Notes from Rehearsal with Carolyn – 2/4/19

Published on April 5, 2019,

31% of the choir went AWOL on Tuesday night. I almost joined them (heavy cold) but thought I would show and quarantine myself at the back of the church, so as not to present a public health hazard to the Basses. It’s a different world at the back of the church, immediately behind the naughty last row of Tunes and Altos (passing notes during the singing, chattering while teacher is talking, sharing a packet of mint humbugs – you know the sort of thing). So I was a spectator rather than a participant and it was lovely to listen to the choir at its best (which may not have been all the time, but enough to enjoy the experience).

Wenda was amongst the fallen, so Paul Montgomery gave the oration. Key messages were:

  1. DON’T come next week. We take our Easter break for the next two Tuesdays and start the new term on 23rd April;
  2. Thanks to those who volunteered to help with the visit of the German Choir (Avanti Dilettante) on 30th May to 3rd June. (I’ll email with more info about this visit after a choir committee meeting due to be held next week);
  3. Would the choir support a proposal from Syd Meats that we donate £200 to the DEC appeal for Cyclone Idai victims? (General murmurings of assent and no subsequent reservations expressed to Paul, so we’ve gone and done it on your behalf.)

The warm-up featured a new descending arpeggio to see how low the Basses could get. Bottom F on this occasion. All this was initially hampered by the fact that, for the first time in living memory, Carolyn had forgotten/lost her pitch pipes. Fortunately she is a woman of many parts and virtues – a supremely accomplished pianist, ex-Sunday School teacher, former celebrity chef (in Northumberland), retired hedge fund manager and world champion country dancer**. So she tripped lightly to the St Lawrence piano, tucked away in the corner, normally unnoticed and silent, and gave the choir its starting notes.

(** Only one of these five things about Carolyn is true, and the first person to email me with the correct answer will win a bag of confectionery to be presented at our next rehearsal. Terms and conditions apply (which I will make up as we go along), including a prohibition on the winner sharing their prize with the back row of Tunes and Altos)

The choir rehearsed:

One Voice

Key points were: tendency for pitch to drop on the high notes; Altos were angelic but they need a bit of wellie; tricky rhythms in all parts when we sing “This is the sound of all of us”. 

The Wycombe Caning Girl

Nice bit of chromaticism in the Alto part at “…with her hair in curl…” Quite an athletic Bass part. Get training on the sound files….


Donal my own

Carolyn insisted that the choir looked at her during a tricky section when the timing wasn’t quite right. I can tell you, from my privileged position as spectator, that there was a dramatic improvement in the choir’s performance at this point. Perhaps we should try and learn this song off by heart so that we are free of the printed page? Discuss….


This Day is Past

Coming along nicely and a lovely way to end the session and the term.

Afterwards, Maggie Rees led a party of dirty stop-outs to the William Walker public house (which she seemed to know quite well). I was planning to buy her a drink to say thank you for standing in for me while I’ve been away. But she set a blistering pace in the short hike to the pub and already had the drinks lined up by the time the rearguard arrived. THANK YOU MAGGIE for writing the debrief emails these last three weeks. Judging by the hubbub, we enjoyed ourselves at the William Walker and no-one disgraced themselves. There’s always next time.

Best wishes,

Denis Gibson

Membership Secretary

Winchester Community Choir

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