Community Spirit

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Five public houses, one private house and a Christmas tree…. What do they have in common? We went Carol singing around them with the Penkhull Mystery singers last night.

From wassail songs, Latin carols, ancient hyms and fairytail of New York… We sang so much last night. Its becoming a local tradition to visit all the hostelries to sing to the locals and collect funds for the Penkhull Mystery play in the summer. Its a difficult way of doing it because it relies on the number of people in the pubs and we outnumbered everybody in each of the pubs. But it was fun! Singing the Holly and the Ivy in four part harmony, or Good King Wenseslas with the men and women split into parts. And we sounded good. We are becoming more balanced as a choir. More choral.

After the New Year the choir splits back up. It’s made up of members of two Choirs and other members who just get together for this. But the cameraderie will remain.

I’m looking forward to next year when we do it all again.

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It’s over

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After 5 days and 6 performances we finished singing with the play Beautiful thing tonight. We did two performances today and I’m shattered. We have had a great time though. The choir was accepted by the cast and crew of the play and the New Vic theatre staff. I think we had a wonderful welcome and great support throughout the run.

Now the play is off to Lancaster to run for a week up there. They will be joined by a new community choir. It would be good to go up and see the actual play (we only saw the bits when we were on stage). It had come up from Bristol after a run down there.

So what next? Back to normal. One of the choirs I’m in (Loud Mouth women) is celebrating its 20th anniversary with two musical workshops and a party. Then normal choir practice with Clay chorus the following night.

I’m staggered at how much singing we have done. But it’s been a blast.

Review

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Well we are doing it. Singing to accompany the cast of Beautiful thing. Clay Chorus and some of Loud Mouth women led by Greg Stephens and Kate Barfield. Here I am with the cast members playing Jamie and Ste. I have to say we are having a good time now people are getting over their nerves. We are half way through a run of 6 performances so that’s why I’m not on social media as much. Here is a link to the review of the play .

https://www.stokesentinel.co.uk/whats-on/music-nightlife/review-beautiful-thing-new-vic-2167300

I hope you can follow it.

It’s on at the new victoria theatre, Basford  Newcastle-under-Lyme until Saturday.

Tech rehearsal…

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We got here today and have been busy sitting around for a lot of the time, interspersed with standing around on the stage being set in position, then singing as loudly and brightly as we can for our songs. I’m shattered, I hope I can keep my energy up for the performance.

To be honest I’m actually enjoying being fitted for a costume (a tee shirt). I brought my own silly blingy jewellery to wear. I’ve actually got some stuff from the 1990s which I was given one Christmas.

The play is called Beautiful Thing at the New Vic theatre at Basford, Newcastle-under-Lyme. Performances run till Saturday and start at 7.30pm.

The play is about the blossoming relationship between two teenage boys. It is set in 1993 and we are singing music by Mama Cass and hits from the 1990s. I hope I don’t break my leg

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Awake

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I went to bed two hours early (the clocks changed on Sunday night to Greenwich mean time). So now I’m awake…it’s just after 5 am. I was shattered from rehearsing for two seperate things I’m in (only a choir member in one, and three lines in the other as well as singing in the chorus) nothing impressive, but it all takes time to learn. Somehow the rehearsals ended up on the same day, one an hour after the other. So came home, grabbed a sandwich and went out again.

Rehearsing for things can be boring, a lot of standing around if you have a minor part, or full on if you are singing to accompany a show and also going into the acting space. At one stage we have to try and intimidate the audience!

So…..I’m awake and buzzing. I’ve just had a decaff coffee, oh for the joys of cocoa..I will have to buy some. The songs we are singing are spinning, spinning, round in my head oh what a poor soul.

I’m going back to bed and hope to Dream a little dream…sounds like I still have a bit of teen spirit despite my age! Then of course I might shoop in my sleep instead of snoring as I still have this cold ? I would write some more clues to the songs we are singing, but I have forgotten…..a bit if late night/early morning amnesia I think…

Rehearsing again tonight for this weeks show..oh joy!

Choir

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I sing in a couple of choirs, one which is all female and the other which is a mixed choir. Both of them are acappella, which means unaccompanied by a musical instrument, except perhaps to give us our starting notes.

Summer time is when we do most of our gigs. Both choirs have things coming up. The mixed choir is singing locally this weekend, we will be singing for about 50 minutes, so we need to know a variety of songs. The gig on Saturday will be mostly Summer songs, for instance, “Summer is a coming in”. Some of us know the songs off by heart, and others will be using song sheets.

Both choirs repetoirs are very varied, the female choir knows more international songs like “Meliswe” which is Hoza I think? We also do Maori, French, Creole, Croatian, among many other songs.

I have to say singing in a choir can be wonderful when we get it right, and sometimes a real struggle while we are learning a peice. Recently we sang with another choir (a lung health choir) at a production of a play for four nights. We were singing to add atmosphere to the play, and we sang an arrangement of “cloudbusting” by Kate Bush, over and over again. 12 times on one night! This was while the audience were being led round the auditorium and getting the spooky, cold feeling of the place (we were at an old chapel that is being restored and it was probably the coldest May for years).

The female choir is doing a walkabout in a few weeks round the town centre, singing and then moving on. Our normal choir leader is away on that day so some of us are taking responsibility to lead the choir. It’s not something most of us have ever done. So if you see some confused women singing out of key….it might be us!