Now that it’s getting slightly milder the door and the windows are open more often. On a good night, and most of them are, there are about forty of us in the room so it gets a little warm. Outside the birds compete or attempt to join in - I’ not sure which. I often wonder what the residents of the Ordsall estate who live near to the Everyone Centre make of this sound they hear every Tuesday evening. We hope they enjoy it and have their windows open too.
Jeff is pushing us hard. But good. We’re ready for that. We seem to learn new songs more quickly now. We really can’t survive without working at least little between Tuesday night sessions. We’ve mastered The Long and Winding Road quite rapidly and brought it out in the recent performance at the Victoria Baths. Okay, it’s not the hardest song we’ve ever learnt but it isn’t the easiest either.
It isn’t just the singing, though. That’s almost the easy bit - we have some good voices, experienced singers and enthusiastic newcomers. We also work regularly on diction, phrasing, vowel sounds, facial expressions and presence. Every rehearsal starts anyway with the all-important breathing and voice warm up.
It pays off, this attention to detail. Our diction has been praised by judges at the Buxton Fringe and the MACC. I now notice some quite prestigious singers putting the last consonant of one word on the opening vowel of the next and it makes me cringe – then smirk. We know as well that when we brighten our eyes the singing sounds and feels better.
It is quite hard, however, when you try to remember everything at once: the words, where notes go up or down unexpectedly, to watch Jeff, to tell the story and to brighten your eyes. Jeff pulls a face and you think. Oh no, he means me. Thankfully in the break you find out that everyone had had that thought.
Ah, the breaks. News, tea and chat. And of course, Kerry’s cakes which get better and better when they were excellent to start with.All the fun aside, rehearsals have been serious business with several new songs coming into our repertoire, some older ones being polished up and several recordings being made. Hard work. We wouldn’t be without it, though.