Thursday, 16 June 2011


Not too long ago, Taryn entered the 4-H county "o-rama" vocal competition and won (against 1 other girl). This secured her a place in the regional o-rama, which was today.

Today we all woke up early, dressed (the 3 girls in their freshly-made 4-H club T-shirts), and got in the van. We had been told Taryn had to check in "by" 9:30am, at the Ozark high school, about 90 minutes away. So we tried to hurry. We got breakfast at McDonald's drive through and ate it on the road. Bob and I both almost got sick. After all, the road between Huntsville and Ozark is known as the "Pig Trail" because it corkscrews like a pig's tail.

It all worked out, and even with a 15 minute construction delay we arrived in plenty of time. The only problem was, individuals don't register. The county representative registers for the whole county at once. So we waited about 45 minutes for them to arrive. In the meantime we read the program and discovered that the competitions didn't even start until after lunch, the morning being taken with the "general assembly."

Needless to say, the group finally showed up and Taryn was registered in plenty of time for us all to get good and bored. After the assembly we had lunch (the county actually fed all of us with pizza, cookies, and bottled water) and then found the vocal performance room.

The room was overcrowded and got very hot, but the children did their best. Now here's my beef. Of course I'm prejudiced, but you all know I'm also fairly logical and can detach from my emotions. Taryn NAILED her song. She did 3 verses of Amazing Grace, a capella. She kept timing, and hit every single note. She did hold the song book, and was still wearing the T-shirt with a denim skirt. (I knew that they judged on the appearance being appropriate to the song, and had intended for Taryn to wear a nice dress. But at the regular club meeting the day before, we were told "everyone" would be in their club T-shirts, so we agreed to that. Turns out, they wore their Tees to the general assembly, but changed before the performances.) She held the mic firmly, didn't fidget or show nervousness, but didn't dance around or "act" in any way. So I can see where some of the other acts would get higher marks on the "performance" side. BUT Taryn was the ONLY person in her age group that actually sang very well. A few others did well, but mumbled a bit or missed a note or two.

As you can probably guess by now, she didn't win. DIDN'T EVEN PLACE. She took it well, and we philosophized about it all the way home, but it still gets me that the judges awarded the act rather than the talent.

Anyway, we learned a lot about how the whole thing works, and have hopes for a more enjoyable trip next year. (Don't go early, bring a change of clothes, don't hold a cheat sheet, add a little flair, bring extra water.)


Anonymous said...

Don't ever get in any frame about winning contests. I say it is all politics beginning to end. Art shows, talent contests, drawing numbers contests, etc. Of course there are exceptions if it's an extremely professionaly run event loaded with rules. Otherwise, just chalk it up as experience and if you win, it's a bonus. jcr

Wil said...

^^^ What JCR said. ^^^

If nothing else, it's a good learning experience for her.

The only contests/games I like are ones with hard/fast and objective rules that can't be given over to opinion.

Track = who finished first? = good
Singing = who sang best? = bad

Once any contest allows subjective judging, then it's all a matter of opinion anyway. Hopefully, Taryn can learn to look at it this way. :-)

Anonymous said...

I know how you feel. I remember the 4H contests in New Braunfels -- the same people won almost every year. Someones chicken casserole loaded with canned soups won, but Heather's (or yours?) meat pasties didn't because they were made with beef which isn't "as healthy as chicken"!

Taryn has a beautiful voice and I'm sorry she didn't win.

Anonymous said...

Sorry I forgot to sign off on my post. :( mums

Ganeida said...

Alison always tells our kids: It's not personal. Don't ever take it personally. Just that day, that performance they prefered someone else. But yeah, sucky politics.

I remember my cousin, who made her profession singing opera, & her bro having this massive ding~dong about technical accuracy over performance. She went performance, he argued for accuracy. Even at the top levels performance wins over artistry any day. Fact of life but a great learning experience. Next time a little pizzaz to great singing & Taryn might just wipe the floor.