Highland fling to quavers that swing

14 Sep

Hi everyone,

It’s that time again …………

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It’s been another year of weird weather. What with icebergs in March, floods in Under the Sea, and a lasting summer which lasted from last Saturday to last Sunday. Then on Monday there was an autumnal chill which led me to switch on the heating, followed by an emergency knickers audit* for the onset of double gusset weather.

* Just to clarify this is an emergency audit of my knicker drawer, and not an audit of my ’emergency knickers’. My Mam has an ’emergency tea bag’ and I’ve heard the comedian Sarah Millican has an ’emergency pastie’ in her handbag, so I feel that ’emergency knickers’ would be a valid though not required item as they are obviously less important than a nice cuppa and a Greggs pastie.

Then on Wednesday keen Inspirationers across the land (well the best bits of the North) downloaded tracks and began to get ready for Christmas.

Christmas brainwashing starts early

We all met early to catch up, share Edinburgh stories, and I at last got to meet Dr. Sarah Winthrop. A truly momentous start, even before we started.

Damn I’ve just used the words I wanted We started.

Gary got his bearings with the layout of the choir, declaring that he will treat the front row of lady tenors like men. He also identified a Downton Abbey/Upstairs Downstairs split of the Soprano 1s.

Downstairs! really …… how very modern

The warm ups started with yoga-type stretches.

Hands in the air —— stretch ———don’t tense your neck —— stretch —— remember to keep a sly check on your T-shirt as it will most likely rise to reveal your stomach/boobs/moobs.

In this era of Health and Safety madness perhaps hard hats should be included for these yoga stretches, just in case the Upstairs top Sops drop a booby and take our their fellow Downstairs tops Sops with one fell droop swoop.

The stretching exercise was very like this

It was nothing like this ………………….

Clever but wrong

And definitely nothing like this ………………….

An Olympian Tenor showing off

Then we moved from drooping and swooping to swinging. Don’t worry no chandeliers were involved, never mind harmed in this exercise. No this lesson was on swing quavers (the musical notation, not the crisps) in preparation for ‘Let it snow’ and ‘Winter Wonderland’. Through a nah-nah-nah-nah exercise we found out that swing quavers are uneven and swing, whilst normal quavers are even, more balanced out and erm don’t swing. It’s easier to hear the difference, rather than follow my expert explanation 🙂

By the end of the exercise we were able to swing low, Sweet Gary, pet. Though it was difficult to go back to straight quavers after a  lot of swinging – there must be a clean joke here somewhere

More swung quavers in ‘Winter Wonderland’, or as I like to think of it that one with the Geordies and the parson snowman in it.

He’ll say “are you married?” We’ll say “No, man!”

Not exactly how I’d reply, as my first response would be to run frightened from a talking snowman.

Definite signs of being set in Newcastle – no coat in winter

The sound of snow falling that we practised at the start to go with the ‘mmmm’ was quickly rained off. We sang ‘Winter Wonderland’ through a few times and then built up the last chord, to find it’s the same one that starts Bohemian Rhapsody. I hope it won’t start a Pavlovian response and have us all worrying about headbanging in the wrong place.

Then ‘Merry Xmas, Merry Xmas’ which wasn’t in the music pack, and had been missed off along with ‘Somewhere in my memory’. Both were from Home Alone 2 and they seem to prefer it there. Hopefully they’ll join us next week.

Arrrggghhh Home Alone 2 music is missing

So instead we did ‘The First Noel’, which prompted much in depth debate amongst my row of Alto 2s:

Alto 2 (and a bit) – “Have we done this before?”

Alto 3 – “Dunno”

Alto 2.5 – “We have man!”

Alto 2 (and a bit) – “When?”

Alto 2.5 – “Christmas”

Alto 2 (and a bit) and Alto 3 together – “eeeeeeee, yea”

There was a quick break, after which we were going to start ‘Suo Gan’. This is in Welsh, and was not as I first read it ‘Sno Gan’ which I’d imagined as a lament on that long, hard winter in Ashington in 2009 when the gritters couldn’t get through.

Unfortunately Mark felt unwell, so we left early. Get well soon, Mark. We left the Welsh for another time, though it can not be ever said we for the battle were not ready 😉

We had a good first rehearsal, and start to Christmas in September. My work colleagues are waiting with dread to hear what they’ll be subjected to for the next 3 months. I’ve just listened to ‘Carol of the Bells’ and think this will feature heavily ………… ding-dong-ding-dong……… la-la-la-la-la-la

See yule next week

Enjoy your Christmas rehearsal CDs.

Lorraine x


2 Responses to “Highland fling to quavers that swing”

  1. Valerie Pickering September 14, 2012 at 10:35 pm #

    Wasn’t there cos I am doing Music in the Minster Whistle Down the Wind – but love to read your accounts of Wednesday evenings. Sad to hear Mark wasn’t well – but I am sure he will have a brill recovery.

    Best wishes


    • singingalto2 September 15, 2012 at 11:02 am #

      Thanks Val. Hope singing in Whistle Down the Wind was good. It’s a bit early for Christmas songs, but sure we’ll get used to it soon. Mark has messaged to say he is feeling a bit better.

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