Archive | December, 2016

God Bless Us Everyone – Concert Day

18 Dec

Hi everyone

Hooray we did! We slid smoothly through the dress rehearsal, moving on to give two wonderful performances of our ‘God Bless Us Everyone’ concert. All to rapturous applause and a standing ovation.

We got through all those words, stood up, sat down, and swayed in all the right places. Our Do-Do’s were perky. There were no Shepherd’s Pies to be heard, no sandals in the window, and no nicking of Irn Bru in ‘Walking in the Air’.

 

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The audience were amazed by our ’12 Days of Christmas’

 

It was a long and fully packed day at the Sage, but we managed to get through fortified by coffee and eating our own body weight in Christmas treats. The fun started shortly after registration, when we headed up to the glass-fronted Barbour Room where we would be camping out for the day. Two altos had managed to lock themselves inside the room, and couldn’t work out how to get out. They waved back at us as we shouted ‘press the button’ – disappeared for a bit, then came back waving – again we shouted, again they disappeared – this continued for a short while until our charades-like miming of ‘press the button’ actually registered. They greeted us as we entered and pointed at the button they had ‘found’, then both wandered off trying to remember last minute words and also where they had last been sitting.

The dress rehearsal started before lunch (about 10am Inspiration-time). We marvelled at the orchestra, ooh-ed and ahh-ed at the strings, and became transfixed by watching the Royal Northern Sinfonia and Gary at work.

During the rehearsal we had an intellectual conversation about the different instruments in the orchestra. We could identify the harp, violins, trumpets, flutes but then our expertise began to peter out. ‘What do you call that big thing that he has there?’ I said pointing at a man with a horn-like horny thing. ‘Erm it’s a Oompah-phone?’ – NO. ‘A Stylophone?’ – NO. ‘A Bassoon?’ – NO they are straight with twiddly bits. So it went on. Now I’ve got a confession to make here, because someone made a suggestion which I thought even sillier than the initial Oompah-phone. Margy said it was a Sousaphone, which I’ve just Googled only to find it is a real instrument. Sorry! Anyway I think we decided in the end it was a Tuba, but might have been a Sousaphone 😉

 

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A horn-like horny thing

 

The rehearsal was so slick and smooth that we didn’t want to jinx it continued straight into Act 2 without a break. We discovered that in ‘Hark in the Herald Angels Sing’ we wouldn’t be able to look at one another, as it was a definite ‘lip wobbler’. In ‘Let the Song Begin’ the jazzy bit, I got a wave of emotion which reminded me of how uplifting it can be to sing with Inspiration. In ‘O Come O Come Emmanuel’ which I ended up loving, the wave of emotion was different, a mild-panic about being exposed for not knowing the words; previously I needed about 20 minutes between the 2nd and 3rd verses to get the words right.

Although Gary was very pleased with the rehearsal, he gave us some reminders about support and stage etiquette.

 

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Don’t fiddle during the concert

 

We were then free to roam and eat more chocolates. There was more action in the alto camp, when two altos went out for a leisurely stroll across the blinking eye Millennium Bridge; then had to do a Quayside dash back to the Sage after the bridge tilted and blocked their swift route back for the performance. In that time the more sedate altos had got involved in bling-gate, as we got together to discuss what is classed as too sparkly; this was followed by frantic turning of dresses inside out, and finally swapping of spare dresses to fit the clothing etiquette rules.

 

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Nee bling if ya want ta sing

 

Just before the matinee performance started, back stage there was a bit of a panic as we couldn’t remember the order of the line up. There was lots of arm waving and stage whispers of ‘I’m sure I wasn’t standing next to you’, but we got there in the end and filed onto the stage correctly.

I loved singing in the matinee performance and felt the joy of singing again with Inspiration. In ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’ it felt like we were pulling together as a big team with a we’ll get through this together attitude, and boy did it pay off! I’d been close to giving up and singing the tune in that one, but I got there in the end.

