If you’re going for medals, it’s always good to win two at a time – so they can clink against each other.
That’s what double quartet Pasture Prime aimed for at this year’s Summer Regional. The comedy contest offers two prizes, one judged by the standard SAI rules of sound, music, expression and showmanship; and the other is the coveted Golden Banana, a massive weighty trophy of plinths topped by a gilded banana (yes, it was once edible!), awarded for funniest performance.
If you’re lucky enough to wrest the Golden Banana from our clutches (yeah, good luck with that), you’ll see that lots of winning double quartets hail from Tucson Desert Harmony. We have a tradition to uphold, we take our funny seriously. So we usually talk about next year’s contest in August, right after Summer Regional. Then we get distracted and busy and forget about it till about May, when we panic and rush to put something together.
Competing in a double quartet is a great way to introduce newer members to the art – and the heart – of what we do. There’s the singing of course – no hiding among the chorus. You have to sing out and hold your own when there are only eight of you. There’s the camaraderie: it’s especially fun to get close to people you don’t normally hang out with. And in double quartet there’s choosing a theme – this year’s cows came about after a very giggly afternoon that went from vegetables to kids’ costumes to udders. Then you have to pick music, write parodies, come up with choreo, costumes, and rehearse, rehearse, go on vacation, rehearse.
This is no director-driven endeavor. Anyone can put together a group, just go up to people and ask them, or send out a sign-up sheet. A chorus can have as many entrants as they’d like (but I must say it’s awfully difficult to rehearse if you’re in more than one double quartet). Any eight-some can compete as long as no more than 5 are in registered quartets. This year we had three registered quartet members, 2 relative newbies, two old hats and a director. The writing was done by three of us (including Fran), the costumes by 2 of us (including Fran), and the face makeup by one (Fran).
Competing in the Double Quartet contest is one of the most challenging, educational and fun things you can do in Region 21. Besides being udderly fantastic, it’s a really mooooving experience.
– Penny Starr