Congratulations to my friends in the Ambassadors of Harmony, the world barbershop chorus champions for 2004!
I sang as a member of AOH for ten years, between 1990 and 1999, during which time we placed third and fourth several times at the international SPEBSQSA (Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America) competitions. I left after the ’99 contest in Anaheim to spend more time with my wife and daughter. Singing with a top-notch group like the Ambassadors requires at least one night a week, and since I also sang with an active quartet, I gave up two (and sometimes three) nights a week to my hobby.
Proof that I once sang with the world champs.
Picture taken at The Pond in Anaheim, July 3, 1999. That’s me center/right, emoting like crazy.
Since my daughter spends most weekends during the school year with her mother, it finally occurred to me that my hobby was eating up nearly half of my available time with my daughter. As much as I miss the joy of making music with my friends, using only the instrument with which God blessed us, I couldn’t stay with it and watch Nicole grow up without me.
I’d be lying if I said I don’t feel a twinge at missing out on the championship, but it’s outweighed by the pride and joy for my friends who’ve worked long and hard to achieve this goal.
Congratulations, Ambassadors. You deserve it.