Words, chants and Yoda

13 Jan

Hi everyone

This week’s warm-ups were sponsored by Slimming World and Christmas. Gary wanted us to practise deep breathing, right down into our lungs. The instruction was to put your thumb on your breastbone (difficult to find if you’ve got big Normas), stretch your hand down your stomach and take a quick shocked breath.


Oh my god wish I hadn't eaten all those chocs

Wish I hadn’t eaten all those chocolates. I must go on a diet


We continued the hissing and counting exercise from last week, the one where we can’t manage to count to 4. There’s always an extra hiss and some leaking ‘SSSsssssssss’ escape, which makes us laugh every time. Luckily though it’s not just 4 we can’t add up to, as we can’t manage 6 or 8 either.


We're very mature and would never point out a mistake to anyone ;-)

We’re very mature and would never point out a hissing mistake to anyone 😉


Then singing scales with your hands out in front of you. Raise your hands as the notes go up, then down when they go down. Then the other way around – hands go down, notes go up – hands go up, notes go down. It was quite difficult and took a bit concentration. I wonder what weird things will Gary have us doing next in rehearsals? sight-reading Sawhili chants with choreography is a safe bet I reckon.

‘Memory’ was our first number. To start with we had to copy Gary and enunciate the words.

Gary: “Memory”

Choir: “MMMem – or – eee”

Gary: “Moonlight”

Choir: “MMMMmooooooon – lyttttttttttttt……….t………….t……..t………….t………T”

Gary: “Tenors and Basses only”

Choir: “Tttttenors and Bb… [oops]”

‘Memory’ is a sad and tragic song, so we tried to evoke the mood of Norma Desmond to help get this across to the audience.


Sing 'Memory' from Cats like you're Norma Desmond

Sing ‘Memory’ from Cats like you’re Norma Desmond


Hooray who would have guessed it? Swahili chanting next in ‘The Lion King’. Now this was difficult because I was trying to sight read the notes on the alto line, whilst at the same time reading the phonetic Swahili words on the soprano line. Talk about going cross-eyed!


I must get to grips with The Lion King

I must get to grips with The Lion King


We started note-bashing Mark’s arrangement of  ‘Falling Slowly’ and someone asked if I knew which musical it was from. “Once” I whispered back and then heard ‘waltz’ being whispered down the rows. So I turned back around and said “no ONCE”, only to hear “WANTS” being chinese whispered back down the rows. I must need to practise my diction.  I’m not familiar with this musical, or with waltz or wants, but had looked up the YouTube clip last week whilst making a playlist of the concert numbers.

We all know that Gary is a grand master, but we weren’t expecting Yoda the Jedi Master to pop up in rehearsals.


It happened as we were going through ‘Falling Slowly’, when we got our phrasing wrong and broke up the words into Yoda-like phrases.


Voice you have a choice

Voice you have a choice


Quite catching, talking like yoda is.  Herh herh herh. Continue it in ‘One Day More’, perhaps we should?


Now, the time is, near, the day is.

To a new beginning, one day.

Of freedom high, raise the flag.  Hmmmmmm.

Hear the people sing do you.  Yeesssssss.

Once we shook off Yoda we really got into 'Falling Slowly' from Waltz Wants 'Once'

Once we shook off Yoda we really got into ‘Falling Slowly’ from Waltz Wants ‘Once’


We ended the rehearsal with the non-Yoda version of ‘One Day More’, which we can practise at our private showing of Les Mis next week. The answer to “Do you hear the people sing” will be a definite YES on that day.


Six Days More 'til we see Les Mis

Six Days More ’til we see Les Mis


Only 2 weeks into rehearsals and it seems like we’ve done so much. I’m going to download the rehearsal tracks today, in order to begin the brainwashing process. Uh oh my dreams will be haunted with Lions and tigers Cats, but no bears. Well that is so far. Phew!

I’m hoping that brainwashing using the rehearsal CD will help to delete the Welsh words from my brain, and replace them with Swahili chants. As Yoda himself would say “You must unlearn what you have learned”.

Anyway look how quickly we all managed to pick up Yoda-speak, we’ll be fine. Swahili words you don’t scare us, but if Gary adds any choreography now that’s a different matter entirely.

See you next week.

Lorraine x


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