Ms. New Hampshire Senior America

Atlantic City Here I Go

Barbara's is off to Atlantic City  for the National Ms. Senior America Pageant.  Follow her fun there.

Oct. 20, 2013 Atlantic City here I come! 
Today is the first day of the 2013 Ms Senior America Pageant.  I am so excited!!!!  Madeline and I are heading south for about two hours and then the fun begins! return to list

Oct. 20, 2013 Welcome Dinner 
The Welcome Dinner is the first event in the 2013 National Ms. Senior America Pageant.  The women from 34 states and their companions were treated to a Yummy chicken dinner with the most wonderful cheesecake for dessert.  The directors of the pageant were introduced and each contestant was asked to say a few interesting words about themselves.  My comment included an explanation about the "Dear Peanut" online forum.  My companion, Madeline and I sat at a table with Ms. Oklahoma, Zetta Kendricks, and Ms Georgia, Keiko Guest.  I was amazed as to how quickly we became friends
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Oct. 21, 2013 Rehearsal 
The contestants spent the whole day in rehearsal.  We worked on the opening number and were told that we would do it for every show with a modification for the finals.  It was a cute number that included a spot in the middle where we would introduce ourselves.  We were to say our name and our state without any frills or embellishments.  I was very proud to say Barbara Ann Danais, New Hampshire with much enthusiasm as I could muster.  Next we toured the dressing rooms.  We were assigned a spot and an assistant who also helps with the Miss America Pageant, so I knew that I was in good hands.  We had a short break for lunch and I discovered that "short" is too long for the minimal amount of time we had.  This pattern of "no time to eat" continued throughout the week.  I am come home 2 pounds lighter despite all the mash potatoes and dessert that we were served.  After lunch we were taught the procedure for presenting our philosophy of life.  I was relieved to know that mine was well within the 35 second limit so that I did not have to worry about having 3 point deducted for being over the time limit.  The day ended with each contestant doing their talent to make sure that we had everything that we needed.  I was delighted to find out that they had an amplifier for my guitar pick-up and a wireless lapel microphone to capture my voice.  I was thrilled to know that I was within the 2 minute and 45 second time limit.  By the end of our 8 hour rehearsal we were getting familiar with the stage and with each other.  We were already beginning to form our "sister" bond as we helped each other follow instructions.  We were on our own for the rest of the evening.  I went to dinner at the Tropicana Resort and Casino with my companion, Madeline, my sister Joyce, and my niece Janice.  Since I was exhausted from all the activities of the day, I was in bed and fast asleep by 10:00 PM.
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Oct. 22, 2013 - 1st Preliminaries 
The day began with rehearsal at 9:00 am in the Silver Star Theater.  We practiced the opening number.  Then the national pageant hairdresser and makeup artist, Paula Lee, made me more beautiful that I could ever imagine.  Paula volunteers her time and talents so I made sure to give her a generous tip to show my appreciation.  She did such a wonderful job that I canceled the appointments I made at the hotel's salon.  
We had a brief break for  snack before returning to the dressing rooms at 12:15.

SHOW TIME began promptly at 1:00 with the opening number.  We were told to wear a knee length cocktail dress.  I was surprised to see a few contestants in very short dresses and one with a multi-colored bodice.  I think that points should be deducted for not following directions!  I changed into my silver bling evening gown and tuned my guitar before handing it over to the backstage crew.  I have to say that watching them was just as entertaining as the show on stage.  They were in constant communication and rolled things like organs and grand pianos around with such ease that they appeared weightless.
I am pleased to tell you that my song "Look for the Silver Lining" went off without a hitch.  It was well received by the audience and I received many positive comments from the directors, contestants, and audience.

That evening my companion, family and I went to the Showcase performance put on by former queens.  The talent was excellent but the show was so long that many people left before intermission. We stuck it out as long as we could, but ended up leaving before it was over.  The length of the show was the brunt of many jokes told during the 2nd Preliminaries. return to list 

Oct. 23, 2013 - 2nd Preliminaries 
The day started with rehearsal, followed by hair and makeup with Paula Lee.  This a big day for me because I had my five minute interview with the judges.  They were friendly and encouraging as they asked their questions and listened to my answers.  I was asked is tell them about my music therapy program, to compare New Jersey, where I was born, to New Hampshire.  I was also invited to explain my family's reaction to my being in a national pageant and what I could contribute to Ms Senior America Program.  I was confident in my responses but stumbled a bit when they asked me to describe myself as a weather report.  Instead of responding as a weatherman, I explained that I am 90% sunny with a 10% change of rain because I am a happy go lucky person but like everyone, there are some challenging times in my life.  While I answered the question, it was more like sharing than an official report.  

