Concert day – Zulu chants and singing with our buddies

20 Mar

Hi everyone

Hooray we did it! A fantastic day of singing and fun, ending in another memorable Inspiration concert. We pulled together as a team to give an exciting, awe-inspiring and emotional performance. Our extended family of Leeds Inspirationers were there to support us, and also to sing along to The Lion King. Such fun.


Singers on the Wendy Wagon were oblivious to their visit to Newcastle under Lyme first

Singers on the Wendy Wagon were oblivious to their visit to Newcastle under Lyme first


We had a lot to remember, but we survived all of the choreography and were able to sit, stand and sing in the right places. We made it through a Brand New Day to see One Day More, and will forever have a Memory of those white sailor hats in There is Nothing Like a Dame.


There is nothing like some fame

There is nothing like some fame


As there was only one performance we started the day later than usual. On arrival at the Sage at 11.30 we unpacked our concert gear and picnics. We were careful to preserve our voices (by talking non-stop), maintain our energy levels (by eating soup), and to take good care of ourselves generally (by talking non-stop whilst eating soup).

Soon we were called and wound our way to the stage to start the dress rehearsal, checking the names on the seats to see where we’d be located. Now I’ll let you into a little secret, our soloists are now so famous they have joined the ranks of celebrities who are known by their first name only. So in my quest for the Lorraine Craig named seat I passed Sara, Katherine, Sting, Craig, Bryony, Madonna, Sue, Laura, Lulu, Collette, Dominic, Patrick, Elvis, Lawrence, Cher, Anne-Marie, Angela, Fiona, Jason and Kylie, Don and Mike. I seemed to be surrounded by every voice type and standing next to Mike (who is a Bass not an Alto), which I was initially worried about but soon got used to. In the end I relished the challenge of trying to keep myself sticking to the Alto 2 line. It gave the concert an extra edginess, because there was always the fear that I’d misread Gary’s women only signal and sit down when I should be kissing in a shadow or being Astonishing.


I missed my chance to be the Dame ;-)

I’ve just realised I missed my chance to be the Dame 🙂


We rattled through the dress rehearsal, marvelling at the orchestra and keeping an ear open for any unusual quacks, whistles, or bells (still from the orchestra, just in case you were worried). We were sad to hear that Sara and Anne-Marie had laryngitis, and as they didn’t want to go all silent-movie star Norma Desmond on us they couldn’t do their solos. You both would have been fabulous (you always are) and I hope you are feeling better now. Well done to Laura and Angela who stepped in to take their places.

We heard our excellent soloists Katherine and Craig sing with the orchestra for the first time, which ramped up the excitement and anticipation. We were all buzzing (perhaps that should be hemming) at our first chants chance to sing The Lion King. We breezed through the Zulu parts, busa’d Simba, and blubbed at the end. We were a proud pride of Lion King-ers and all seemed to agree that this was a winning number.

After a short break we were back on stage to rehearse the 2nd half. I was worried about the words in Brand New Day, plus dancing and doing the pointy fingers in time; but it was ok. We were very coordinated, but needed to practise the timing of the jazz hands at the end.


One, two...SHOWOne, two...SHOW One, two...SHOW

One, two…SHOW
One, two…SHOW
One, two…SHOW


I got swept away listening to the ‘Seasons’ soloists and forgot we had to sing too. Then when I remembered there was so much going on around me, with all the voice parts taking their part, that I was lost for a while. Oops good job it was the rehearsal.

Lawrence and Mike got to practise the flag-waving in One Day More, which must be as nerve wracking as singing a solo. If left to me it would either have got all wrapped up on itself or I would have successfully waved it, not realising I’d taken out half the altos and orchestra with a misjudged swipe.


Time for a quick break before the concert

Time for a quick break before the concert


Then preparations for the concert began in earnest.


  • Change knickers underwear – CHECK
  • Check whether it’s ‘look around’ or ‘come out’ first – CHECK
  • Eat emergency piece of cake to keep up energy levels – CHECK
  • Eat a Terry’s Chocolate Orange and count it as 1 of your 5 a day fruits – CHECK
  • Drink medicinal Port – CHECK
  • Go to the loo five times just in case – CHECK
  • Discuss the bad lighting in the toilets and make a face in the mirror whilst applying make up – CHECK
  • For Men and Tenor Ladies – play where to hide a white hat discreetly on a black outfit – 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 lined up and were on stage looking at a fully packed house. I tried desperately not to wave at anyone, and resisted the strong urge to flick my hair out of my eyes. As Gary walked on the stage it was also tempting to wave and “coo-ee” at him, but I didn’t 😉

Before we knew it we were rattling through the numbers. I tried to take it all in and not think too far ahead, as I wanted to enjoy the moment(s). There were bits where my mind raced, and I didn’t want to repeat past mistakes. After all who really wants to hear me sing ‘sun sh—-ight’ in Sunrise, Sunset anywhere, never mind in the Sage.


