Concert day – Sit down you’re rocking the Sage

16 Jul

Hi everyone

Hooray we did it! A fantastic day of sunshine, singing and fun, ending in another memorable Inspiration concert.

We’ve had a mountain of difficult words to learn – Tra Las, Oooos, turning, burning, gurning glances and astounding testicles. There’s been difficult decisions to make within the shortest timeframe – When to sing Down on Skid Row? When to punch the air in ‘Oklahoma’? Is it ok to eat a 3rd cupcake? I could go on, and on, and on, and on, good gracious me.

But make a mistake and who would know about it? – except for Andy, Mark, the orchestra and 300 other singers – no one 😉

It’s been difficult this term and we have missed Gary, but Mark and Andy have been great and coached us well throughout. We all wanted to shine like the sun outside for them and we did. We pulled together as one team and had most of the words off Pat (she’s canny), and for the rest of the words we were flying by the seat of our pants. Hey we live on the edge, we’re Inspiration.

It was a lovely surprise on Saturday that the weather was still nice. I was melting in the heat, but it was certainly better than sliding around on ice as I’d done earlier in the year.




There was a nervousness in the air in the dress rehearsal, which there isn’t normally. I think we were a bit unsettled with things being different and were worried about our words. Aaarrgghhh what happens if we all forget the same words?


Around the shores of England that stretch towards the sea.....

Around the shores of England that stretch towards the sea. There dwell an ancient people and they labour mightily.


Andy was laid back and tried to make us smile. He made quips about us letting our faces know that we were enjoying ourselves, so we must have all looked frightened.


Stop and stare at the sea of smiles around you

Stop and stare at the sea of smiles around you


I think we did worry Andy at one point in rehearsal:

Andy:The singing is great folks, but it’s missing something. What’s the ‘E’ word?”

Choir:DICTION” (Shouted out and all together)

Andy: “No listen, what’s the ‘E’ word?”

Choir: “DICTION” (Again shouted out and all together)

Andy: (Thinks – they’ll never manage to spell out Oklahoma)

Andy: I meant ‘Energy’ but it doesn’t matter!


Once we relaxed, and got our energy and diction sorted we flew through rehearsals with no problems. When it came to ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ it was Mark’s turn to conduct, his very first time. Andy presented him with a new baton as a good luck present which was nice, though there was a bit of delay in him using it as he couldn’t remove it from the packaging. It must have been daunting for Mark, in front of us and the now Royal Northern Sinfonia but he did us all proud.


Practising conducting techniques

Practising conducting techniques


We sang through the whole concert without a break, and then practised the conga line of getting on and off stage. We managed this smoothly, or so we thought until it got to concert time. Then we panicked and couldn’t work out which order we should stand in, so that we end up seated in the correct place on stage. It was like the Krypton Factor – “right you stand there, you there, they come off first, we go on this direction, you’re next etc”. I had to opt out of the conversation as I couldn’t work it out, and ended up dutifully standing where I was told to.

We finished the dress rehearsal and there was time to sit out in the sun, do some last minute word learning, and eat ice cream. Then preparations for the concert began in earnest.

  • Change knickers underwear – CHECK
  • Stick the words to ‘Masquerade’ on the back of your friend’s head – 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
  • 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 – CHECK
  • Eat 4 jelly lizards – CHECK
  • Reapply lipstick  ………. READY

Soon we were lined up and on stage looking at a fully packed house. I tried desperately not to wave to anyone, and resisted the strong urge to flick my hair out of my eyes.

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 anticipate or repeat my past mistakes.


Discard any thoughts of dirty laundry 'tis long ago and far away now

Discard any thoughts of dirty laundry ’tis long ago and far away now


The ‘Dirty Laundry’ ladies Katherine, Laura and Amy were excellent and sang/acted well in their number. Craig confidently sang and laughed his way through ‘Sit Down You’re Rocking the Boat’; he did Superbly Superbly, which is a step up from Nicely Nicely.

Then it was Mark’s turn to conduct ‘Little Shop of Horror’ which he did with gusto and energy, his head bobbing and directing us in the ‘lookout, lookout, lookout, lookout’ part. Well done Mark!

We conga lined off the stage for the break and before we knew it we were back singing ‘Do You Hear the People Sing’. In rehearsals the singers on the risers couldn’t join in with the Le Miz march, because the stage was moving with them. The stage was checked and safe, but just in case only those singers on the stage could march. After all we didn’t want another march induced mishap like the great Le Miz snow splat of earlier this year.

Mark seemed to enjoy his 2nd go at conducting and we all raised our voices for him, sometimes even in the right places. He had raised a sweat early on, but gave us clear signals of the last few lines that we always have a collective hiccup on.

Then we were back with Andy for the remainder of the concert. He grinned, gurned and winked throughout (on purpose, as he was trying to encourage us to smile). We readily took to his signals and there were some we recognised from Gary’s conducting – dangling baton = men only, Ssshh = Ssshhhh and glare = SSSSSssshhhh NOW!

Anne-Marie was clear and confident in ‘The Lusty Month of May’, so I tried really hard not to muck up her excellent performance with an errant tra la la. Sara was fabulous and gave a confident rendition of ‘Somebody to Love’. I’m in awe of all our soloists as I can’t imagine anything more frightening than singing to the whole of the Sage, it can be scary enough for me with 300 others singing.

We ended with ‘One Singular Sensation’ which received great applause. I thought we were heading for an encore and would do ‘One’ again, the audience were up for it and the choir were up for it but there was no encore. Shame, but it meant we were at last able to wave to the audience, and quickly do one from the stage.




As always it was great to spend the day with my friends and I enjoyed the showmanship of being in another Inspiration concert. This term has been challenging and different, but we survived and got through it splendidly. Our extended family of Leeds Inspiration have enjoyed singing in their concert too, with some of the Newcastle singers joining them on the stage of Leeds Town Hall. It’s great that we are all supporting one another and enjoying being part of the wider Inspiration choir.

A big thanks to Andy for teaching me how to exercise my eyebrows, and of course to sing that marvellous warm up ‘many men’ (which really annoys my work colleagues). Thanks of course to Mark who has worked extremely hard in rehearsals as conductor and motivational speaker; thanks also to Sue and the army of helpers of Mallory, Sheila, Jill and Lindsay. Lots of love to Gary and I think many of us were singing the concert for him (I know I was, but just the good bits where I could remember the words not the other bits) 😉

See you all in September when we start of singing Christmas songs. It’s only 161 sleeps, 2 hours, 5 minutes and 4 seconds to Christmas 2013 just in case you are wondering.

I’m proud to be part of Inspiration and love singing in our concerts, but have to admit it will be nice to listen to some different music over the holidays.

Now what should I put on my iPod for listening to whilst sunbathing?

See you soon.

Lorraine x


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