Thursday 18 July 2024

Inner Space, 15 July 2024


 

We are excited at the moment and really looking forward to our two concerts as part of the Buxton Festival Fringe, so it’s probably quite appropriate that we took part in the Inner Space event held at the Friends Meeting House, Mount Street on Monday 15 July. It brought us some focus.

We sang two sets: one at the beginning of the evening and one at the end as the participants came forward to receive a gift of sweets and a small card with a message of affirmation. We received such gifts, too.  

For the rest of the evening we were actual participants of the main event. We were invited to listen to the gentle and wise words of Sister Jayanti, participate in two meditations and calm that inner space which is the most effective starting point for change. This is something rare and strange for most of us. And yet, the next evening at our regular rehearsal, several choir members who’d attended commented on how well they’d slept the night before and how mentally and emotionally refreshed they felt.

Sister Jayanti had the measure of us. “It’s the way you work together and the way you support each other that counts.” Is that what makes the magic work? Yes we must sing the right words,  in the right order, open our mouths,  and know when to look at our MD and when to look at others in the choir or in the audience and even know how to recover from a mistake but it is that intuitive cooperation that brings an extra dimension. That harmony with each other and with Jeff, and not just in musical terms, though that is naturally important.   

Two days later I would discuss with a fellow committee member what our USP (unique selling point) might be. Our strap line is “Singing form the Heart of Salford”. “Heart” is emphasised in the graphic. Does this need a tweak? Should it be “Singing from the heart in Salford”? 

 

We’re singing a few songs at the moment that might be very appropriate for the troubled times we live in: Grant Us Peace, Deep Peace, Oh Earth Loving Mother, Colours of the Wind, Cool Moon, Deep in the Night and even some covers of popular songs bring the sort of affirmation that Inner Space offer: Love is the Sweetest Thing, Make You Feel My Love, Why Walk When You Can Fly and   Everything I Do. Several featured on Monday evening – including some of the covers.      

And is this a good omen? The photo of us that Inner Space used to advertise the event shows us outside St Mary’s church another time at Buxton

It was a magical evening and as ever good to perform together. Inner Space, thank you for having us.                     

Tuesday 25 June 2024

Friends and Family Concert 23 June 2024

 



And didn’t we have fun.

“So we have an audience?”

We’re in the car park and it’s warm enough for us to get out of our cars and chat.

A few choir members and a few of our audience have arrived early because there was a little worry that the carnival at Prestwich might have held up the traffic. It didn’t. By 2.45 pm a solid choir and a very respectable audience have already assembled.

And there is plenty of cake. There is a mountain of cake. Making and eating cake is our second best activity after enjoying our singing.

This so reminds me of the Koffikonzerts I used to attend when we lived in Holland. You paid the price of a coffee and a slice of cake – usually apple cake in that case – and you got the coffee and cake as well as a very good concert.

So, £5.00 not bad for a brew, some cake and a concert?

The emphasis is on “friends and family” and it is all very relaxed.

We work through our repertoire which contains some old favourites like The Water is Wide, I Say a Little Prayer and Love is the Sweetest Thing. And there are also newer items such as Why Walk if You Can Fly, Make You Feel My love and O Earth Loving Mother. Of course we also think of nature with Cool Moon and Colours of the Wind.

Jeff tells our audience that we’re going to sing a couple of songs that might touch our troubled world.  “It probably won’t make any difference to what you hear on the news,” he says. “But we hope it will do something.” 

So, we also sing Deep Peace and Grant Us Peace. Both the door to the Studio and the outer door are open. Are these songs going out into the world? Will they make a difference?  

An hour slips by without us noticing.

Our audience is lovely. It’s good to chat to them afterwards. Some of us are curious about how much people might enjoy listening to a choir like ours. We enjoy singing and I do like watching and listening to other choirs but part of the enjoyment of that comes from knowing what the process is.

“You get better every time,” says one of our visitors.  We hope we do; it’s what we aim for.

Their daughter, one of our altos, rolls her eyes and says “They say that every time.”

“I think they mean it though,” I reply.

We are very pleased with the GoChurch studio as a place to rehearse and perform. It was such a fun concert.

And so what’s up next?

Buxton of course. Shall we see you there?    


 

Tuesday 18 June 2024

We Invented the Weekend 2024

 


 

Sunday 16 June found us once more down at the Salford Quays, helping to celebrate one of Salford’s achievements.

The weekend was invented in Greater Manchester in 1843 when Salford Lyceum Director and workers’ rights activist Robert Lowes (also Sir Ian McKellen’s Great Grandfather) campaigned to win workers the right to leisure time on Saturday afternoons.