Gary was welling up at times, especially when Katherine sang On My Own

Gary was welling up at times, especially when Katherine sang On My Own


Craig deserved a big round of applause for Stars. What a voice!

Craig deserved a big round of applause for Stars.
What a voice!


We did an audio trick of rubbing hands, clicking fingers, and slapping thighs in Bali Ha’i. It sounds a bit raucous the way I’ve described it, but it was a sea and rain effect for a special island.

In Falling Slowly Mark nodded his head in praise. In this song I wish I could sing in the choir and be in the audience at the same time. The alto 2 harmony was lovely and seemed to wind its way in and out of the tune nicely.

Then in the jungle, the mighty jungle, where the lion did not sleep that night, we went a Simba way, a Simba way in The Lion King Medley. For lots of us this was the mane main event. We had spent months listening to and learning the Zulu chants; fat chants and no chants as I named them at the start. Now we were determined to make them the chants of a lifetime. Singing the medley was exciting and we were all really into it.  I think it’s one of the best numbers we’ve ever done. I could sing it every term, although it might not fit very well in a Christmas themed concert.


Altogether now... Busa le liz we bo .. Busa le liz we bo

Altogether now…
Busa le liz we bo
Busa le liz we bo


In the 2nd half the ‘Seasons of Love’ team sung their hearts out, and I enjoyed joining in after missing out in rehearsals. Nobody sang about ‘giant  hands’ in Astonishing, which in itself was astonishing.

It was fun to watch the men and Tenor Ladies singing There is Nothing Like a Dame. You all had big smiles and lots of energy, but no back flips (if only there had been enough space on the stage). I also loved the varied ways of wearing the same style sailor hat, ranging from lemon-squeezer style to Swedish Chef from The Muppets 😉


We were all winners and stars, so Norma got a bit jealous

We were all winners and stars, so Norma got a bit jealous


Sara had performed The Wizard and I so well in earlier rehearsals in Gosforth, so I was looking forward to hearing her in the concert. It’s a shame that she was unwell and that Anne-Marie was struck silent too. However they both got to listen to the full concert, which is a small consolation.

We ended with a very rousing and flag waving One Day More, and got to do the Le Miz march. There were no avalanches but lots of applause, and we were at last allowed to wave at the audience. The concert had gone without hitch and I was very proud and exhilarated to be part of it.

We met up in the bar afterwards to share singing stories and generally go wow at The Lion King. I was pleased to be able to last the day with bearable, rather than mega, back pain (now that’s a first).  I think you’ve probably guessed that I thoroughly enjoyed the whole concert; although The Lion King was a stand-out winner for me, there wasn’t one ‘I’ll skip that on the rehearsal CD for now song’ in the concert.

This term has flown by and it only seems like yesterday that we first caught sight of the pages and pages of the Zulu words (or Swahili as we thought then). Remember how we cried out for Welsh, Latin, French —– anything but ‘Is’khathi sifikile’ or ‘ubuse ngoxolo’. Christopher Columbus we all muttered under our breaths.

Thanks to Gary, Sue and Mark for all your hard work; plus of course the army of helpers of Mallory, Sheila, Jill and Lindsay.

There still seems to be an after effect from the Christmas concert, in which we sang ‘Let it snow’ and first made it happen that cold night in early December. Well it’s still happening, and it’ll be April soon, so can you please stop now 😉

Good luck to everyone singing in the Echo concert on Friday, and of course a big wave of support for Leeds Inspirationers who will be entering the lion’s den for their concert soon. Oh I’m so jealous as I want to sing it again.

Good friends or buddies always should tell it like it is, so I’ll leave it to Buddy Mitchell to have the last word on The Lion King. This is his way of giving us a canine and a half out of ten.


See you soon.

Lorraine xx


2 Responses to “Concert day – Zulu chants and singing with our buddies”

  1. Val Pickering March 20, 2013 at 7:29 pm #

    Best ever Lorraine – see you soon in May. I have a wedding to arrange (mine) on 26 April!!

    • singingalto2 March 20, 2013 at 7:30 pm #

      Thanks Val and good luck with the wedding. See you in May!

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