A night of shimmering stars & sweaty clappers

5 Dec


Hi everyone

Hooray we did it! 2 fabulous Believe Christmas concerts and a standing ovation (thanks to the Leeds charabanc trip).

We successfully got through singing in Welsh, managed to walk in high heels without falling on our knees, and used that miracle of science ‘Blu Tack’ to help muffle our clappers. In all we sang the concert 3 times, all [erm] word perfect. Not always the words as printed on the music, but perfectly enunciated wrong words which were sung with passion (does that count?)

It was a long and fully packed day at the Sage, but we managed to pull through fortified by coffee, coconut snowmen, carrot cake, verkel-zernes, my magical miracle throat spray which tastes of Pledge and cats pee, and the discounted bar prices. Although of course we were in the Christmas spirit without the need to imbibe any spirits, we drink bottled lager and wine are consummate professionals.

The orchestra rehearsal started before lunch (about 10am Inspiration-time). We marvelled at the orchestral numbers and played guess the Christmas film. We quickly rattled through the rehearsal, and too soon it was time to practice ‘Carol of the Bells’. That can’t be the end of Act 1 already! We’d muffled our clappers which stopped them accidently tinkling, but instead there was the fear of accidentally dropping the whole bell.

I don't want to drop a Clanger and over-Ding it

I don’t want to drop a Clanger or over-Ding it

The rehearsal was so slick and smooth that we didn’t want to jinx it continued straight into Act 2 without a break. After nailing Mame (ouch) and singing Hallelujah with a Geordie inflection we practiced our conga line for going on and off stage. Then we were free to roam and learn last minute Welsh.

We refuelled with our 2nd lunch of the day, and started to get ready for our bling-a-sing-along performance.

Preparations began in earnest.

  • Change knickers underwear – CHECK
  • Check bling and glue your clapper with Blu Tack – CHECK
  • Eat emergency piece of cake to keep up energy levels – CHECK
  • Fill out Weight Watchers tracker. Counting 2 raspberrys and 3 orange jelly babies as your 5 a day fruits – CHECK
  • Drink medicinal Port – CHECK
  • Go to the loo five times just in case – CHECK
  • Wrestle discreetly into your stockings whilst still sitting in your seat  – CHECK
  • Go back to toilets with more stockings after wrestling with and laddering 1st pair – CHECK
  • Keep repeating Welsh words on a continuous loop – CHECK
  • Step into high heels for 5 seconds (some of the women did this too) – CHECK
  • Discard high heels in favour of walking boots or slippers – CHECK
  • Apply lippy (see earlier sarcy comment about high heels) – CHECK ………. READY

We’d all made an extra effort and were dolled up in our bling party gear for this concert. Didn’t we look lovely?

I hope Gary wasn’t too surprised when the lights first went up and we temporarily blinded him in a sparkly sequined blaze of glory.

Bling! Oh my god!

Bling! Oh my god!

The audience appreciated our efforts and once they’d got used to the glare were able to spot their friends and family in the choir.

O Holy Night these stars are brightly shining

O Holy Night these stars are brightly shining

It was lovely to be dressed up and sparkly for a bling party.  At times during the concert the lights bounced off the blinged up sopranos and caught my eye, so I got a hint of the sparkle the audience experienced.  I hope it was only bling that you were flashing ladies 😉

The men looked great and were framed perfectly by our gorgeous sparkliness.


I loved singing ‘Walking in the air’ and pretending to be a soprano. I honestly didn’t think of Irn Bru once so that was progress, but this was mainly because I was concentrating too much on standing comfortably in my higher than usual shoes, trying not to stand on the bottom of my dress, fretting about how to get off stage, or on not getting too distracted by sparkly sequins.

I like ‘Believe’ as well, because I find the words very meaningful and I’m a bit of a softy. I watched ‘Polar Express’ the other week and thought it was good, but it gave me motion sickness. I’m the same with the Nintendo Wii, it makes me ill. I’d be a Wii-Fit skateboarding champ if it wasn’t for my sensitivity to motion sickness and perhaps my back as well come to think of it.

Motion sickness? Perhaps you believed a little too much ;-)

Motion sickness? Perhaps you believed a little too much 😉

By this point I had been clinging onto my bell so tightly that my hand had started to go numb, and it was cutting a groove in my hand. Others experienced similar problems, but one anonymous soprano confessed to clinging on so tightly she had a sweaty clapper mark on her dress. On coming off the stage for the interval I noticed a dead clapper as well, which made me laugh. Aren’t I heartless?

Act 2 opened with ‘O Holy Night’ which although is very high for me, felt really good to sing. My feet were hurting but it was time for us to rock around the Christmas tree. We’d felt a bit paranoid in rehearsals, because when we finished everyone started laughing. Though I’m assured it was unrelated to our singing or dancing.


Headbanging around the Christmas tree

Headbanging around the Christmas tree

Deck the halls with boughs of holly

Deck the halls with boughs of holly

I enjoyed ‘God Bless Us Everyone’ but found parts of that difficult to sing. I was ok with the Alto CD, dodgy singing along to the mix CD, and a bit unsure in the concert. It was the one candle’s light dispels the night bit that threw me, but at least it gave me a chance to sing along with every other voice part in the choir before coming back to the Alto 2s for the end.

Sang all the Welsh correct. YES!

Sang all the Welsh correct. YES!

‘We need a little Christmas’ and ‘Mame’ were both exciting songs to sing and end the concert with. If there had been room on the stage as well as in my dress I would have done some Broadway style high kicks. I’m sure the men felt the same.

All they need is a little singing ringing through the rafter and they're off. Any excuse

All they need is a little singing ringing through the rafter and they’re off. Any excuse!

With the encore of ‘Hallelujah’ the concert was over and there was time to quickly recuperate, change shoes, and beg some food off someone who hadn’t eaten theirs at 10am. Gary popped into the room before the evening performance to say “don’t do anything different. Just make it bigger and brighter” which made us laugh.

The evening was bigger and brighter – had the lights been turned up on our bling? – and it all went without a hitch. The dead clapper was still on the stage, though it was probably cold by then and not sweaty.

We met up in the bar afterwards to show off our eccentric choice of bling party wear and comfortable shoes. After being really tired at 10.30am I managed to stay the course until the bitter end, eventually getting chucked out when they called last orders.

After settling into the shock of an early start on a Sunday, I really enjoyed the whole concert. This term has flown by and it only seems like yesterday that I had my 15 minutes of fame doing my La Gaga impersonation in Edinburgh. Thanks to Gary, Sue and Mark for all your hard work; plus of course Santa’s little helpers Mallory, Sheila, Jill and Lindsay.

We sang ‘Let it snow’ and have made that happen. Here’s hoping that next term’s concert includes ‘It’s raining men’ and that comes true as well 😉

Good luck to everyone singing in the Echo concert, and of course a big wave of support for Leeds Inspirationers who ‘Believe’ too or is that “Believe 2 – just when you thought  your clapper was dead – it’s back. Even bigger, brighter and with more BLING” – go on, go on, go on you know you want to.

See you soon and Happy Christmas.

Lorraine xx

carol singers


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