So there we were, on Sunday afternoon celebrating with hundreds, maybe thousands of other people, despite a miserable summer. There were so many activities to choose from.

“We’ll only do songs we’re confident with,” said Jeff.

So that’s what we did. We did include a newish one, Make You Feel My Love.

We performed at 15.25. I’d actually been on the Quays since 11.30, on other business, and I chatted to a lady form Age UK as we listened to another choir.

“Do you do rock numbers like this?” she asked.  Well, yes we do. See above. But we do all sorts of other things as well. I realised as we chatted that that is one of the things we appreciate – the variety in what we do.

We had an appreciative audience.

Jeff pointed out where we rehearse a couple of times. “You can almost see it from here,” he said. Yes you could. Go Church, where we rehearse is perhaps ten minutes away if you walk slowly.

We gave out some leaflets. Will we have more opportunities to sing or gain new members?

It was a squeeze on the stage but we did have mics. Having seen another choir about the same size as ours earlier in the day I was able to reassure people that it would work.

The weather in the end was kind. Although it pelted down as I changed from bus to tram in Whitefield, as my tram drew in at Media City the sun came out and pretty well stayed out. Although the breeze remained cool there was a hint of summer in the afternoon.  In fact for us that is probably better than it being too hot.

And it was nice enough to enjoy outside a beverage from the Seven Brothers’ Stand. Seven Brothers is another Salford success. A drink always tastes better after an enjoyable performance.

Next up: our concert on 23 June. Will you be there?                  


       

Wednesday 1 May 2024

Buxton with a New Twist

 

We’re off to Buxton again on 20 July and this time there’s a bit of twist. We’re trying to get some funding from Ticket Source, the company that handles our on-line ticket sales.


 

Ordsall Acappella Singers


Ordsall Acappella Singers started as a community project engaging the locals of Ordsall and persuading them to sing. Over fifteen years later, countless concerts, competitions, a number of competition wins, songs and rehearsals we have a choir that can perform at any occasion. Now a registered charity, we aim to foster the love of choral music by encouraging people to join us and sing with us and by providing enjoyable performances for the local and the wider community. Often we are able to support other organisations with fund-raising efforts by singing at their events.    

 

 

Event name

Simply Acappella (and cake)

We are offering two concerts on 20 July 2024 as part of the Buxton Fringe Festival:

·         10.30 am at the United Reformed Church, Hardwick Square East, Buxton SK17 6PT 

·         3.00 pm at St Mary’s Church, Dale Road, Buxton SK17 6NL (This one with cake!)

We certainly enjoy singing and we aim to spread that joy to our audiences, maybe challenging them to get involved in singing themselves. In fact, it’s certain; there will be some audience participation. 

Our repertoire will be a mixture of old favourites and some of the much newer material we’ve been rehearsing recently.  Our singers will include those who have been going to Buxton since 2010 and newer choir members who have joined us in recent months.

You can book tickets here: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/ordsallsingers

 

What will the funds be used for?

In order to cover the cost of our event we have to had to charge for tickets. We are aware that this may exclude some participants – those on low incomes, those living with disability, those in full time education and disadvantaged community members.  We would like to be able to offer such community members a free ticket.

 

How will your event strengthen you community?

Listening to and joining in singing are uplifting activities that can enhance mental health.  Activities of this nature are very much needed at the moment and probably particularly by that section of the community we seek to support. Supplying free tickets will make us more inclusive and remove some of the barriers to participation, thus helping to ensure that the whole community is represented.  It leads towards a happier and healthier community.    

If you would like to support us in this you can do so by voting for our event at: https://ticketsource.wishpondpages.com/ticketsource-community-fund-2024/entries/205495614

Thursday 21 December 2023

Final Performance of 2023: Moorside Unit, Trafford General Hospital, 19 December 2023

Can you spot the title of our newest Christmas song in the picture?

It’s all Christmas jumpers, tinsel and fairy lights as we offer our Christmas repertoire of well-known carols, lesser known carols and popular Christmas songs. Some of them with unusual arrangements. We add to the mix a few songs that people might know from our normal repertoire.  

We visited the unit twice in 2022 and were given a very warm welcome. No less so this time. It’s so good to see staff and patients alike joining in the ones they know and moving in time to the ones they’ve not met before.  

We perform twice: once to the older residents and once to the younger folk. We’re stopped after the first song to the second group.

“Is it all right if we make a video?” asks our host. Of course it is.     

Tuesday is our normal rehearsal night.  Why not go to the unit and sing there instead, suggested one of our altos who works there. A very good idea indeed.   

