Last Saturday we had a concert at Saint Mary's Church, Sileby by Sorelle Di Canto. Comprising the stunning voices of Caroline Sharpe, Anna-Ruth Gray and Olivia Thornber, this trio were to present a quite brilliant concert. In fact it was still being talked about days later. It was really classy stuff that wouldn't have been out of place in a top city concert hall.
The first half was made up of sacred songs, opera arias and duets - slightly 'heavier going' as one member of the audience put it. I did sense that there was genuine surprise at the quality of the singing - it really was outstanding stuff.
Three sacred songs started the concert followed by four songs from Mozart's Marriage of Figaro preceded by Caroline's witty synopsis. Then Caroline sang two Puccini arias including my personal favourite, 'O mio Babino Caro'. To round off the first half were two duets - 'Barcarolle' and the 'Flower Duet' from Delibe's Lakme.
That first half wasn't without incident with the girls being tormented by a rather persistent fly buzzing around their faces. At one point Olivia swats the fly away in a very controlled manner while in mid song. Classy!
Interval meant time for a tart. A fruity tart no less. There's a pretty obvious and tasteless joke to be made here which I will stay well clear of - for now. Part two was rather more laid back and humorous. Four love songs preceded Chris Hill entertaining with a bit of Duke Ellington. Nice one Mr Hill! Then we had two hilarious G & S songs hilariously choreographed by Ruth, 'Three Little Maids' and 'Poor Wandering One'. Brilliant!
That was followed by a touch of Stars in Your Eyes as 'tonight Matthew', Caroline was going to be Michael Ball by singing two songs usually only sung by men - 'Music of the Night' and 'The Impossible Dream'. And it worked really well.
The last programmed song was 'A Word on my Ear', which required Caroline to sing horribly out of tune - something that's probably not as easy as it might seem. And finally the obligatory encore of 'Time to Say Goodbye'.
All in all a quite exceptional concert that raised quite a lot for the church funds. The only downside was that my winning raffle run came to an end after four successive wins. Hey-ho!
Then on the Sunday afternoon it was the turn of the Loughborough Male Voice Choir, presenting a selection of songs at the Queen's Park Bandstand in Loughborough. And for a change we had warm sunny weather. Hoorah! Sadly it was only a modest turn out of 13 choir members present, but the half choir made a good account of themselves I think. The good thing about the warm sunny weather is that a good audience is pretty much guaranteed and a good number came to watch and listen.
We sang our usual mix of old and new and it all went well until Mr Hill decided to throw in the folk song 'Pleasant and Delightful'. Now this was not included in any programme that I had seen so I was totally unprepared for my solo verse. In fact I didn't realise that was what we were to be singing until Chris Higgins started it off. I hurriedly tried to run thru my words in my head as I sang the chorus but couldn't for the life of me remember the all important last line. Oh well, hopefully it will come to me when it needs to, I thought. Well, it didn't. Sigh!
The result is there for friends on Facebook to see as Ruth was doing the page turning for Sue and was ideally situated to capture it all on film in all it's misery. On reflection, it wasn't half as bad as it seemed at the time and as Caroline says, it happens to everyone at some time. So I'll put it down to experience. That said, a quick note to Mr Hill - all I ask, the next time you fancy a bit of spontaneity, is for just 30 seconds for me to run through my lines in my head before we start? Ta very much!
So other than that little embarrassment it was another enjoyable concert in the park. Same time same place next year? I very much hope so!
One final thing before I go. A big WELCOME BACK to Peter Bateman who has been missed from the choir for a good few months after surgery to rebuild his knees. Well it was great to have you back on Thursday mate. We second tenors particularly have missed you!
Cheers for mow,