The Awards Ceremony

After rising from my afternoon nap, I dressed and left the hotel for the awards ceremony. Upon arrival at the Baden Casino, the primary venue for the competition, I quickly realized that the awards ceremony was, in fact, NOT at the casino. I realized my mistake and booked it a few blocks over to the church we sang in yesterday… only to find out – yet again – that the church was also not hosting the awards ceremony.

I paused. I questioned life. I pondered my existence. These deep internal searches reminded me of instructions to meet with the rest of the choir prior to the ceremony, so that we would arrive together. I also remembered someone saying something of the town theater, so I attempted to make my way towards it. Rounding the corner of the theater, I bump into none other than our illustrious tour guide, Klara… who is also late.

After buddying up with Klara (who fluently speaks German where I obviously do not), we made our way into the theater only to see every seat taken and move upstairs. After finding a full lower balcony, we move to the highest row of the top balcony, the “cheapest” cheap seats of the house.

The ceremony itself was full of wonderful theatrics, some well-placed jokes, proper European manners through recognizing important diplomats in attendance, and every other awards ceremony antics one can imagine. Finally, the time for placements and awards came. I heard one of the hosts say something vaguely related to a “Competition A” and quickly brushed it off in anticipation.

Everyone and their brother seemed to receive a “Silver Diploma”, an award recognizing every non-placing choir in attendance. And as you surely know by now, 3rd place went by with no mention of our wonderful little choir, so did 2nd place… but after much anticipation, we were named recipients of a “Gold Diploma” and award for the best-performing choir. Klara and I screeched and made happy noises amongst the applause. No sooner did the applause die down than did I receive a text from my mother checking in on our status. I took the opportunity to report our victory to her as well as post on Facebook. Within the minute, several people had liked the status, and one of the Redcoat Band Directors shared the status with all of his friends.

After enjoying the victory, the hosts shared a phrase that made my heart sink…

“Now onto the Competition B results.”

Since most of our friends in the states were already under the assumption that we had won (including my own mother), I decided to wait before deleting my false celebratory post.

But thankfully, as you also know, we were announced as the winners of the Grand Prix of the competiton, the overall 1st place and top-performing choir. Thinking I was in the clear, I celebrated again with Klara, screaming and clapping over the entirety of the top balcony. But, our hosts threw another curve ball… they were beckoning the choir, the majority of whom were seated in their assigned rows on the first floor, to the stage for an encore performance.

Klara prodded that I run down, and run down I did. I quickly made my way to the end of the balcony (and if you know me, you know that I do few things quickly), and flew down the stairs taking 3 or 4 per stride. I made my way down the center aisle right behind the choir and stepped up onstage just behind the final person from the main floor.

And we sang. And it was so wonderfully and excitedly out of tune. And I looked up and made eye contact with Klara. And she waved like a lunatic, excited that we won and that I made it downstairs.

We also called the Dawgs. That was cool.

 Hunter Hulsey

Hunter Hulsey


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