In Denis’ absence on the other side of the world (he did get beyond Alresford in the end) I’m sending the next few weekly choir updates.
This week we started selling tickets for our Christmas concert – they will be available to buy each Tuesday evening until the concert on 11 December (unless we sell out!). Tickets can be purchased via the website too, but we’d encourage you to buy them on Tuesday evenings if possible – they’re £8 for adults, £5 for under 12s, and we take cheques as well as cash.
We also handed out some printed copies of the poster – if you’d like one please let me know, or I can send you a copy via email for you to print yourself if you prefer.
Some of the choir are singing at Hilliers’ Christmas event in their Winchester store on the evening of Thursday 15 November – if you read this before then and would still like to get involved, just come along to Romsey Road at 6.45 pm ready to sing from 7.00 – 7.30 pm (in choir colours). Thanks to Cath for coordinating this and conducting us.
Now onto the songs we practised yesterday evening … we did a lot of singing!
Awake, Behold: We practised getting the first word really crisp and clear (involving use of a glottal stop I believe). Carolyn encouraged us to watch her closely during this one, to keep in time. Basses need to concentrate on the “As they descend to earth” line which is high in our register – Carolyn has asked us to practice this with the sound files.
The Darkling Thrush: We had some dropping pitch issues with this one and the basses were struggling, so we all need to concentrate on keeping an accurate pitch, particularly on accidental notes and the slightly discordant sections. Basses can sing an octave higher on certain notes, particularly in the last line of each verse. Carolyn reminded us that the rhythm of the words changes in each verse so we need to watch her to get the timings right (generally the words of this song are sung as they would be spoken).
Away in a Manger/Cradle Song: We worked on the breathing here. In the first two verses we need to take a breath at the end of each line. In the third verse, which is sung more quietly, key points to take a breath are after “Lord Jesus” and after “forever”.
Goodbye Dolly Gray: The basses sing the tune in the verses, with other parts joining in on the last part of each third line (eg. “you can hear it everywhere”) and on the words “Dolly Gray”. In the chorus the tunes sing the main melody (basses sing a harmony part). Sound files are on the website.
Home Lads, Home: Moira will be singing the verses at the concert so we concentrated on the choruses. Some lyric sheets don’t have the right words on the final two choruses. The penultimate chorus should say in the third line “… when the hardest fight is done” and in the final chorus the same line should say “… when the longest day is done”.
Mary Had a Baby: A reminder that in the last verse the words “people keep a-coming” are sung three times, getting louder each time. In verse 5 the words should be “She named the baby Jesus”. We are not singing the verses with the words “Shepherds heard the singing” and “Wise men knelt before him” so these should be crossed out on our copies.
Christmas Again: Carolyn asked us to become more familiar with the words which need to be sung clearly on the beat in all four parts.
And next week Carolyn is aiming for us to consolidate the other half of our Christmas repertoire, so lots of singing again. Please listen to the sound files and be ready to sing:
Jesus Christ the Apple Tree
Cherry Tree Carol
Ceremonies for Christmas
Down In Yon Forest
Rejoice Mankind and Sing
See you next week.
All the best, Simon