It was time.
Time to start practicing for the first Junior High All State audition that was the last Saturday in September.
McKinley started practicing on her own and with Juju at voice lessons each week. With one song in a foreign language it took a lot of work.
At the first audition she was accepted into the COCDA Mixed Choir. The top choir of our region of Oklahoma. We were thrilled:c)
But there was something better. Junior High All State. That meant two more auditions.
She isn't a fan of the auditions since they're live. And of the three auditions, two different songs and different 16 bar cuts are made. So each time you show up it's something new. But this year was different than the last two...this year she had several friends auditioning with her.
And she made it! Over 1600 7th, 8th, and 9th graders audition for the 365 spots. We are quite proud.
This was her second year in Junior High All State. Her second year to check into her favorite hotel in the world. (Please understand her limited travel up to this point in her life.)
The Renaissance in downtown Oklahoma City.
I of course go to chaperone. It's the least I can do:c) I have stayed in a few more hotels than her, and this is a really nice one. I love the geometricness of it. And the granite in the bathroom.
Love. I don't know how it happened, but the three moms and the three girls got handicapped rooms. If only the moms had gotten it, I wouldn't have questioned it. I did feel luxurious walking into the shower instead of stepping in I must say. But when I got out, I'd flooded the entire bathroom. Water was standing about a half inch on the floor. No one else had that problem. I know, I'm special. Thankfully later that night McKinley did the same thing. We can't figure it out. Must run in the family. When you stay in a downtown hotel the restaurant choices are endless. There are tons to choose from within a short driving distance. Tradition (from last year) had to be followed. So dinner the first night was at Earls Rib Palace, lunch at Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill, and dinner at Zio's. Hello high calories. But I was on vacation.
When we were at Toby Keith's two tables full of men and women in uniform were seated next to us. I have this weird glitch in me. I don't cry at movies, books, or life in general. But anything having to do with the military, and I get all verklempt. I had an idea after I'd gained control. In elementary all the students learn a song called "You Are My Hero". It's a tear jerker that's sung at the Veteran's Day Round Up. Last year the high school and middle school choir students learned it so the four singers I was with all knew it. I pitched my idea. One agreed. Not mine. I pitched again with guilt involved. I won two over. I pitched again to the teacher and suggested it was an assignment. All agreed:c) We picked just the first verse and chorus and I went to the tables and told them we were going to do something for them.
Oh boy was I verklempt. Several of us were.
Trust me, they were more impressed than this picture shows. The picture with the other table of soldiers looks much the same. They must have their game faces on.
And to prove we're in Oklahoma... Boomer Sooner baby!
Our hotel is prime location because the 13 hours of practicing happens across the street at the Cox Convention Center. Our hotel has a walking bridge. As I was late leaving practice one day I saw this. That's my daughters arm emptying the water out of their ice bucket bag.
I can't make this stuff up.
I stopped by their room to show her the picture and found this. Since there were three of them in their room she volunteered to sleep on the floor so no one would have to share. The house keeper had fixed her bed for her! Pillow, bedspread, folded blanket, and phone charger all set up. How cute is that? One of the other moms had found out the hotel had a complimentary limo that would take guests to Bricktown. We decided to surprise them on our last night.
She looks really surprised, doesn't she? She's ridden in limos before so I guess we just really surprised her. The other three hadn't been in one. Paige in particular fell in love with the driver Cliff out of sheer excitement. Which led she and McKinley to decorate the dinner table. Keeping with tradition we took pictures by the Zio's sign. I have a posed picture but the jumping captures just cracked me up.
This is what I got when they jumped on two instead of three. I don't know if McKinley is concentrating or surprised that they can't count. Either way I crack up every time I see her face in this picture. There I got them all. They are such a fun group! Bricktown is beautiful no matter what time of year. Too soon we were checking out of the hotel. They loved every minute they spent there. Especially when George Strait was spotted in an elevator:c) McKinley came screaming into my room that George Strait was in the hotel! After she calmed down she said, "Wait, who is George Strait?" I guess she knew enough to be excited. The dress rehearsal was at our church where the concert is held. I wanted to practice with my camera so I'd know what settings would be best for the concert. I'm guessing McKinley figured out when I was focused on her. I just love my church. It's so beautiful.After the final rehearsal we had lunch and headed to the school so they could get dressed.
McKinley borrowed my heels. And apparently my pastie white legs.
Don't ask me why I took this picture here. In the choir room. In front of the trophies. In front of the blue monster type animal thing. I should have taken them outside. But we were out of time and patience and this is what I got.The concert was amazing and bittersweet. McKinley finished with Children's All State last year. This year she finished Junior High. (They overlap for two years.) Next year she will audition for High School which is quite a bit harder.
I wonder when the music and cd will be for sale at the music store....