As the Indian Summer continued, over 100 singers enjoyed a day of Romantic choral music. There was a relaxed and cheerful mood to the day. For example, Angela said Mendelssohn’s Grant us thy Peace was so beautiful she would like it to be sung at her funeral!
It was good to have time to look at the pieces in depth and learn some singing techniques. Angela and Alex talked about the importance of supporting the breath with those abdominal muscles. (Did anyone see Strictly? Weren’t there some abs on view!) We considered the importance of posture, and how to lift the sounds of our voices from strangled-cat in the throat to beautiful and resonating in the mouth.
After the tea break we muddled up to sit next to someone singing any part but our own. This encouraged us to listen to the other parts and blend with them, while also concentrating on our performance – no hanging onto the sound-tails of our neighbours! Although a little daunting, it proved enjoyable. The tuning improved and there was more expression and musicality. Angela stopped conducting to encourage us to listen to each other even more. The front two rows then turned round and faced the back three and we sang the piece again, just as a small group would do. Fantastic.
The next Nottingham Festival Chorus event will be the January course for the February concert of Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis. Angela enthused about what a great work it is but also mentioned that it is one of the harder pieces in the choral repertoire, and so singers will need to be well prepared before the course: no sight reading on the first day of the course! Singing done, we went home to the rugby. Nuff said.