Sunday, 13 November 2011

LMVC Autumn Concert - All Saints Church, Thorpe Acre.

Saturday 12th November saw the Loughborough Male Voice Choir's Autumn Concert, held on this occasion at All Saints Church, Thorpe Acre, Loughborough. Special guests for the evening were the vocal duo Two Penn’orth and the First Loughborough Boys and Girls Brigade Band. Despite the obvious distractions of the Loughborough Fair, Strictly Come Dancing and X-Factor, a reasonable  audience had dragged themselves out of their armchairs and were treated to a cracking night's entertainment. Included in the programme was to be the first public airing of the much maligned (by choir members) 'Is This the Way to Amarillo?' More on that later!

The concert was originally intended to be held at our usual venue of Trinity Methodist Church until someone realised, quite late on as it happens, that it clashed with Loughborough Fair. Oops! The prospect of having to compete with incessant thumping music and that dutch sounding bloke shouting "GET YOUR TOKENS FROM THE CASH DESK IF YOU WANT TO RIDE" every two minutes was not a pleasant one, so an alternative venue was quickly sought and All Saints, in Thorpe Acre was duly chosen. I arrived on the night in good time but feeling a touch ill prepared after having to miss a couple of rehearsals late on. But fingers crossed that 'it'll be all right on the night'.

So after getting our positions on stage settled (eventually) we were ready for the off. Us chaps kicked things off with two pieces to be sung without music (eeeecckk!?!), 'With a Voice of Singing' and 'Stout Hearted Men'. These went well I thought, though personally, I had a bit of a mental block with parts of the latter piece - nothing too disastrous though . I was a bit worried as to whether my voice was going to hold out for the duration of the concert as an annoying chesty cough that had been lingering for a week or so was still refusing to budge. We finished our opening section with 'Old Time Religion' and 'When the Saints Go Marching In'.

Next was the first selection of pieces by the singing duo, Two Penn'orth. I don't have a listing of the pieces they sang, but one piece I did recognise  was their very first one 'Oh Lovely Peace' which is a song Enchanted sing! Sue Cooke and Lis Muller who make up Two Penn'orth, sang some good stuff and seemed to go down really well with the audience.

We then  followed with our two welsh pieces. 'Myfanwy' and 'Llanfair'. The former is definitely my favourite song in our repertoire. Simply beautiful!

Then it was time for something completely different - The 1st Loughborough Boys and Girls Brigade Band. These guys and gals usually perform outside as a marching band. With bugles and drums, there was clearly a limit to how many could realistically perform indoors, so Alistair had restricted it to just eight. I think if the whole band had shown up we would all be suffering from punctured eardrums this morning! The band certainly produced an impressive sound and provided an interesting contrast to the singing, I thought.

To wrap up the first half we then sang 'My Way' and the now legendary 'Is This the Way to Amarillo?'. I will say nowt about  'My Way' because I just don't like it, but I think George's  introduction to Amarillo was perfect - putting the audience in the picture  as to the problems we have had with it and it being very much a 'work in progress'. What was quite obvious from our performace of it and even more so in the re-run for the tea ladies afterwards, was that this song has the potential to be a real crowd pleaser with unlimited scope for audience participation. It clearly puts smiles on faces and we must exploit it to the full!

The second half went much the same as the first, with more entertaining stuff from both Two Penn'orth and the Brigade Band. For our part, we started with 'Danny Boy' and 'Eriskay Love Lilt', both of which sounded great, despite my fragile voice crumbling a bit during 'Danny Boy'. Then the slightly more modern 'Thankyou for the Music' and 'Chanson d'amour', with the latter appreciably better than previous performances of it. Our 'ra-ta-ta-ta-tahs' were seriously close to being 'breathy and sexy' for once!

'Every Time We Say Goodbye' and 'You'll Never Walk Alone' finished off our set very nicely, which just left the intriguing arrangement of 'Abide With Me' sang with the Brigade Band. I had not had any rehearsal of this one at all, so had to bluff my way through it, but it seemed to work pretty well. So that was that. A really enjoyable concert - varied, exciting and at times quite funny.

Some feedback that I have received from my two sternest critics (Ruth and Julia) made note of the huge improvement in the choir over the last year or so. Now I could take this to mean that it is since I joined the choir, but they in fact refer to the positive influence of Chris Hill. They thought 'Chanson d'amour' was way better than the spring concert and overall the choir were very good.

As for me, I loved it. I was grateful to my voice for holding out reasonably well throughout. I thought the venue seemed a little dead acoustically, perhaps due to the carpeted floor but the audience seemed to find it okay so perhaps it wasn't the problem I thought it was.

Time now I guess to start rehearsing Christmas Carols? Sainsburys and Carillon Court beckon!

Until next time.
Cheers, Alyn.

1 comment:

  1. Well, Mr Coward and fellow LMVC folk, that was a thoroughly enjoyable evening's entertainment! Stuff wot we (The Ju-meister and I) liked bestest woz ...

    The singing without words because the choir have to look up which makes those pieces way more expressive.

    Amarillo - what fun! We got a fit of the giggles but not due to the singing just the half-hearted audience participation and claps in the wrong places!! Just had to whoop and cheer that one - gotta keep it in the repertoire!

    Ju's favourite -Eriskay Love Lilt
    My favourite - Thank you for the Music and ... you ;-) was very proud of you as ever x

    love from two of the founder members of the Chris Hill fan club!!


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