It was our first performance of the Autumn season today – the switch-on of the Christmas lights in West Bridgford. I have to confess that I wasn’t looking forward to it on the drive down – heavy fog and torrential rain aren’t good for outdoor concerts! The fog had cleared by the time we arrived, but the rain was still persisting, and I wasn’t sure whether it would dampen the spirits of the singers or the audience. I was also worried because whenever we’ve sung for the West Bridgford Christmas lights before, I’ve had the singers on stage (under cover), but the piano out front, exposed to the elements, and that wasn’t going to be an option today!
I needn’t have worried. We had a great reception from the crowd, and as we were on straight after the lights and firework display, there were plenty of people still around. And as for the singing – I felt everyone really raised their game today, and put on a truly great show. The energy was there, the more complex harmonies were there, there was generally a good balance between parts, and lots of people were singing from memory too – really encouraging. Thank you to everyone who took part – you made me proud today.
We have a rare day off tomorrow (although of course I’ll be spending it working!). It’s the start of our really busy season now – regular sessions every night next week until Thursday, then the Ponds Forge Festival of Light on Friday (which we’re really looking forward to). The weekend is one of our busiest ever – Buxton dress rehearsal on Saturday morning, Beeston Christmas light Saturday afternoon, Chesterfield Pavement Centre Sunday morning, and Buxton band call Sunday afternoon. You’d think we’d have been sensible and booked Monday off – but no, it’s the Wakefield & Barnsley end of season concert!
Of course, we’re on the final push towards the big concert in Buxton on December 8th too. It’s great to have things falling into place for this – after a mad scramble to find a pianist after the guy I’d booked had to drop out (thanks for saving the day, Rickey Long!), the musical stuff is really on course. I genuinely believe that what we will put on that stage on December 8th will be the best concert we’ve ever produced.
Toni, some of the other singers and I spent some time visiting the base of the Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance on Friday – the charity we’re supporting with the Buxton concert. It was very humbling to hear about the incredible work the charity does, and reading the “thank you” cards on the wall brought a tear to my eye. I really hope we can pull out all the stops and raise a good amount of money to support them.
With the crazy way our schedules work sometimes, we’ve been spending some time this week working on events for next season – and the summer too! We’re hoping to be able to announce these next week, and we’re excited about the possibilities. We’re moving to a slightly different model for performances from now on – rather than doing just small local concerts most of the time, and one big concert every year, we’ll now be doing a medium-sized concert in one of our areas every season (a different area each season), and smaller-scale local concerts (including our regular end-of-season events) in the other areas. We’re hoping our first “medium-sized” concert will be in Nottingham at the end of the Spring season, followed by Wakefield in the summer. More details and dates to follow soon!
We’ve actually got three other concerts booked for 2013 already – events we’ve been asked to do by other organisations. These include a fund-raiser for a Citizen’s Advice Bureau, a community festival, and a concert in a very unusual location for Christmas 2013!