As usual there was no time for lunch but I had a special treat.  My son, Jim, flew his Cessna from NH to Atlantic City.  He brought my daughter, Beth and my friend, Wendy with him.  Unfortunately, my daughter, Lora was not able to come.  They arrived shortly before I had to be on stage so I was able to get a few hugs for good luck.  

During the 2nd Preliminaries, I presented my philosophy of life and my evening gown.  My family assured me that I did an outstanding job speaking and that the walk in my gown showed off my figure to my advantage.  The only negative thing was that the MC finished my introduction before I finished my walk.  That was because the application only had a few lines and that we were instructed to not add any additional lines.  It is unfortunate that many of the other contestants did not follow the rules because the MC talked long after they finished their walk.  Unfortunately, the audience never learned about my volunteer activities, my choral activities, or my hikes, skiing, snowshoeing, biking etc.  I hope that the contestants are given a survey so that we can express suggestions for next year.

The formal dinner dance began at 7:00 pm with a procession of queens and mega applause.  The food was delicious and the band was outstanding.  Everyone danced and sang and had a great time! return to list

Oct. 24, 2013 The Finals 
The finals had all the anticipation and excitement of Christmas Day.  The seemingly endless preparations are over and it SHOW TIME for the last time.

As usual, our day started with rehearsal, makeup and hair.  Fortunately, we had enough time for me to meet my family for a late breakfast and many good wishes.

Everyone was excited but the moment was also bitter sweet because it was our last performance together.  There were many prayers said and hugs given.  After the opening number, the top ten winners were announced.  Ms Alabama, Ms Colorado, Ms Connecticut, Ms Florida, Ms Indiana, Ms Louisiana, Ms New Jersey, Ms Tennessee, and Ms Texas.  I was disappointed to not make the top ten, but my family, friends, and many contestants assured me that I was better than two of the top ten.  That was very sweet of them and I certainly appreciated their support, but my prayer had been that God's will be done.  I knew in my heart that if I did not win the national crown that it was because God had more important plans for me.  I am sure that before the year ends, that I will know exactly what it is.  

The top ten restated their philosophy of life and their evening gowns.  After intermission, they presented their talent.  They were all absolutely beautiful and so talented that I didn't know how the judges could select just one.  The 4th runner up was Ms Colorado.  Gail Hamilton is a professional opera singer and vocal instructor.  The amazing thing about Gail is that she is totally blind but never let it stand in the way of anything that she wanted to do.  She even joined us on the dance floor at the ball.  The 3rd runner up was Ma Nevada.  Kat Ray is a concert artist with one of the most beautiful gowns at the pageant.  Her friends did all the custom bead work so each stitch was sewn with love and encouragement  The 2nd runner up was Ms Texas.  Myrna Blackwood is a professional singer and one of the first women that I met at the pageant.  The 1st runner up was Ms New Jersey.  Vanessa Shaw also sang professionally.  She sings opera and her song "Loosing My Mind" touched the heart of everyone in the audience and back stage as well.  Ms Tennessee won the title of Ms Senior America.  Caroylon Corlew is also a professional singer with the Charles Daniel Band and has been a backup singer on many recorded albums.  

The most amazing thing about this pageant is that the contestants are as beautiful on the inside as they are outside.  They were warm and generous to a fault.  I forgot my bling bracelets for my evening gown and within minutes, my competition supplied me with more than enough to chose from.  Not many women would do that because they would not want to help someone else look their best and possibly better than them. But not these women ... they are kind, and thoughtful .. and truly wanted the best for each other. Without a doubt this was the most exciting adventure of my life.  Since I was 6 years old I wanted to dance with the "Rocketts" but I was so short that I had to give up that dream.  Being on stage at Resorts was the closest that I will ever come, so I am very grateful for the opportunity to be Ms NH Senior America 2013! return to list

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