From The OC to Indianapolis - The Road to Nationals | My Family Travels
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On April 30th, 2011, my high school show choirs had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compete at FAME Indianapolis for the Show Choir National Cup.  We had a successful competition year beforehand, with all first places at six local competitions, but this was a chance to put our name and town of Brea, California "on the map."  At the qualifying round, held March 5th in Hollywood, Spellbound (our all-girls group) won Grand Champion with the highest score of the night, out of thirteen unisex and mixed groups!  This was the determining factor in our decision to attend Finals, because a unisex division was created because of the group's "phenomenal performance" (according to the judges).

But a national competition seemed unattainable; to send everyone would cost over $100,000 that we didn't have.  But almost immediately our dedicated "choir moms" banded together and miraculously fundraised almost all of the cost.  We also created a "Perform-A-Thon" one week before we left, a three-hour practice in order to raise some money still needed.  That practice was definitely the toughest we'd had all year, but we were determined to to "wow" the judges and move the audience with a precisely-practiced performance.

We took a flight to the Indianapolis International Airport on Friday the 29th, and the following day we walked from our hotel, the Westin Indianapolis, to the Indianapolis Convention Center next door to begin a long day of performances.  Spellbound performed first in their division, then our mixed group, Masquerade, performed in an attempt to make it all the way to Finals.  The finalists were announced right before the girls of Spellbound were to perform, and Masquerade was announced as the second group to make the cut.  After Spellbound's riveting show, Masquerade joyfully performed again, pouring our hearts and souls into our angst-ridden Green Day medley.  The cast of Broadway's American Idiot, a show that closed only six days before the competition, saw our performance and, to our surprise and elation, complimented and commended us onstage afterward in front of the entire audience.  
 
In the end, we came away with a Fourth-Runner-Up trophy, but the encouraging words from professional performers and the experience of traveling to a state in a different part of the United States in order to do what we love was payoff enough for our hard work.  The grand championship was won in our hearts.  On our flight back, we got the opportunity to sing to the other travelers on the plane, and we arrived in California smiling and telling everyone of our wonderful adventure. 

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