Dear Choir members
Week 8 and flaming June already! Here are more songs and rounds to get us through this lockdown period.
It has occurred to me that many of us are turning ‘back’ into hippies with the lockdown of hairdressers. (I can remember Anna introducing me to one of her friends once as ‘this is my mother, the hippie!” Needless to say I was mortified. I saw myself as a sophisticated woman about town!) Most people have hair that grows long i.e. down, but mine appears to grow out i.e. wide. In fact, I am sure there is a blackbird nesting in there somewhere.
On to the warm up! Yet again it is divided into sections, with anecdotes in italics! But first on to the warm up:
Shoulder rolls ending with a hunched gesture and dropping shoulders for perfect singing position i.e. weighted shoulders, straight back with head pulled up like puppet, tucked in tail and softened knees; good for that area where a lot of tension resides. Remember the most recent version of this exercise is: ‘forward, up, back and down’ rather than rolling the shoulders.
Again warm up with simple 4 notes ascending and descending scales to different vowel sounds. Important that as you go higher into head voice switch back to ‘oo’. Don’t forget working on your diaphragm. Inhale for 5 beats with your hand on your stomach, then blow out the breath in 4 short breaths and one long one. Or sing the first phrase of one of our songs but hold onto the last note for as long as your breath lasts. Then move onto the next phrase focusing on a good diaphragmatic breath before each phrase.
Remember the exercise whereby you grab a note suspended from an elastic thread and to ‘oo’ pull the note (voice) gently and smoothly through the registers of your voice. Each time you repeat reach for the note a little higher and stretch it lower to extend your vocal range.
A good exercise for diction and vowel sound is singing on the same pitch:
Are there bees on you? ‘Are’, ‘there’ and ‘on’ should be open vowel sounds with a gap of two fingers between your teeth and ‘bees’ should be wide and ‘you’ with pouting lips! You could also set yourself a game of making up new words e.g. Have you seen the cat?
Round: Hey Ho, to the green wood
Hey Ho, to the green wood now let us go, Sing heave and ho!
And there shall we find both buck and doe, Sing heave and ho!
The hart, the hind and the pretty little roe, Sing heave and ho!
My garden is actually manicured, not just weeded and organized! I have planted peas, French beans, parsnips, beetroot, courgettes, onions, potatoes, carrots, purple sprouting broccoli, garlic, cabbage and celeriac (which I have never grown before). So we won’t starve! We also have tomatoes and cucumber in pots (I think I mentioned that I sowed a whole packet of tomato seeds so ended up with 26 plants, many of which I have given away! Just as well I love tomatoes! In fact I may well have turned red by the time I next see you!) I also have strawberries, gooseberries, raspberries, blackcurrants and rhubarb. Oooh that last one reminds me of another great round called Turkey Rhubarb. For next time maybe!
Hope you all enjoyed ‘The Woodford May song!
The other songs from this term are Brand New Day, Bushes and Briars, Cuckoo in April, Wild Geese, Harbour, Hal an Tow, Rise the Lark, Good Morning Lords and Ladies, as well as various rounds and all now on the website for you to sing along to! Here is a song for June arranged by Sarah Morgan which I hope you enjoy! It was collected by Bob Copper from George Fosbury who lived in the village of Axford in NE Hampshire. It is in 3 parts with the melody in the middle so tunes and altos need to combine.
New Song: Rose in June
In my chequered career I worked for a while for the EFDSS (English Folk Dance and Song Society) as their Education Officer. One of the projects was in celebration of the collecting of 120 folk songs from Hampshire by George Gardner between 1905 – 1908. He collected a great many from five women in Axford and I had a delightful opportunity to reintroduce some of these songs to children in the village school. I had to carefully select some of the more sanitized ones of course which was a challenge!
We will be having another ‘virtual coffee / drinks evening by Zoom’ on 9 June. It would be lovely to see as many as are available there for a chat, songs, poems, jokes! Anything really….. within reason, of course! Denis will be your chat show host again so let him know.
Til then enjoy the sunshine!