“You’ve got to imagine you can put a pencil in the gap,” says Jeff. “Everybody’s mouth should be exactly the same shape.” It’s one of our next steps. The diction, the musical sound and the phrasing are coming along nicely. Now we’re sharpening vowel sounds and getting some brightness. We need good clear “ohs” and “ahs” with tight round lips and yawned-open mouths. Out with the “eees” and “eeuhahs”. The former happens sometimes if you try to smile with your mouth and sing at the same time, the latter when you don’t hit and hold the note. The smile must be in the eyes and in the sound as you sing at the top of your mouth. Advanced stuff, this.
I’m reminded as a former language teacher of trying to get learners of German to pronounce the “o” properly. This could be a matter of imagining a Hula Hoop or Polo Mint in the gap the lips make. The “ű” was just as challenging – like whistling without pushing the air.
We continue sharpening up our repertoire and polishing the newer songs. Now that we are getting more gigs we need some newer material. It’s quite a balance – enough performances to make it matter but not too many that we can’t have the rest of our lives nor have time enough to rehearse.
One solution perhaps was our performance at the Eye Hospital in Manchester. We performed, in our black with a touch of purple, to the small select audience of the evening’s footfall. It was a dress rehearsal as well for our forthcoming performances, including the one now completed at Dunham Massey. Though the audience was small it was appreciative.
By the way, we could do with a few more male tenors and bases. Any willing chaps reading this? Get in touch if you’re interested!