By heart week

28 Jun

Hi everyone

BH week already. The whole concert by heart, by hieroglyphics, by hand, or in some parts just “bloody hell I’ll never be able to learn this”.

We were eased into BH week with one of our favourite warm-ups, the tickle your top set and hockle on your neighbour one. So we all obediently Vvvvvv, Zzzzzzz, and Fffttt-d to order.

Then it was in at the deep end with O Fortuna. Poor Gary had rows of frightened faces looking back at him.


Gary stared back at us, pretending he was a judge on The Voice.

G. a. ry

We sang O Fortuna well, except for the start and the end – the middle was a bit dodgy as well come to think of it, but other than that we did well. How true that it was scary and menacing for us rather than the audience, as Gary pointed out whilst doing big red pen circles around his music.

An alto was discovered using drastic word learning tactics

We had a clash of clear winds again in ‘Up Where We Belong’.  What would be good for our wind problem – a kite? Wind-eze? No doubt we’ll find out next Wednesday in the ‘fixit again rehearsal’.

I’d not been that keen on ‘For the Fallen’ and at home it was one of my skip tracks on the rehearsal CD, but I loved singing it with everyone last night. It’s going to be one of those emotional ones, that will probably require a hanky or long sleeve in the concert.

Again there was much hilarity but not many words when the thrumming notes of ‘Scotland the Brave’ started. We have decided en masse to tackle this song with great exuberance. This reminded me of one of my old school reports, which said I was an ‘exuberant pupil in Music lessons’. At the time I took exuberant to mean ‘Lorraine enthusiastically bashes hell out of a triangle and is rubbish at the violin’. Now I think it means ‘hey so what. We still don’t know the words, but if we dance enthusiatically no one will notice’.

Dancing to divert from the fact we don’t know the words

We sang ‘SING’ but not all the words were louder, clearer, stronger or together. It’s one of those ones with words that is difficult to learn. That took us to the break in which there was time to buy a pot of pickle and a pot plant, and pop to the loo. That’s a plant in a pot by the way, and not an illegal marijuana plant just in case you were wondering.

I loved singing ‘Dare to Dream’ and ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ they both felt very uplifting and inspirational.

Warning: Too much home practice can be dangerous to pets

‘Hymn to the Fallen’ which I had been dreading, went quite well. There was a collective sigh when we got to the end of the first ooh ooh bit, followed by a collective groan just before the start of the next ooh ooh bit. By the end of the ah ah bit we were whooping and celebrating the fact that we’d survived it by the skin of our teeth in one piece. The men had their shirts over their heads like footballers who have just scored a goal.

Hymn to the Fallen – Back of the net

The women went one better by setting off fireworks and cracking open the bubbly.

Ooh ooh ooh ah can see fireworks

I enjoy and dislike the BH rehearsal in equal measures. I find there are songs I think I know that I don’t, and vice versa. At times I was lost in music, not in a Sister Sledge way or an arty farty way either I mean literally lost –

  • Where am I in ‘Wherever You Are’?
  • Am I up or down in ‘You Raise Me Up’?
  • I don’t belong in ‘Up Where We Belong’?

My word learning goes awry as things get more complicated. Sometimes there’s a million voices together, at others a thousand voices shouting, and in one we’ve been there ten thousand years. Words, words, words. I also get stuck on the Yoda-like phrases that seem to have crept into this concert – ‘they shall grow not old’ and ‘it cannot be ever said ye’. Don’t even mention dreaming, gleaming streaming, versus beaming and a-dreaming.

In ‘Danny Boy’ for some reason I always sing ‘hide’ instead of ‘bide’, which makes the song somewhat less poignant. I also lament there are ‘no buns’ in ‘From a Distance’, which isn’t kneaded needed.

The rehearsal ended with moving words about John Morris, someone close to our hearts and with us in our singing. He gave us some wonderful singing memories – the first Newcastle City Hall concert, Florida, the Royal Albert Hall, and many others. So it was fitting to sing ‘You Raise Me Up’ in his memory.

Next week will be fixit again week. It’s tempting to have a break from word learning and listening to the rehearsal tracks on a continuous loop. However my mistakes above show that I’ve still got a way to go to being worm prefect word perfect. Oh and I’ve also still not managed to stand up through the whole concert, at the correct times, so perhaps I need to work on this as well.

See you all next week.

I’ll be dreaming, beaming, gleaming and no doubt screaming by then.

Lorraine x


One Response to “By heart week”

  1. Chris Monks July 13, 2012 at 8:46 am #

    I’m crying with laughter and have to hear little ones read at school. I’m now VERY late!!

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