Last night, Eugene and I got to do something we haven't done since before Alex was born; we attended the Harmony Sweepstakes.
Harmony Sweepstakes is an annual national contest for acapella groups. The Midwestern regionals are held very close to where Eugene's parents live. We used to attend every year, but we stopped going after Alex came along for lack of a babysitter. But this year we decided he would be OK if we left him with Eugene's family, so we brought him there first. They had a train set waiting for him, and he was so busy with that he didn't get upset when we left.
This year, there were eight groups competing. Each group gets ten minutes to sing their songs. Between sets, the group that won the previous year comes out to entertain the crowd (by telling bad jokes) until the judges have finished their evaluations. Once all of the groups have competed, the audience gets to vote on their favorite, and the host group performs while the judges confer.
My favorite group was An Octave Above. I think we've heard them before, but last night I was amazed by the power and presence they brought to their singing. I was disappointed that they didn't have any CDs for sale. The winning group tends to be the one that best plays to the crowd; in this case, it was a group called Home Free. They were picked by both the audience and the judges, while An Octave Above came in second.
We bought a total of three CDs, then returned to Eugene's parents place. We'd planned to spend the night, so we'd brought along everything Alex needed. Unfortunately, he refused to fall asleep for Eugene's mom because he missed us. He wound up sleeping with us, well past his normal bedtime. At least he's getting an early nap in now. I just hope he sleeps in his own room tonight!