Friday 25 July 2014

Singing for Joey: The People's Premiere of War Horse, 23 July 2014

Suddenly there is the unmistakable noise of a horse’s hooves behind us. We’re singing in a gallery so this might be surprising. Yet we’re kind of expecting it. A change in the expression on the faces of the sopranos and basses, and the delight in the eyes of the guests arriving confirm that he’s here. The star of the show, Joey, has come out to greet us all.  

War Horse has returned to the Lowry and 23 July saw the People’s Premiere taking place. The premiere was for the good people of Salford. Since we’re the Ordsall Acappella Singers, and Ordsall is very much part of Salford, in fact backing right on to the Quays, this was all so very appropriate. We felt honoured to be asked to sing as guests arrived.
The most moving moment comes as we all change places, still singing, to line up into three parts to sing Only Remembered. We’re led into it be a strong bass solo. All belief is now suspended: Joey is real. He fidgets a little, his ears prick up and he cocks his head slightly to one side as if this animal – yes, animal - understands a little that this song is something to do with him.                                 
We’re very much the background entertainment for the rest of the session. So we sing appropriate songs with a firm emotional content such as Goodnight My Someone, Blue Skies, Wonderful World  and Deep River, also I’ve Got Rhythm (rhythm is also important to the horse!), Tears in Heaven and Here, There and Everywhere / Long Winding Road. As some folk come up on the escalator they join in and a loyal band of fans on the other side applaud every song.  Thank you!
We wish War Horse every success in its new run at the Lowry. And thank you, Michael Morpurgo, for creating the story.      
Here are some of us, raring to go.

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