Yesterday I talked about the flash mob I got to be involved with as a part of “celebrating tourism in Orlando.” That entry can be found here. Today I’m going to describe the flash mob I got to be involved with, thanks to my new choir, just about five weeks after that one.

After leaving our old chorus last autumn because, well, because of a lot of reasons, Joe and I joined a new choir in December. Rehearsals started in early February and so far it has been WONDERFUL. I had been increasingly unhappy with our old chorus for close to a year but hadn’t truly realized the extent of how miserable I had become until I would continually leave a Central Florida Community Choir rehearsal with a smile on my face and, in thinking about it, although I still enjoyed my friends and the Tuesday night vocal coach, I couldn’t remember how long it had been since I had been that overjoyed to be involved with the old chorus, simply because all of the, for lack of a better word, “crap” that went on there had been increasingly overshadowing my two reasons for staying. Now, don’t get me wrong – I know that our old chorus is still the singing outlet of choice for several dozen people in Central Florida – and if that’s what works for them, I’m genuinely happy for them. Thank goodness there are enough choices out there to fill every person’s need! But for Joe and I, well, we had experienced the good, the bad and the ugly with the old chorus, we had reached the limit of what we were willing to put up with and we couldn’t foresee it getting any better, so it was time for us to move on.

Anyway, one of CFCC’s major goals is to give back to the community – and I don’t know what kind of amazing contacts the co-founders of CFCC have but apparently we were offered the opportunity to do just that – and the offer was made weeks and weeks before we even had our first rehearsal!

The deal was that Neiman Marcus, probably one of the most expensive stores in what is definitely the most upscale mall in Orlando, was hosting a fundraiser in the form of a fashion show for 500 of their best shoppers. The money raised was to benefit Canine Companions for Independence, a, “501(c)(3) non-profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships.” Part of the fashion show would be actual models in actual “hot spring fashions” (for those who care, this year’s big trends will be shades of corals and whites, plus flowers and stripes) and part of it would be local Canine Companions (working dogs, puppies-in-training and those who didn’t quite graduate from the program and are now just pets), as well as some local celebrities and their dogs. And would CFCC be available to stage an a cappella flash mob experience to help enhance the event? Well, of course we would!

There were roughly 25 or 30 of us involved (CFCC actually has about 150 singers in total – and over 50 of them are men! – but they only needed a small group for this event) and we rehearsed for about an hour after last Tuesday’s rehearsal – soloists were picked, parts were reviewed, we went over it a half-dozen times and we were ready. Besides all the other reasons of why we prefer this choir over the old one, CFCC also has a LOT more “amazingly good” singers – the kind who do it for a living or as a side job (just for the record, I am not in either of those categories – I’m one of the “loves to sing, can generally carry a tune in a bucket and takes lessons to get even better but won’t be offered a solo anytime soon” singers 😉 – and I’m perfectly fine with that…different strokes for different folks but now that I’ve experienced both ends of the spectrum, I’d much rather be a teeny tiny fish in a big pond that has the plans and ability to grow, than a medium-sized fish in something that started off really well but, as it appeared to me when I left, had evaporated into little more than a half-drunk can of diet soda – not much there anymore and it left a bad taste in your mouth [aforementioned vocal coach and friends excluded]) – so all we needed was an hour of work and we were good to go.

Thursday came VERY quickly. Flash Mob Day! A good portion of that afternoon was, for me, spent figuring out what I was going to wear. We had been told the dress code was “business casual” but we were supposed to mingle and “fit in” until it was our time to sing – and these were some of Central Florida’s most well-to-do and influential people – would it be OK if I wore a blouse that was last year’s, or worse, the year before last year’s colors? Were khakis OK? Seven sets of shirts and pants later, I finally settled on Outfit #2.

Thursday night arrived and we met up with everyone in the parking lot of Best Buy – because what better place is there to do one last run-through? LOL! I was happy to discover that my final choice of “business casual” outfit was just fine – there were some singers who were a little more “business” and some who were a little more “casual,” so I felt good about my decision (actually ANY of my outfits would have worked. OK, maybe not the one with the polyester pants – but they matched the shirt so well! No matter…I didn’t wear it anyway). We went through the song two more times and even got a smattering of applause from the Best Buy patrons going to their cars! 😉

We drove to Neiman Marcus and checked in. We had about 20 minutes to mingle and get seats for the fashion show – our goal was to spread out but there were a bunch of early birds there so there was a little bit of clumping…3 or 4 singers all next to each other, stuff like that. I moved up a row, away from Joe, just so we could avoid being 6 people in a row.

G., our singer who would start us off, waited for “the” sentence from the announcer that was our cue to start and then we got to show off our stuff. Here’s what we did:

(I’m the little one on the left side of the screen, closest to the camera. The one who, according to my husband, “Claps very white.” Yeah, but I smile when I’m singing much more than he does, LOL! Joe is on the right side of the screen, cream shirt and navy jacket.)

The audience seems genuinely happy and surprised (OK, minus the unimpressed chick next to me who was looking at her phone half of the time). Joe said that the guy between him and T., one of the other soloists (said guy was in the seat I gave up), upon hearing us start, said to Joe (in a thick NY/NJ accent), “Ooh, ooh, I think this is one of those…those things!” (he must’ve been really surprised when Joe stood up to sing, too ;-)). Anyway, once we were done they started the fashion show, where we got to see the corals and florals, several service dogs with their owners, and some local celebs such as some TV news anchors, former Major League baseball player Davey Johnson (I didn’t know he lived in Orlando? BTW, did I mention that I, a total non-sports person, was SO proud that I actually knew who Davey Johnson was? The ONE year that I actually watched the World Series was in 1986, when the Mets won – and, of course, he was the Mets’ manager at the time) and one of the hosts of the “Growing Bolder” radio and TV show, Bill Shafer, with their family dogs.

I eventually went downstairs to the first floor to enjoy some of the food and beverage that the Waldorf-Astoria was offering – roast beef, garlic mashed potatoes, Waldorf Salad (of course), and a choice of champagne, beer or bottled water. It was all REALLY good – perhaps one of these days we’ll make it to one of their restaurants. When I was done eating I joined Joe and a bunch of the other singers to watch some of our soloists do their stuff with an accompanist, cabaret-style, over in the Men’s Department. They were all terrific. As I’ve said many times before, the level of talent in Central Florida never fails to amaze me – and now I get to sing with some of these people on a weekly basis?!?!?! Really, how wonderfully incredible is that?!?!?!?!

All too soon the evening ended and Joe and I drove home. It was a TERRIFIC night for Central Florida Community Choir’s very first public appearance. I don’t think I could ever “over thank” the co-founders, Joshua and Jonathan, for making such a quality-filled enterprise in such a short period of time. Here’s to many more happy years of CFCC, with many more exciting events such as this!