We’re encouraged to practise between rehearsals and everything to make that easy is provided for us in Drop Box.  But as there are no more Christmas performances, we should really now start concentrating on our other repertoire,

Here’s a thing, though. Classic FM is full of Christmas carols and other Christmas songs at the moment. And I’ve even heard there the same arrangement of White Christmas as we use.   

Note to self: find out when Jeff is doing his 2024 Christmas song workshops and get them in the diary early.  

So, all there is to do now this year is, as in our newest Christmas song, to say that we want to wish you a merry Christmas.

And of course a happy new year.

New Year’s resolution = join a choir? We start up again on 2 January 7 pm, at GoChurch, Dallas Court,Media City.               

Monday 18 December 2023

Singing for the Friends of Buile Hill Park 17 December 2023

 

 

There’s something rather special about this park, particularly on a December afternoon when the sun is already quite low and the sky is mottled grey, white and pink with the hint that the sun is shining somewhere.

It’s not particularly cold but it’s not that warm either: cosy hats, Christmas jumpers, and knitted scarves are all justified. The hot tea and mince pies are very welcome.     

We have a good audience: the Friends and their friends, some of our friends, and passers-by in the park.      

“It wouldn’t be Christmas if we didn’t sing a few carols for you,” I say to one of the organisers. “We love coming here.”  We do.  Well, we have had this event on our books for most of the year but as soon as it was announced a good portion of the choir signed up for it, even though this can be a busy weekend for everyone, the one just before Christmas.

We sing some of our favourites: Coventry Carol, Carol of the Bells, Going to Bethlehem, White Christmas, Hail Smiling Morn alongside such traditional carols as Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Away in a Manger  Silent Night and .Oh Little Town of Bethlehem  It is good to see people joining in the those carols and another of our favourites A Holly Jolly Christmas.

Now then, if you’re one of those people who joined in …. Are you busy on Tuesday evenings? If not, why not come and join us. See details here.

We’re persuaded to do an encore and we’re surprised to present another old favourite but this time not a Christmas one…. .   Everything I do ….     

Just a note, though, here and excuse the pun. I’m talking about favourites but if I’m truthful I don’t really have them; once I know a song and feel comfortable with it, I love it. I suspect it’s true for most of us.  

From where we stand to sing we can see the contours of the park. After all, it is Buile Hill Park. That and

some well-established trees and shrubs make it very picturesque indeed. Just behind us are some pretty terraced houses. It is getting darker but isn’t quite time to draw the curtains yet. Lights shine on to the street.

 

We’ve had a lovely time. Thank you for having us again.

Friday 24 November 2023

Magical Salford

 

It takes our breath away as we walk into the main room at GoChurch, Media City.  This space is even bigger that the room next door, the one in which we rehearse every Tuesday evening. From the outside the building looks quite industrial, but as you walk through the doors – wow!

There’s a Christmas tree, of course.  Lights stream down from a central point in the ceiling and make the space look a little like a huge circus tent. The lighting is atmospheric. Tables are prettily laid ready to present guests with a two course meal. And the diners are being served prosecco as they arrive. Christmas music plays in the background.   

It’s so appropriate that it looks like magic because the real magic happens at the hands of the invited guests.  This is a celebration meal for the people of the Salford Food Bank. In fact, it’s more than magic; it’s a miracle. The work they do is so important.    

We have time for a quick warm-up next door, and then it’s into the main room and we become the background music. We start off with a couple of Christmas carols and then we sing along to what we call our Christmas karaoke tape – it has such old favourites as Jingle Bell Rock, Frosty the Snowman and Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree. And oh yes, we spot one or two people joining in.  You must be local. Are you free on Tuesdays between 7.00 and 9.00 pm? Why not come along and see if we suit you? It really is fun, you know.

Soon it’s time for the meal to begin and we move away from the stage as they all say Grace  and then eat.

“There’s plenty of food,” says one of our hosts. “Do have some.”

I enjoy a delicious vegetarian chilli with rice.

Those who have come by public transport can even enjoy a glass of prosecco or Buck’s Fizz.

Then it’s time for us to sing again and this time we’re fully a cappella. There are the well-known carols – O Come Al Ye Faithfull, Away in a Manger, Once in Royal David’s City and O Little Town of Bethlehem. There are also a couple of our favourites: Carol of the Bells and Coventry Carol, as well as the more secular Holly Jolly and White Christmas.Amongst others.

A sort of Christmas uniform has evolved. Some of us wear jumpers and Christmas lights. Others stay with the all black but liven it up with our custom purple Christmas hats, tinsel and more lights. 


 

Thank you for having us, Salford Food Bank.  We had fun. We trust you did too.