What does that even mean?!
It’s been a long time since we’ve shared our singing in public and as we head towards one of our biggest gigs I thought I’d talk a little bit about it.
Proms in the park is one of our favourite events. Our friends and family in our town listening to us singing our sings – it’s quite an event.
But how do we prepare for these gigs?
We have sung the songs. We have learned the harmonies. We have talked about performance style and movement. What else is there to do!?
Actually, singing outside can be quite a challenge. Odds on, you’re not stood next to some of the people you’re used to standing with so it sounds different. If it’s windy, it can really make listening to singers and indeed the backing track very difficult indeed! There are usually less of us singing at gigs than in rehearsal and yet it’s still plenty of voices, just possibly a little different. (As of right now, we have 80 singers marked attending on our Facebook event) How can you prepare for these things?
We don’t allow lyrics on stage. It looks rubbish – like you can’t be bothered to learn your words and of course, you HAVE learned them. But possibly not all of them! There are 79 other voices to help you through. I am right there conducting, miming and helping wherever I can. If you find learning words tricky, there are various ways of helping depending on what style of learner you are! You can find out here:
Some people choose to listen to songs repeatedly. Some will read the words at the same time as listening. Some will write the words out. You might even create some sort of story to go with what’s happening in the song. Some people draw little prompts picture on their lyrics.
Of course, we’d all love to get all of the words right but actually, what’s more important is the feeling of the song. I would much rather we sang happily and slightly less accurately than miserably and perfectly correctly in terms of words.
We’ve been learning the harmonies over and over again. If you want to catch up, there are harmonies on this website which you can search for! There’s even a category in the main menu called ‘Harmonies’ (Vicky has me well trained) – a good way to practice your harmonies it to sing along with the guide track of just your colour and then once you feel more confident, sing your part again the mix of all the guide tracks together. On the day, if you veer off your harmony, it’s likely that you’ll go over to the tune or the harmony that’s nearest to you. It’s not a sackable offence and is unlikely that anyone would even notice (possibly not even me). Some singers get together to learn their parts together – make it fun! Let it be a social event.
So, you’ve practiced your words and your harmonies. Great. What else can you do!? Have a look in the mirror to see how you stand. Sing to yourself in the mirror (I know some of you would rather eat your own arm than do this) and see how you move. Smile at yourself. (This is essential).
Pre-gig, on the day, I conduct the whole set in real time to myself in the mirror. This way, I know the iPod playlist is right, it’s the right version of everything and I imagine you’re right there in my living room singing with me. It’s a bit of a ritual for me. It settles me down and gives me confidence. Do share your confidence boosting tricks!
On the day, please take note of the weather! So much sunburn from the Ukrainian gig! We wear our choir t shirts (or plain black if we don’t have one) and black bottoms (trousers, jeans, leggings, skirt, tutu). We will meet half an hour earlier so we can warm up, share happiness and get excited together!
If you’re new to choir and don’t feel confident to sing in public just yet, then there’s no pressure to do so. There will be other gigs (Portello at the end of July is much less formal) and you’re welcome to come and watch and see how we all get on!
The main thing is to enjoy the gig. We are an excellent choir, we have worked hard and practiced lots.
We are ready.
I look at this more as a sharing of what we love rather than a formal concert. Lots of people see us sing and immediately want to join us to get that sense of joy. I’m so looking forward to sharing everything we are singing with West Bridgford. Thank you for being a part of it.