Jane McDouall led a warm up for the SATB choir – keep the shoulders down and your face bright – as though greeting someone you’re pleased to see. Alex took over and we sang movements from Vivaldi’s Gloria, shaking off all ‘not quite awake’ feelings.
I slipped out to see what the orchestra was up to and walked into the tranquillity of Elgar’s Nimrod being played with great sensitivity. Hang on, though, what an unusual configuration of instruments! Strings as you would expect. Then how many? Yes, 13 or so flutes and a similar number of clarinets, but no one blaring out, the orchestra blending well under Angela’s baton. There were saxophonists, a tympanist, and to add to the loan double bassist, Chris McDouall on electric bass guitar.
The choir then split in two (no pain was involved, you understand). Sops and altos staying put, and bases and tenors heading to another room. Jane and Angela introduced the ladies to music by Richard Rodney Bennett and Kodály – unison songs (written really for single voice) and songs for 5 part upper voices.
Once that was underway, I went in search of the lower voices – not all male, you understand, some women’s voices are naturally low enough to sing tenor.
I’m sure you can hear it already. Then again, looking at the picture… But once the ignition was turned… !
Right. Dinner time. More for dessert.