With permission, I'd like to share a personal correspondence from Jeff Selano, whose head is still in the clouds after winning gold while singing tenor with Storm Front:
Look at this photo and it all becomes very clear. We sat down with our wives after Anaheim and said, win or lose in Philly we have to know that we didn't leave any stones unturned. And that means likely not being home for most of the next 12 months. Way too many weekends, practicing all day Saturday on shows and then staying late Sunday to practice more!! Our wives had to hold down the fort (all of us with small kids) too many times. Through sicknesses and hospital trips, missed special events etc, our wives gave us 1 year to get this done. After that we would still compete, but we would have used up all that "extra grace" we had been given for just 1 year. I think you can see in this Grady Kerr photo how relieved we are. But it's not even close to the expression on their faces!!
Just an idea of what goes into these incredible performances we've been accustomed to seeing every year. I was amazed by the Four Freshmen in Philly, and I hope I'm taking nothing away from them when I point out that some of our top "amateur" groups are in the same musical league. (The vocal part, anyway. Ain't nobody but the 4F can sing and play that well!)
How do our best amateurs sing at a professional level? They put in professional-level hours, that's how. And for putting in that kind of effort on our behalf, for entertaining us as thoroughly as any group on the planet and showing us a level to which we can all aspire, we owe our champs and other competitors a deep debt of gratitude.
So thanks to Storm Front, Westminster Chorus and Swedish Match for putting on an unforgettable show in Philly. And also thank you Old School, Vocal Majority and Prestige, who won silver while working every bit as hard and deserving just as much admiration.
On behalf of those of us who don't have equal talent and who haven't put in equal hours, but who reap the benefits from those who have, I say "Thank you!" And thank you to the families and understanding "day job" bosses who accommodate our fine professional amateurs. We only choose one champion each year, but we certainly have a lot of winners among us!