Bigger than last year the MACC concert is still relaxed and intimate though St Peter's Chaplaincy is almost full. We welcome Bristol Show Choir, Rossendale Male Voice Choir, Surrey Hills Chamber Choir, The Dales Community Pop and Show Choir and Crystal Chords. Choirs make great audiences for choirs. We're all pleased, though, that there are other people there as well.
"It's so nice to perform without the pressure of a competition," was the refrain.
Even within this sample of just six choirs there is such variety and each one is a delight to listen to and watch. There is energy, control, clear sounds, precise harmony, professionalism and fun.
Sunday comes and now there are nineteen choirs. As ever the RNCM is buzzing. Colourful costumes dazzle us. Choirs are ushered in and out of rehearsal spaces and green rooms, then on and off stage. Everyone's a little bit nervous and very excited. It all runs like clockwork. Volunteers aid and control us. There is another big event taking place. This building works well.
We perform early on. Our three very different pieces work well for us and we rather take the judges by surprise as first of all we move down to be closer to them for our last song and then, on the very last line, our male tenors storm their desk to deliver "Tell me you do!"
Each choir is given feedback straight after their performance. The three judges take it in turns. They give us all some positive notes first and then tell us what we can do to improve. I suspect for the latter they're highlighting what will make the biggest difference for next time. They have a hard job. Hours of concentration. The standard goes up each year. Every choir that we managed to watch had lots of good points.
As the afternoon draws to a close the auditorium gets fuller and fuller. The atmosphere electrifies. Those who have to wait longest to perform have the compensation of a full and totally engaged audience.
The variety is delightful. What a nice way of spending a Sunday – performing together with friends, having lunch together and then relaxing and watching lots of good singers.
Well done to the winners and runners up!
It is over all too soon.
Roll on 2019.