Sunday 23 July 2023

A Cappella and Cake back on the menu at Buxton Fringe


Yes, it’s official. The “and cake” is back in our repertoire.  And what a spread it was at St Mary’s yesterday in Buxton. It all looked lovely and certainly the piece of ginger cake with lemony icing I enjoyed was delicious.   

We’ve been going to the Buxton Fringe since 2010, though of course we were unable to visit in 2020 and 2021.

We usually have glorious weather but yesterday it rained pretty well all of the day.  I was reminded of that very first time, back in 2010. In earlier years we used to busk at The Palace Hotel, and a little around the town, then have the concert at St Mary’s in the afternoon.  We were not very well known that first year, though our efforts around the town were appreciated.  Then just before three o’clock there was a cloud burst. The carnival and fun fair were taking place just around the corner and people rushed to the church for shelter …. And we had an audience.

Yesterday, by contrast, I began to worry that we might overfill the church.

Our morning concert was still Simply A Cappella. Another performer was coming in at 12.00 so there wouldn’t be time to do cake and tea. We actually wanted o tome to Buxton on 16 July but were unable to book the United Reformed Church. Note to self.  Book venues for 2024 next week.  

The Purple Room at this small church, a short walk from the High Street is a very pleasant space. It can actually seat 85 but a smaller audience doesn’t look lost.  We didn’t have to worry about that though; there were only a few seats left.  And the seats are very comfortable.  

St Mary’s is a completely different sort of space, with a different but equally effective acoustic.   We’ve are always very  welcome and we are grateful to our friend s from St Mary’ who yesterday  helped us set up, made the tea, set out the cakes and helped to clear up at the end.  A great joint effort.

Naturally, the music is even more important than the cake, or whether or not we have an audience,  and we certainly enjoyed singing in both concerts.

We split our repertoire into loose themes this year: blessing, peace, ones we know and love and new material. Various choir members said a little about each section. One of our members reminded us that one of the reasons we enjoy coming to this festival is because of the gorgeous scenery we see on the way. Yes, it was lovely even in the rain.  

Then, the magic happened again.  There really is something rather special about working with another twenty or so other singers to get as balanced and as beautiful a sound as possible. You’re suddenly grateful for all the hard work Jeff puts us through every Tuesday.  It is hard work, but it is also a heap of fun. That ratchets up on both counts when we have the privilege of performing in such a lovely festival.   

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