Friday, 24 June 2011

Singing lessons, scarecrows and the 'Bolton Bullfrog'

A couple of weeks have passed since my last post which means a few more rehearsals and singing lessons under the belt too. Varying degrees of success have been experienced in each, which I suppose is to be expected. My first half hours singing-lesson-birthday-present courtesy of sis-in-law Julia was, well, a bit rubbish! Not the lesson, but rather what I produced during the course of it!

Perhaps I'm being a bit over critical of myself (again?) but it did feel as though every note I produced was way off and all over the place. Having said that, I was tackling Italian for the first time ever in the form of Caro mio Ben. But also, with the benefit of hindsight, I had just finished an extremely stressful day's work on the A46 and as I approached the lesson I felt more like punching someone rather than singing to be honest. That said, matters weren't helped by regular interruptions from a variety of people wanting to retreive their scarecrows (it's best not to ask -really!) from the room we were trying to conduct the singing lesson in. And then, the room's door handle repeatedly fell off requiring an explanation and reassurance to the shame faced individuals that no, they hadn't broken it, it just needed repairing! After about the fourth time, I think I had given up any hope of mastering 'Caro' for that week! Stress and singing do not make comfortable bed fellows I find!

Anyway, the next two lessons with Caroline have been much better. I'm determined to relax more and just enjoy it regardless of how good, bad or indifferent I feel I'm doing. The most recent lesson was great in that respect. Some bits were good, some undoubtedly baaaad, and some pretty darned ordinary. But it was fun and that's what it should be all about. Sadly 'Peter Kay' reappeared at one point. It's them vowels again, you see. This time I was trying Handel's Where 'ere You Walk in which the second line reads 'Cool gales shall fan the glade'. I still have that tendency to sing things as I would say them, which does not sound good when you throw in the Boltonian accent. Come to think of it, I probably sound more like the legendary (in Bolton at least) Bernard Wrigley a.k.a 'The Bolton Bullfrog', a splendid singer who really does sound like a singing frog. Honestly, he really does! Anyway, I digress. . . .

As each singing lesson passes there's a bit more to try and remember such as: relax, watch those vowels, don't lean back when approaching high notes, relax, open the mouth wide like you're yawning, remember to breathe (always helps!), relax, stomach in, chest out. . .  . or was it the other way round? Blimey, so much to remember! Not easy, this singing lark is it?

Meanwhile, back in the Male Voice Choir, preparation continues apace for the LOROS gig at De Montfort Hall, Leicester in October. John Holt was giving me the run-down on what to expect and it sounds really exciting. Our choir will be singing with several other choirs from Leicester and one from Wales I believe to make one huge, massed male voice choir! Should be absolutely awesome if we pull it off.

Preparation for this means just refreshing the memory of some old favourites for most of the chaps, but for me it's another crash course. So rather than putting my feet up over the summer break, I will try to make Thursday evenings a regular rehearsal night to get the required songs into my tired old brain in time for October. One song to learn is the classic 'My Way'. After running through it last night, I'd never realised what a thoroughly depressing dirge it really is! Still, I'm sure I can ignore the somewhat banal lyrics and just sing it with passion!

Until next time,

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