Where would the mystery play be without the music. This year as always provided by the brilliant Boatband and Clay Chorus choir.
I don’t want to give away the music or plot too much. But the singing covers dramatic action in the play. I know Clay have been learning the songs for a couple of months now and there are some poignant pieces to illustrate the conditions in the first half of the nineteenth century. We don’t realise just how much things have improved for both adults and children.
I think the audience are in for a treat this year if we all keep our cool and get it right.
I’ve been out all day singing at workshops with various tutors. Then in the evening 16 choirs were involved in a concert to raise money for three charities.
The day started early at a local theatre, groups went off to various changing rooms, bars and the auditorium to learn new songs and vocal techniques. In the same way as artists have different styles so do musicians. The first workshop I attended was called “joy” and it was joyful and bonkers. Fast cheery tunes and ” jazz hands”, it woke us up and some of us even threatened to join the teachers choir. The second workshop I went to was called “raise your voice” and helped us to harmonise and listen to each other while we learnt two folk songs.
In the afternoon around 400 of us.. Yes that many, learned a new song written specially for the day. Based on “let your little light shine” the lyrics were written by a local poet and music by a local musician. The result was filmed this evening when we sang it at the end of the concert.
It should be going on YouTube.
Each choir also sang one or two songs. Some of the singers were in 3 and even 4 of the choirs so they were busy.
We had a satisfying day and I think everyone should be proud of what they did.
There’s not many places in Britain where you can wander round with flaming torches (but no pitchforks). But today we did just that round Penkhull Village. From Penkhull village hall we walked down the road to a garden with an ancient apple tree. The Domesday Morris danced and poured cider over its roots, Wassailing (shouting Wassail) to bless it and get it to flourish in the coming year. Domesday Morris danced, the Clay choir, which I sing with, sang Wassailing songs such as ” The old Cornish Wassail” and “the Penkhull Wassail” ( written by Duncan Bourne). Penkhull village brass band and the Penkhull Ukelele band also played.
Once we had drunk warm cider down at the garden we walked back up the hill and on to the local pubs, the Marquis of Granby, the White Lion, which was closed for some reason. We then went to The Beehive pub on Honeywall which had laid on some sandwiches. Then back across the hill to the Terrace pub and up to the Greyhound pub and Manor Court ale House where we finished singing and dancing. The Morris group were brilliant with their decorated hats, bells and boots. When they start dancing their sticks fly and swirl and clash together in time with the music So exciting to watch.
We went over to the village hall for hot soup. Some people stayed for a barndance, but as we were tired out we came home to get warm and have a hot coffee.
No monsters or zombies were affected by this Wassail.
After 5 days and 6 performances we finished singing with the play Beautiful thing tonight. We did two performances today and I’m shattered. We have had a great time though. The choir was accepted by the cast and crew of the play and the New Vic theatre staff. I think we had a wonderful welcome and great support throughout the run.
Now the play is off to Lancaster to run for a week up there. They will be joined by a new community choir. It would be good to go up and see the actual play (we only saw the bits when we were on stage). It had come up from Bristol after a run down there.
So what next? Back to normal. One of the choirs I’m in (Loud Mouth women) is celebrating its 20th anniversary with two musical workshops and a party. Then normal choir practice with Clay chorus the following night.
I’m staggered at how much singing we have done. But it’s been a blast.
Well we are doing it. Singing to accompany the cast of Beautiful thing. Clay Chorus and some of Loud Mouth women led by Greg Stephens and Kate Barfield. Here I am with the cast members playing Jamie and Ste. I have to say we are having a good time now people are getting over their nerves. We are half way through a run of 6 performances so that’s why I’m not on social media as much. Here is a link to the review of the play .
I hope you can follow it.
It’s on at the new victoria theatre, Basford Newcastle-under-Lyme until Saturday.
We got here today and have been busy sitting around for a lot of the time, interspersed with standing around on the stage being set in position, then singing as loudly and brightly as we can for our songs. I’m shattered, I hope I can keep my energy up for the performance.
To be honest I’m actually enjoying being fitted for a costume (a tee shirt). I brought my own silly blingy jewellery to wear. I’ve actually got some stuff from the 1990s which I was given one Christmas.
The play is called Beautiful Thing at the New Vic theatre at Basford, Newcastle-under-Lyme. Performances run till Saturday and start at 7.30pm.
The play is about the blossoming relationship between two teenage boys. It is set in 1993 and we are singing music by Mama Cass and hits from the 1990s. I hope I don’t break my leg