Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Did someone mention concerts?

Don't ya just love this time of year? For those fortunate enough to be a member of a choir, those endless rehearsals all start to mean something as the concert schedule starts to get busy. If you are mad enough to be a member of more than one choir, you start to lose track of what you are meant to be doing and when. And if you have other famly members in yet more choir's or Shakespeare companies it all starts to get a bit mental. But in a good way!

Last weekend was something of a classic in terms of its madness at 'Chateau Knightthorpe'. Enchanted were doing the entertaining on Friday night which just so happened to be my birthday! So I was happy to forego a party type celebration in favour of playing at being cameraman for the gig. Now don't start feeling sorry for me! In view of my current status as being 'between jobs' and being somewhat skint, this was no bad thing. Besides, as it turmed out it was way more entertaining than any party ever could be.

The concert was staged at St. Michaels Church, Sutton Bonington along with the Sutton Bonington Voices, led by the LMVC's very own Chris Hill. What with the LMVC, Sutton Bonington Voices, his ivory tinkling for Enchanted and organ playing at Trinity, one does wonder what Mr Hill likes to do in his spare time? If indeed he does ever have any!?!

The concert started with the children of Sutton Bonington Primary School. It's always great to see young children taking their very first steps in performing. I usually find the recorder to be a quite painful instrument to listen to, but these guys were quite excellent - definitely the most tuneful recorder playing I've ever heard. Well done kids!

Next up were Enchanted. I think it's fair to say that the girls were not at their best that night. The reason perhaps was the rather flat acoustics of the church which meant that he girls were struggling to hear each other. To those of us who have heard them on numerous occasions, there were a few dodgy bits, but not particularly noticable to the audience. The tricky song Soldier, Soldier was alas a bit wayward, summed up by a frustrated shake of the head from Caroline at it's end. Having said that, the girls stuck to the task and got through the show and the audience certainly enjoyed it. It is remarkable how important the acoustics of a venue really are in practice. We in the male voice choir are somewhat spoilt to be able to rehearse and perform concerts at Trinity Methodist Church with its quite magnificent acoustics. More on that later. So sadly some of the recording is now lying on the cutting room floor, but there are some songs that might just get an airing shortly.

Now to the following evening - Saturday 19th May at Trinity Methodist Church Centre. This was to be the LMVC's first concert from their home venue in 2012 and was cleverly titled (as suggested by Ruth) 'A May Sing' - Songs for a May Evening. This also featured special guests, The Loughborough CE Primary School Choir. Fresh from their success at the Coalville Festival, this group of children were quite excellent. Wonderfully in tune and precise renditions of songs including Rocking in Rhythm and Feed the Birds. Great stuff!

Lyndon Gardner had a couple of solo spots, delivering some classy songs with his usual precision. I particularly liked Maria from West Side Story. As this song is featured on one of my Alfie Boe CDs, I almost knew it word for word myself!

The male voice choir were on the whole pretty good. I rather thought that our first half was again better than our second, which I think suggests that some of our newer songs need a little more work to make then as polished as the others. I think the 'follow, follow, follow, follow' bits in Time to Remember were a little ragged and as is often the case, the finger clicking in Chanson d'amour seemed to fade away somewhat. At the end of the first half, the rendition of the legendary Amarillo was possibly our best effort yet except for a point half way though when it seemed  to almost stall, which was a shame.

Minor gripes aside, there were some notable triumphs. Despite the reservations of some of us that trying to sing Myvanwy without copies was not wise, it turned out great and I even remembered most of it! Llanfair was also quite wonderful! The 'Amen' climax at max volume sends shivers down the spine as it echos around the church!

And then of course, there was Pleasant and Delightful! This included my second solo of the third verse of this folk song and I think it was a vast improvement on my first effort in terms of confidence and expression. I just LOVED it. Come ABRSM Grade 5 time, I'll do the whole song for the 'unaccompanied folk song of my choice'! The whole song just felt so much better, probably because of Trinity's superb acoustics, with the audience joining in and with my gradually increasing confidence. I can't wait to receive my CD to see if it really was as good as it seemed.

Following our last concert in April, Caroline had challenged me to sing with a smile on my face. My facial expression wasn't something I'd thought about, but I suppose I invariably have my 'concentration frown' fixed on my face for the duration. So this time I made a concerted effort to show a bit of expression and try to look as though I am enjoying myself. Well, apparently I passed the test! Hoorah!

So, what next? Why, it's the now annual visit to the Bandstand at Queen's Park this coming Sunday 27th May at 2.15 pm. Note, that's 2.15 pm. As I've suggested on the Facebook LMVC page, bring along friends, relatives, neighbours, pets with a nice hamper full of goodies and make an afternoon of it with Caroline's Carillon Recital to follow us at 3.30pm. What better way to spend a warm sunny summer Sunday than that? See you all there!


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