The Pitch Pipe January 2022

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burst into enthusiastic applause at your tags. I love singing for a local group, but they might not understand barbershop like we do. I can’t wait to experience that contest audience again. 3. I long for the fellowship that happens at a contest. We all know that we don’t compete against each other — we compete with each other. When we understand that, it makes contest a joyful mutual admiration society. Every chorus success is my success. Every quartet success is my success. I once read a definition that has stuck with me: Healthy competition is the interaction between individuals that promotes and fosters higher achievement yet creates an environment where everyone in the group hopes that everyone will do well rather than wishes that others will fail. We might be wondering how it’s going to feel to compete again. It might look different. Choruses might be smaller. Audiences might be smaller. It might sound different. We haven’t had the rehearsal time on songs that we used to have. But, oh! How delightful it’s going to feel! And we may learn to redefine what it means to win. We will be celebrating the sheer joy of sharing a stage, ringing a chord, and moving an audience. Being there and

contributing what we can is a championship performance. As a director, and maybe for the first time, I am less focused on our score or placement and cheerfully focused on the experience, the opportunity, the joy of taking the stage again. Scores, medals, and crowns are fun but fleeting. Growth, accomplishment, and opportunities are poignant and profound. I enjoy looking back at the rich history of past competitions. And I look forward with great anticipation and joy to our next contest season. No matter when it happens, where it takes place, or who comes out on top, we will all feel like champions because we are sharing the stage with one another once again! Karen Breidert is Master Director, having directed Melodeers Chorus #3, Choral-Aires #3, and Spirit of the Gulf Chorus #9. She is a past president of Sweet Adelines International (1998-1999), served on Sweet Adelines International Board of Directors, and received the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award (2017). She is a member of Sweet Adelines Master Faculty and Education Direction Committee. She is also a busy coach.

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