Choir practice

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Learning new songs tonight including ‘Summer is a coming in’. That was the song towards the end of the film ‘The Green Man’. Its a joyous song of the coming of summer, but I can’t get the image of Edward Woodward being captured and killed at the end of the film out of my mind.

We also started learning a wedding song but I left the words behind so can’t remember the title. I know it was sung by the Copper family, who are a folk singing group. We also continued to practice ‘Ay waulkin oh’ by Robert Burns. It means I’m still awake, and does not mean I’m walking…. Its about a woman worrying about her lover and when he will come back to her I think.

Talking about songs I still need to remember the words to ‘Prince Ali’ for the panto. I think it’s from the film ‘Aladdin’ with Robin Williams? Anyway I’ve got two days to learn the bits the chorus sing, so that’s OK then….

 

Robbie Burns songs.

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After singing ‘Green grow the rashes o’ by the Scottish author and musician Robert Burns, we started learning a new song at choir tonight. It’s called ‘Ay waukin o’. It’s not about walking, but about waking or being awake. Not being able to think because of thinking of her dearie.

The melody is beautiful, rising and falling in sweet harmonies. Singing about lanely (lonely) night. Everyone else sleeping, and she sings ‘and bleer my eyes wi weepin’.

So beautiful. Its music I’ve never heard before, I’m pleased we are learning it.

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Stoke Sings choir festival.

Sixteen Choirs, including the Deaf links Choir and the Intertheatre choir got together in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent today at the Victoria Hall. The reason? It was a splendid Choir festival for choirs around Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire and Cheshire.

Workshops on sea shanties, music from the shows. Gospel singing and African music were some of the wonderful things we learnt. The teachers were so enthusiastic and so we’re we as pupils. Then later we learnt a new song to sing at the Finale.

There was a concert in the evening when all the choirs performed. An eclectic mix of Bond themes, a song from sister act, old songs by Robbie Burns because it is Burns night tonight. Lots of beautiful melodies and friendly people. Finally we sang  auld land syne and said farewells to new friends. A grand day out.

Terrible photo of the mystery singers tonight.

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I went singing with the mystery singers round penkhull tonight. I had to give up half way because I was getting increasingly breathless. We went from the White Lion to the Beehive. Then on to a friends house and another house that we always visit. This had meant walking about a mile, but I was tired out. I got left behind, but then one of the choir members walked with me. I finally left the group to carry on without me.

We sang a Penkhull Wassail (about pubs and farmers and beekeepers there). Then the Cranbrook version of While Shepherds Watched their flocks by night.

It’s surprising how many different versions of carols there are. The words have changed over the years and there can be several different versions of the music for them. Then you have arrangements of music. With Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass parts. Some of the carols we sing in parts, and others we sing in unison. We often sing Silent Night, the Austrian version – Stille Nacht. I wish I’d been able to continue but I needed a rest.

Join a choir!

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I pinched this image off my friend on Facebook. I really agree with it.

About 14 years ago I decided to have singing lessons, I’d always wanted to sing, but I had a loud, untrained voice. I could deafen people but not entertain them so I thought learning to control my voice would help.

The lessons were good, they helped, and I went on to get a grade one in singing. But it was expensive. My friend kept saying come to the choir she was in. So I decided to go to the choir one week and the lessons on the following week. It was a great way of getting in to it. I realised I was enjoying learning new songs, and in different languages. Eventually I finished going for lessons because my tutor was going abroad. I stayed with the choir and am still with them. In the meantime I also joined another choir, and have performed with other groups. I have to say it has helped my mental well-being and boosted my confidence.

The choir I joined does not do auditions. You don’t need to be able to read music. You just come along and have a go. So like the picture says, join the choir, you’ll be glad you did!

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Christmas lights switch on.

Christmas lights switch on up at St Thomas’s Church, penkhull.

There was a fair crowd as we,  the panto  cast, and junior cast members stepped outside to sing in the choir. The wind was blowing coldly up over the hill. The Lord mayor lit the lights and the tree and we sang many traditional carols including Silent Night and Hark the Herald Angels sing, which are both favourites of mine.

Penkhull village brass band were playing up a storm, and Father Christmas mingled with the crowds.

One thought as we sat there was how cold it was. An hour sitting on a plastic chair, starting to shiver and shake. Makes you wonder how homeless people cope. How do they survive. In this season if goodwill to all men, let’s have some real goodwill to all men and women!

PS sorry about the photos,  it was difficult to take photos. Had to concentrate on singing….

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Choir practice

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The choirs I’m inlearn mainly by repetition. We usually have the choir leader teaching us a line at a time. Some songs have simple repetitions, others have verses and choruses. We can sing in unison or are split into high, low and middle parts. We are kept in tune either with a melodion or a guitar. I actually find it harder to sing along with a guitar because it can be drowned out by our singing.

A new choir member asked how we can just start singing a song that we have never seen BEFORE. When that happens it’s usually because we have sung it in the past and it’s part of our old repertoire? Our song book is extensive and covers old and new songs and many languages including African songs, European and Indian.

I think joining a choir is one of the best things I have ever done.