Sunday, 11 March 2012

Three days and counting.

With less than three days to go to the Grade 4 singing exam, you may be forgiven for presuming that I would now be slipping into panic mode. Actually to my surprise, I'm feeling quietly confident. Strange but true. It is a bit weird how quickly confidence can surge after a few good rehearsals or lessons, but also how quickly the opposite can happen after a less than successful one.

Thankfully, it has been a good couple of weeks with the male voice choir, Caroline Sharpe Singers and with the preparations for the aforementioned exam. So let's start with the LMVC shall we? The new pieces that Chris Hill has introduced are really coming together, particularly the Hollies song He Ain't Heavy. This was a tricky one to get going as it sounded quite awful initially and I really did wonder about the arrangement, but in the last two rehearsals we've almost got it sorted and it's starting to sound really good. It's the same with You've Got a Friend too. A tricky section that I'd been struggling with suddenly slipped into place last Thursday. The next gig in April should be an interesting one I reckon.

By the way, do take a look at the revised diary dates (see right hand column). There's a few changes with some propopsed gigs not coming off and new ones added.  One date I won't be able to attend is the choir's next social event - a meal out at Longcliffe Golf Club on Thursday March 22nd. I thought a Thursday night would be fairly safe, but alas not. Step daughter Amy is due to change school next September and has gained a place at the Stephensons Studio School in Coalville and just so happen to be holding the 'Welcome Evening' for pupils and parents on the very same evening. Typical, but our daughters education obviously takes priority, so I'll have to wait until next year.

Caroline Sharpe Singers continues to go from strength to strength. This fascinating mix of singers is starting to make a very impressive noise. There were times a week last Saturday when the sound was almost spine tingling. So 'into it' are some of the newcomers that one or two are requesting singing lessons from Caroline. I can understand that - once you get bitten by the bug you want to do it the best you can. Learn better technique, try a solo at a concert and even do an exam?

Preparations for my exam have been something of an emotional roller-coaster. I've gone from 'this is crazy, I'm going to be a disaster' to 'in the bag' in just the last two weeks. A lesson with Caroline highlighting my inability to tell the difference between a major and minor key was  somewhat embarrassing. And my tendency to panic during the sight reading is not a good habit. I joked that I may need to be heavily sedated in order to get through this exam, but now I think such drastic measures will not be required.

Why the change? Well, the final run through with Nest Harris was something of a triumph. Now knowing what to expect, I was less nervous last Friday and thus more able to sing. This was my first attempt with her without copies and it was the first time I've got each of the three word perfect. Hoorah! Caro mio Ben would've been perfect if it wasn't for an unfortunate coughing fit on the very last line. Dammit! Then An Die Laute was fine and I even got my tongue around the nasty last line. Lastly Do I Love You was also good. The slightly off putting thing this time was that as I was not gazing down at any music, I was instead staring at this rather serious bearded geezer singing to me. Nest has a huge mirror mounted on the opposite wall, so there's no escape from the sight of yourself singing. Scary! So is this what I look like singing? Hmm, major work in performance/presentation style called for! Try smiling lad!

Anyway, After we were done, Nest complimented me on my vowels and clarity which was nice.  The one thing still needing work was the unaccompanied folk song and I ran through that with Caroline on Saturday afternoon. Despite one muck-up when I stopped because I forgot the next line and then carried on, I still finished bang in tune! This is something I manage to achieve every time strangely and seems to be quite unusual among Caroline's pupils. Well, I might be useless at clapping rhythms and picking out major and minor keys, but at least I stay in tune! Unknown to me at the time, Ruth who was sitting in on my lesson, just so happened to be secretly filming me on her i-phone, the little tinker! One recording has somehow managed to find its way onto Facebook. So if you have a strong stomach and a taste for the macarbre . . . .

So as' D-day' approaches I reckon I should do quite well providing I stay calm.  God knows, if I do keep calm and relaxed I might even do a half decent job of the sight reading and aural tests too? Maybe?

Rest assured dear readers, if I manage to refrain from over indulgence of an alcoholic nature following the exam, be it celebratory or sorrow drowning, I will describe the day's events, warts n' all by late Wednesday evening!

In the meantime, wish me luck!


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