of singing and hanging out together. In fact, we sat there for a good 15 minutes or so, just listening and watching NBC perform, before anyone realized that the “new queens” had wandered in. We enjoyed observing the camaraderie and friendship the chorus clearly exuded. It’s like you make your own experience, regardless of what’s going on around you. It’s like you could have been sitting and hanging out in any bar in the country having a perfectly fine time and enjoying your music with each other. You were exactly what we would want to capture in the chorus that we would eventually start.
Ladies, you’re a fabulous representation of what Harmony Inc. is all about. We truly DO want to be NBC when we grow up, and if Bella Nova ends up being half as strong an organization as you are, we’ll be in good shape. Stay focused on the positive energy and the barbershop harmony. That’s what you do and that’s what we hope to do.
We know that hosting the Sing Fling is a lot of work. But take it from the recipients of the Sing Fling experience–there’s no easy way to put a price tag on what you create year after year. From our purely selfish perspective, we got on a plane with our best friends and spent a magical 24 hours laughing until our guts hurt and singing our hearts out. We’ll take that any day! What we didn’t expect was the rockstar reception we received from the youth participants in the show–young ladies (and a few young men!) who rushed up to get a CD signed, add us to the “autograph” section of the program, and try on our crowns. That, dear friends, was worth the travel and lack of sleep 1,000 times over!
Do you understand that you not only inspire young choruses like Bella Nova to want to be like you, but you also inspire young musicians to sing tags with complete strangers and fall in love with barbershop harmony? You’ve figured out the perfect concoction of youth festival + barbershop harmony show and the end result is breathtaking and magical.
Do you also understand that you’ll probably get even MORE emails from in the future as we try to recreate our own version of Sing Fling?? 🙂 All we can say is that you unsuspectingly invited it!
Ladies, thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We had a truly memorable experience with you and we cannot thank you enough for inviting us to be a part of the event. Let’s reunite in Louisville, mmmkay?? Miss you already.
Love and hugs,
Chris, Anne, Kris, and Shana