Eurovision is on tonight. A four or five hour song contest with European and a few non European countries challenging for the win. There are forty countries that compete in semifinals then twenty five in the final. Half the votes in the final come from the voting panels of each country and the rest come from a phone vote open to the public. The results take almost longer than the singing part. The singers can get up to twelve points from each judging panel and voters, so the total can rise well over a hundred or more. I’d like the UK to win but we got NO points last year. As we can’t vote for our own country I will be voting for Ukraine. They have a very good song called ‘Stephania’ I think, by the Kalush Orchestra.
We sing all sorts of music in the choirs I am in. We learn by repetition rather than using sheet music. We’ve been learning Bulgarian songs, and ones by Robert Burns recently. Also sea shanties. There is one choir called Clay Chorus that has men and women singing in it and Loud Mouth Women which is a women only choir. Both are usually unaccompanied (a capella), although sometimes we have a guitar or ukulele to help with the tune. There are no auditions, people just come along and try. Many stay with the choirs for years. It was such a shame when we couldn’t meet because od Covid. Now all of us are vaccinated, we wear masks when we move around. The windows are open and we keep the room well ventilated. We do lateral flow tests to be safe. It’s fun to sing again.
Singing in a bandstand is good because the roof helps the acoustics. Our group, called the Mystery Singers were out in the cold fog singing carols mainly to the empty park, although we did have a small audience. One group that totally ignored us was the local anti-vax group (or maybe the bah-humbug group). Very strange. They didn’t look happy.
At one stage the sun did come out and the temperature rose a few degrees but after a couple of songs the fog rolled back in again. I think people enjoyed our singing, we got some nice comments and applause. Now I’m warming up, it was freezing out there !
For the first time in months I went to sing with the Loud Mouth Women choir. Covid fears and a pulled calf muscle has stopped me. I had to admit I’ve been scared of mixing. But I went, and I felt a bit better in myself afterwards. You don’t realise how depressed you are getting until you force yourself to do things, but I did it. It’s cheered me up. It was the last choir practice this year and we sang some Christmas songs. Glad I went.
We went to Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent today to enjoy something called the Big Feast which is run by a group called Appetite and is held in the summer. I’m in two choirs and we had two spots to sing at (hence no photo of us). Between our spots were a couple of musicians playing a sitar and drums. The sitar was made of a pumpkin? Or gourd? With a long wooden neck. The sitar player said the instrument had seventeen strings. He explained that he played the opposite technique to the famous player Ravi Shankar. However he played it was very beautiful. I admire both players skill.
We finally sang as a choir tonight. We were socially distanced. Each of us had a chair placed behind a CD. Two meters apart. We did some stretches and vocal exercises and suddenly we were singing together in reasonable harmony. We even sang in parts, soprano, tenor, alto and base. It was lovely! No zoom where all you can hear is yourself and the choir leaders. We started quietly but by the end we had some volume. Hearing each other gets the camaraderie going again.n
Next stop, singing in public at a canal day this coming Sunday. I hope we all stay well and the weather improves!
One of tonights choir group, each week I’ve been drawing a participant as they sing. It’s good practice as they are moving and the shadows move with them. If you notice the image is slightly distorted. That’s because I had the sketchpad flat on my desk and it’s caused a slightly elongated drawing that is tipped slightly to the right…
It’s something to check on when you are drawing, sometimes it can cause a lot of distortion if you are not careful.
Mark who was part of this evenings Clay Chorus group. He played two brilliant songs. I used a bit of monoprint to add shadows to the side of his face. I only used a bit as he was moving and playing his guitar as I was trying to sketch him.
I wish I had his skill and had carried on learning an instrument, it’s great to be able to play things, but my trumpet is staying firmly locked away!