Evening out

Tonight was a treat, a night out, the first Wednesday of the month. The Boat band perform at the Beehive pub on Honeywall, Stoke-on-Trent, and as usual we went along. The music was a mixture of cajun, calypso, and some Robbie Burns added in. Half way through the evening the audience get a chance to sing or play an instrument. We heard a banjo, harmonica, a concertina, a guitar, a ukulele, a violin, a trumpet, trombone and cornet. The songs ranged from traditional Scottish, victorian, original new songs and a wide selection of tunes. My friend and I decided to sing ‘my grandfather’s clock’, something we had both learned at different schools, with years in between. Clearly the music curriculum does not get changed very often! Fun was had by all. My rendition of ‘an old mill in Amsterdam’ was a bit ragged, I should have practiced it. But singing, ‘I saw a mouse, where? There on the stair, where on the stair? Right there. A little mouse with clogs on, well, I declare, going clip- clippity-clop on the stair, yeah’ seemed to go down well.

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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.

Panto rehearsal tonight

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The adult chorus are trying to learn three dances. Don’t stop believing, Spice up your life, and another one about Prince Ali from the Aladdin film which had Robin Williams in. We haven’t started yet.

The Plan is to sing and dance. Which is like that old trick of patting your head while rubbing your stomach. I’m sitting this out as my hip is still sore!

Only five weeks to the show, I’m scared!

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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