So here we are again. As usual there’s an air of excitement and anticipation as coaches pull up outside the Royal Northern College of Music for the MACC and the choirs pour in. Barbara, our flower girl, sits near the entrance. No one will get past her without picking up their purple flower.
Chairman Chris spots the café opening and several of us manage to get our extra caffeine shot before the queue builds.
“There’s a lot of black,” says Barbara. Well yes there is. It is a popular colour for choirs. It neutralises us. The last thing a choir member wants to do is stand out. Anyway, the black is often accompanied by something else. A pink scarf, a yellow tie, a lapel-less jacket in a bright colour. Not to mention the purple flowers. There are even daffodils for the Welsh choir. St David’s day is tomorrow, after all. The few choirs who don’t wear black do have a uniform.
The pre-performance rehearsal is almost as exciting as the performance itself.
“Something just clicked,” says Jeff s we’re part way through Somewhere. I think we all felt it.
Soon we’re performing. Lullaby, our first number, seems to go down well. We take the judges by surprise and possibly delight them by moving down from the risers to be nearer them and the audience for Royals and Buttercup. Are we trend-setters? Virtually all of the choirs seem to do something different for their third and fourth songs.
All too soon our performance is over but then we can relax and go to the auditorium and listen to the others. An old friend, Steve Campbell, a former bass, sits just in front of us. “Congratulations,” he says. “That was superb.”
Late, when the judges pronounce, they say that the entries were better than ever this year. I have to agree. We watch for six hours and don’t notice the time. It is so clear that every single choir has worked hard, are really disciplined and love what they do. This is familiar territory.
The Chanterelles, a group of young women from Leicestershire win. We can’t complain about that. They are technically superb and very disciplined yet entertain as well.