What a day!
It was a bit of a rollercoaster, that’s for sure. Toni and I spent most of Friday getting things ready – picking up the van, heading up to Harrogate to collect the staging, over to my friend Dylan’s to borrow some PA gear, then back home to load everything up. We’d promised ourselves an early night, as we knew Saturday would be a long day. The best laid plans… We finally got everything finished around 12:30am, and we were in bed just in time to get about 5 hours sleep ready for concert day…
The morning didn’t go to plan. We arrived nice and early, and started unloading the van. I’d underestimated how long it would take to get everything into the venue, so we were a little behind when we started building the staging. We’d hired this from our friends at “Rock Up and Sing”, and it’s a brilliantly engineered piece of kit – the geeky side of Toni was in her element building it all. However, it was a bit of a learning curve, despite the training we’d had, and we took a few wrong turns (the best of which was when we’d assembled the whole back row of staging, then realised we’d got it the wrong way round and needed to turn it all through 180 degrees!). As a result, our tech rehearsal started very late – I didn’t actually check the time, but it must have been something like an hour and a quarter later than we’d planned. Thank you to everyone for your patience – you were all absolutely professional about it, and took the delays (and my “focussed” attitude!) in your stride.
Once we’d got everyone seated, and practiced entering and leaving the stage, we only had time for a very brief sing, but already I could tell we were in for something special. The sound was powerful, rich, and full of expression – and that was only in rehearsal. We had the quickest of run-throughs with the soloists next, all of whom rose to the occasion admirably. There was just time for a quick change and a dash to the box office to check up on Heather, who we’d drafted in to help with ticket sales at the last minute, before the front of house announcement was ringing out and we were off!
The matinee performance was incredible – really strong singing, definition of tone, clear words, and lots of fun evident on peoples’ faces and in their body language. It seemed to fly by, with each song building on the last, until I was telling the audience that we were nearing the end of the concert (I’ve since discovered that the audible groan from an audience member when I said it was nearly the end actually came from my Grandma – bless her!). We powered through the Superstar medley and then sealed the deal with I Love The Lord – brilliant, inspirational singing.
Toni and I got chance for a little break between the concerts, and we spent that catching up with audience members from the matinee and getting some feedback. There were a number of our singers in the audience – some of whom were singing in the evening performance and wanted to hear what they were about to be a part of, and some who weren’t doing this concert but had come to hear what kind of sound we make as a choir. Every single one of them who commented to Toni or me said the same thing – they couldn’t believe just how good we are. They all said they’d strongly recommend all of our singers to be in the audience for one of our concerts at some point – you really can’t get a full picture of it when you’re surrounded by the rest of the choir, and everyone who’s been on both sides of the podium is always blown away by just how good we are – and it gives an added thrill, knowing that you’re a part of something that good!
It wasn’t too long before we were all lining up again for the evening performance, and raring to go. The energy was incredible, and it brought the stage to life. I must say thank you to Pat Roberts, who had been in the audience for the matinee performance and said she’d loved it, but thought that “Over the rainbow” could do with more light and shade – she was right, and we brought another level to it in the evening performance. Thanks for the tip, Pat!
It was great to be playing to a sold-out crowd, and the response from the audience was magnificent. They weren’t shy about letting us know what they thought, and their whoops and cheers helped us raise the roof – along with the standing ovation after “Superstar”. Everyone did an amazing job – hats off to the soloists, of course, but also to every single person on that stage. We can only create events like this when everyone pulls together, and that was so evident yesterday. Thank you.
Whilst I’m saying “Thank you”, I must mention two other people – Pauline, for the incredible job she always does of keeping us all organised on concert day, and Tony Pannell, for staying behind after the show for over an hour, lugging staging and PA gear – we wouldn’t have survived the get-out without you!
I reckon a day like yesterday is even more of a reason to encourage more people to join us. If you were on that stage, you know just how much fun it is. Let’s get more people having that amount of fun! If you were in the audience, you could see how much fun it is – come and be part of the fun next time! I know it sounds like a boring recruitment pitch, but this honestly comes from a really different place – I can just see how much people are getting out of singing, and I want everyone in the world to have something that gives them that much pleasure. Spread the word – be an evangelist for singing! It’s so good for you – physically, mentally, socially, emotionally – just about every way possible. If you sing, either with us, with another choir, or anyhow – shout about it! It’s an incredible thing, and the world should have more singing.
Yesterday we put smiles on so many faces. Thank you for being a part of that, and here’s to the next time!