So I just got back from Northern Harmony, where Kow competed against other Alberta a cappella groups in a battle to see who would win the title of "Best A Cappella Group EVER!"

Well, maybe not quite that kind of scale, but I found this year to be one of the best NoHarms in terms of performance.

Kow didn't win anything, but we were able to hang around with some pretty cool groups. And we performed pretty well. God, that Fringe tour of duty helped us SO much with things...

While I wouldn't agree with the judges' choice for first place, CHICKAdivas, I thought they did a very good job for first-timers.

I just found some of their stuff to be lacking, quite honestly. They were good technically, and the first soprano sure could wail, and their stage presence was fine, but it just didn't completely click with me. Ah, well.

I'm not sure where Kow really ranked in the grand scheme of things. It was by no means the bad performance we had last year (no experience with mics), and I thought our performance was one of the better ones in energy, if not always musical perfection.

It was kind of hard, being the first group of the competition, because it was up to us to start the evening off on a high enough note to keep the crowd happy and energetic.

This year, we decided to go all out and just cram five songs in a twelve minute set, which didn't leave much in the way of banter. Granted, the way that Dev, Canton and I ramble, I think it was a good way to go. Sigh. If only there was an Ironman award, because five songs was a new record for NoHarm.

But we went out there and had fun, both with the audience and with ourselves. So I didn't feel as crushed as I did last year. Them's the breaks.

We started off with Astro's solo in Teddy Bear, and so I introduced him as Elvis (the young one). After that song, Barber took over lead on Viva Las Vegas as the 70's overexcess Elvis, complete with scarf, sunglasses and sideburns. Canton introduced him with the exact same intro I used for Astro.

Nothing really to say about Uniform Grey and Clocks, our next two selections. They were solid, and I think we have a good show with them. Still, it was Canton's gyrations and the interplay between us during Little Red Riding Hood which really got the crowd going.

AND I was able to pull off a sweet karate side kick to Canton's thigh. Whoo!

Quintessential, a five-man group from Calgary, walked away with the Audience Favourite vote. Good for them! They had a good set, and they clinched it by bringing out a Kermit muppet to sing The Rainbow Connection in a good impression by the soloist.

One of the guys in the group had sprained his leg in a trampoline accident, and was using crutches. I asked him if I could use the crutches as a gag during the end of the show, where each group was able to do one more song while the judges deliberated.

So the rest of Kow's onstage, looking around for me. I come on with the crutches, yelling "Whee!" every time I swing myself on the crutches.

Dev: Jago, what are THOSE?

Me: (in a very mischievous voice) Spoils of war.

Dev: Dude! The guy from Quintessential NEEDS those!

Me: Pshaw! He doesn't need these to sing!

Dev: But he needs them to get onto the stage.

So I take them back offstage and hand them to the guy who needs them, thanking him.

We then sing Sixty Minute Stan, which gets an AWESOME reaction from the crowd. As Dev said later, "If we had put that one in the set, we'd have got the Audience Favourite." Only problem was, I found the jokes were much better paced the way we did it. And we'd have to cut a song to introduce Sixty Minute properly.

After our set, I find the crutches on the OTHER side of the stage, and the rest of Kow thought I just dumped them there. At different times, I had this conversation with the rest of the guys:

THEM: Jago! I thought you gave them back to them!

ME: I did! Seriously, I put them back in his hands!

THEM: Should we give it back to them?

ME: It must be here for a reason.

Repeat four times.

So on goes Quintessential, carrying the gimpy member because "we couldn't find his crutches. We're not sure where they went."

Laughs from the audience. At which point, I run to get the crutches, and start playing with them again, behind the group.

"WHEE-!" I stop in mid-whee, seeing the group at the front of the stage, and I sheepishly give back the crutches. The crowd goes wild.

I was somehow able to steal Stan's usual position of "Most Mischievous Member of Kow," and every time I reappear on stage, the crowd loves it, especially at the end when Quintessential comes on to close off the show, since they won the right to host next year with their "Audience Favourite" status.

They sang "Good Lovin'", and tradition is that the rest of the performers come on dancing. At least, it's a tradition Kow started two years ago. So I was ready to go onstage to dance, but Dev stops me.

"We need more people."

So I run to the other side of the stage, and ask the first-place winners CHICKAdivas to dance onstage with me. The audience sees me come out with five women, dancing, and they go WILD again! At which point the rest of Kow and some other groups come out.

According to my friend Apples, I was drop dead sexy tonight. I'll take the compliment, but I'm not sure why it was.

She just said, "When you came out on stage dancing with all the girls of that one group, you were just the most attractive guy ever."

So, in all, a very good night. A very close race in terms of performances, with pretty much all groups doing an excellent job. Probably the best NoHarm I've been to, and I've been either volunteering or performing in all of them (since 1997).

* * *

The other reason I like NoHarm is because it means I'm able to see 'Ka, my close friend who moved down to San Francisco a couple years back, but comes up for the show. She kind of has to, since she's a producer.

It's always great to see her, since we used to spend a lot of hours in the high rise back when she lived in the area. I miss her loads, and it's always a thrill to hang out with her, even if she's completely frazzled due to the show.

And recently, we've been too busy to actually talk a lot like we used to. I know she reads this to catch up with my life, but it'd be cool to actually talk to her on the phone every now and then.

In any case, it's now 2:15 and I have to work at 10 tomorrow. So I'll end this post and make sure to tell you all the fun stories that have accumulated in the week with no internet. In the next post, most likely. Which'll probably be tomorrow evening.

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