My overall favourite was the ‘Shepherd’s Pipe Carol’ as from my position on the stage, between sopranos on my left and tenors behind me, I could hear the mix of voices in the ‘angels brought this message’ and each time it took my breath away. This along with ’12 Days’ was one I thought I’d never get right, I kept getting brain-freeze at the words.

 

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Is it far or is he there?

But it all came together nicely in the end.

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Dance and sing for joy

 

I didn’t stay to sing in the evening performance, but I sat at home and watched all the congratulatory posts on Facebook. It’s a marathon day and as I’ve had problems with my back, it would be too much for me to do both performances. But I was pleased and proud to be part of the day for one performance.

This term has flown by and I can’t believe it’ll be Christmas soon. Thanks to Gary, Sue and Mark for all your hard work; plus of course Santa’s little helpers Mallory, Sheila, Jill and Lindsay.

I saw Facebook posts that the Leeds concert was also a great success, and I believe it is Manchester Inspiration’s turn tomorrow. Southampton too have their concert soon, in fact it might be right now as I write this. I hope it all goes well to our ever-expanding Inspiration family.

Best wishes to all Inspiration singers and God Bless Us Everyone.

See you soon.

Lorraine x

carol singers

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The last rehearsal

8 Dec

Hi everyone

 

The last rehearsal

As the concert is on Sunday I’m not going to write much today. After all I don’t want to run out of things to say. So it was our last rehearsal and we had a small audience, seated on the balcony to watch our efforts. They were appreciative of our singing, and it was nice to hear their applause. As we gave a full run through of the concert we all got to check out our word learning and erm ‘knowledge gaps’. The main thing I learnt was don’t wear a Christmas jumper and stand for 2 hours next to a hot radiator, whilst also trying to perky-do-do and wrestle with Frosty.

 

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Even if I say so myself. I was one hot alto 🙂

 

See you early on Sunday morning.

Have a great concert day.

Lorraine x

sleigh_e0

 

Tweak Week

3 Dec

Hi

Well already it’s the penultimate rehearsal, where has the time gone. We started rehearsals working on our support and practising diaphragmatic breathing with some ‘Vvvvt’ exercises. I struggled with where to feel (on myself) to check I was doing it right. I obviously wasn’t, because at one point all I could feel was the underside of my bra wire. My alto pal next to me was having the same kind of problems, so we had a bit of a snigger about that.

 
Pretending to be the opera singer from the cartoon Tom and Jerry produced better results, and I was able to feel the difference. I find if I’m not using my support correctly, in the high notes it goes up into my throat and gives me a croaky voice. This is one of the reasons I’ve had to skip some numbers whilst singing in the car, and probably why I know some better than others. After a morning commute with ‘For To Us A Child Is Born’ I turn up to work with a voice somewhere between Hilary Devey from Dragon’s Den and Coronation Street’s Phyllis Pearce. So I stick to what I know and stay low.

Once fully supported we did some lovely ‘amens’ from ‘The Lord Bless You and Keep You’. We did this a few times to make them stick, although at one point the ‘amens’ got a bit chaotic and were compared to be cries of Animal the drummer in The Muppets. Remember him?

AH..MEN

 
We boldly sang through ‘The 12 Days of Christmas ‘ without books (correct Alto part optional). We high-fived each other and whooped at the end, not only because we survived it but because it wasn’t too bad. Marks on a scale of Lords a-leaping to a partridge in a pear tree, was about a maid a-milking.

This being tweak week we worked on lots of little bits, and fixed oohs and aahs as we went. Some numbers such as ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’ and ‘O Come O Come Emmanuel’ were left alone for fear of flooding through incessant hanky wringing.

Tweak week has given me some points to twerk work on. Not too many so I’m quite chuffed with that. Although I’m finding the verses in ‘O Come O Come Emmanuel’ really difficult to learn, anyone else finding this?

See you all next week for the last rehearsal.

Keep twerking – you’ll definitely need support for doing that 😜.

Lorraine x

Ps. Who’s bringing Christmas goodies for concert day? Mince pie for breakfast anyone? Mince pie for break, ooh and for lunch too don’t mind if I do.

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