On Wednesday morning we rose early, with a complimentary breakfast of waffles and bagels at our Cedar City Hotel. Some of the boys had stayed up quite late the previous night getting less than an hour of sleep, which they would regret for reasons soon to be revealed. As Elio had to drop off our trailer and bus early in the morning but our flight was in the afternoon, we had a fair amount of time to kill in the airport. So we did what any reasonable group of young men would do. We built a fort out of our luggage, and we named it “The Air Fort”. We decided upon a feudal ruling system and divided up the land between the various vassals. Ted was a proud steward, Henry a noble count, while Jacob and Greg were lowly serfs. Others took this pause in the day to call home or catch up on those missed hours of sleep.

The Air Fort

The Air Fort

Inside the Fort

Inside the Fort

Soon came the time to break down the walls and catch our first flight. We laughed as we walked through the Vegas airport, as in the city’s style, there was slot machines aplenty. Charlie made the remark that, “If I could bet on flights, I would put all my money on our second flight being delayed then cancelled.” Charlie would be a very rich man if he had done that….

Vegas Baby

Vegas Baby

Our first flight went as smooth as possible, and we safely landed in Dallas, Texas. We made our way to the gate for our connecting flight and set up camp for what we thought would be a short wait. Our resident Irish man, Greg, was schooled in the ways of Irish Snap. The countdown till boarding dropped.

Irish snap and the laptop crew

Irish snap and the laptop crew

10 minutes until boarding

6 minutes until boarding

4 minutes until boarding

The first announcement came over the tannoy, telling us of “mechanical issues” with the plane that needed to be examined before boarding could take place. Jacob’s face blanched. This announcement was made over the tannoy several times. Afternoon became evening. Evening became midnight. After examining the noticeboard a final time, we saw that our flight had been delayed once more… to 6am.

Greg tried drastic measures to try and get on a plane out of the airport

Greg tried drastic measures to get on a plane out of the airport

After some crafty negotiation on the part of Sylvan, we secured some meal vouchers and a hotel room for a short three hour nap before heading back to the airport for the flight. Luckily this flight went off without a hitch, leaving us some time on the other side to wait for the delivery of our next bus and trailer by the lovely Kevin.

We reached our hotel and greatly welcomed the chance to shower and change out of the clothes we had been wearing for two days straight. Another quick set of naps followed, before we needed to head over to the venue. Luckily we arrived in plenty of time, as Will needed to reassemble our flight cases that the TSA had so kindly partially dismantled without properly rebuilding. No problem for handy man Will.

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The rest of the group took this chance to explore our giant 2700 seat venue. Ted made the same examination that he makes in every place we go, comparing the surroundings to somewhere in Norfolk. Today’s comparison to that of the concrete buildings of the University of East Anglia to those of Iowa State University. A stressless soundcheck in the venue introduced us to its beautiful acoustic and we were ready to perform.

First was a short Q&A with a local school group, who asked the finest questions yet, varying from asking why we do A cappella, to which is our favourite Doctor Who incarnation. We then headed downstairs to the aptly named “Celebrity Cafe” where Henry made an eloquent speech, with complimentary powerpoint presentation, about the history of Semi-Toned and what it’s like to be in the group.

Name up in plastic

Name up in plastic

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Spurred on by his inspiring words, we readied ourselves backstage while listening to our opening act of the evening, “Count Me In” an all female A cappella group from ISU. As the curtains rose, we were completely blown away to be performing to such a large and energetic crowd of around 1000 smiling faces. Special mention goes to Edward, an Exeter Student on his year abroad at ISU who happened to be driving past the venue earlier in the week, saw that Semi-Toned were performing and booked a front row ticket. He made his more than welcome presence known by wearing all the Exeter branded clothes he owned and by whooping every time the UK was mentioned in a speech between songs.

We even had time for an stage selfie

We even had time for an stage selfie

The other side of the selfie

The other side of the selfie

After getting an average of probably 4 hours sleep between us, I am very proud of how the group performed. Easily one of our best shows, the enthusiasm of the audience definitely helped us push on through the tiredness. After signing a plethora of tickets, programmes and t-shirts, we headed back to the Celebrity Cafe, where we stayed for a few hours chatting to some of the locals. Conversation dipped between craft ales, trips to the UK and even some questions about the group.

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Semi-Toned and Count Me In

Semi-Toned and Count Me In

After a quick stop at the hotel to clean and change, we headed back out to socialise with Count Me In and celebrate the successful evening of music.

Today we head off for Kentucky, on a roughly 10 hour bus trip.

D.P.