Sunday, 11 September 2011

The inaugural rehearsal of The Caroline Sharpe Singers and a landmark lesson.

There have been times over the last six months of choir rehearsals and singing lessons when I have wondered whether I am ever going to get to the stage when I could confidently say that I can really sing. Yes, there have been occasions when things have gone well, when I have actually felt that I contributed something positive to the male voice choir and to Caroline's wedding choirs. But more often than not, I have tended to feel that I am light years away from where I would like to be. Am I kidding myself? Have I really got it in me to really sing? Shouldn't I just pack it all in and stick to rocks and fossils?

I know I am ridiculously hard on myself and perceive every 'bum' note to be a disaster, but I guess that can be traced back to the previously reported church service reading horror as a ten year old. I know it, but strangely find it difficult to lay those demons to rest. I've known for a while that I needed 'something' to help convince myself that I really can get there. Well my friends, maybe today was the day when I got just that.

Saturday 10th September 2011. Mark it in your diary! Firstly, it was the day of the inaugural rehearsal of The Caroline Sharpe Singers, a landmark event in itself! Bright and early (10 am on a Saturday is for me, early!)  a group of enthusiastic individuals assembled at Trinity Methodist Church. For the record, the group consisted of me, Ruth, Anna-Ruth, Diane, Shirley, Jean, Vicky, Chris and Jeff. Yes three blokes, which was great, provided of course that they weren't so good as to make me stick out like the proverbial sore thumb.

Caroline kicked off proceedings with a quick run through some of the hymns due to be sung at the next wedding in Wymeswold in a couple of weeks. That was easy enough, but was followed by a second stab at 'Windmill of Your Mind', which was a rather more of a challenge! Despite a few dodgy bits it started to really come together. Then we tried a new piece that Caroline has earmarked for us to sing at a 'gig' in November. I've forgotten the title of said piece but it had lots of 'alleluias' in it. Rather like Thursday when in the LMVC rehearsal we tried a new piece, the first run through seemed like a bit of a mess, but after a few minutes of Caroline's guidance, a quite impressive sound started to emerge.

An hours rehearsal went by in a flash and I left feeling that we were at the start of something quite special. Who knows where this little venture could lead but it will be fun finding out. After that, me, Ruth and Diane adjourned to the Moon and Bell for a brew and a bacon cob, before my return to Trinity at one o'clock for my next singing lesson with Caroline.

Now, maybe it was the fact that I was already well 'warmed up' or maybe it was because the earlier rehearsal had gone so well. But whatever the reason, right from the first note to pass my lips, this lesson was unlike any previous one. I guess I was way more relaxed for a start, but something just felt 'right' somehow. We started with 'Where e'er You Walk' and for the first time I actually felt like what I was singing was rather good! Caroline could tell that I had been practising, so it obviously makes a difference. So good did I feel that I  even had the confidence to throw in a few 'twiddly bits' (a common technical term we singers use!?!) during the second run through like wot proper singers do with this song.

But the real landmark occurance came when Ruth came in to listen to my efforts. Caroline played the tune again, but this time in a slightly higher key. This obviously made the high bits even higher, but when I got to them something quite astonishing (to me at least) occurred. Caroline had often talked about allowing the voice to open out which would release my somewhat stifled vocals. It only really happens when one is sufficiently relaxed - something I've struggled with since day one! But today, on hitting a high note, a great booming voice appeared from somewhere, I know not where, and it felt GREAT! But interestingly, it was upping the key that brought it out, so maybe that's the key (pardon the pun)! Apparently, the tone of my voice sounds much better as a result. "I think you married a tenor", said Caroline to Ruth! 

So hopefully this wasn't a one off and there will be more of the same in the weeks to come. I'd better keep practising to make sure I don't lose it. It was also interesting to note that a run through 'Moondance' seemed all wrong somehow. I have until now thought that Michael Buble/Nat King Cole would be the kind of musical genre that I would be most suited to. I rather doubted Carolines belief that I could really 'do' classical. Well, yesterday's lesson well and truly eradicated that doubt. 'Trust in your teacher' you fool! She would hardly present me with a folder of classical songs for my birthday if she didn't think I was capable of mastering them. So, maybe we'll put Michael Buble on the backburner for now and concentrate on my classical folder!

So there you go - something of a landmark day. Time now to search Youtube for more videos of 'Where e're You Walk' for the purposes of stealing ideas for interesting twiddly bits.

Cheers for  now!

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