Fun day at choral workshop

What a great turnout, what a fun day was had by all who came to the vocal musicianship workshop on Saturday 14th September at the Canon Christall Hall.  The workshop was run by acclaimed, music educators Ula Weber and Suzzie Vango from Vocal.Point who really put us all through our paces.  Warm-ups, stretches, posture, breathing, brain gymnastics, clapping, clicking fingers, stamping feet, all part of the excellent fun.  We welcomed some new faces to the group and also joining us were members of Claire Steele’s choir. It was great that everyone was so enthusiastic and soon we were all in fits of giggles with the exercises that Ula and Suzzie were teaching us.  Before mid-morning coffee break we’d already learnt to sing a beautiful, spiritual round “Over My Head” which sounded amazing.

We then had rhythm, clap clap clap, hands on knees, then harmonies, then time signatures, beat, pitch, crotchets and quavers all in easily-digestible, bite-sized chunks. Suzzie and Ula made it all look and sound so easy (that just shows what great teachers they are as well.)   We all looked and sounded spectacularly silly doing the Penguin Song which is always a hit, especially among children.  It also reminded us grown-ups that it’s fine to sing along to a silly song as well as the more challenging stuff and it’s all part of the fun.

After lunch we all settled down to more musical learning – the basics of sight-reading a vocal score, such an important skill for any singer to acquire.  Bite-sized chunks again, following your line and sticking to it while busy trying to hit those notes.  All those tricky tips were put into practice as we sang “Paddy on the Railway” a “Gospel Medley” and “Sing John Bull” – where Suzzie really went to town in teaching us all the movements that went along with the different words we had to sing (to help us remember of course but also to get us moving which often results in a better sound from the choir.)  We sang in parts as a round and then learnt one of the most beautiful pieces of the day (or maybe it’s just that we’d got so much better at this singing lark by the end of the workshop?)  “My Life is in Your Hands” included unison, the power of silence in a piece, clapping, harmonies and even movement, swaying from left to right foot in time with the beat.  I have to say I was totally blown away by how we all sounded in that very final run-through of the song – my goodness we all sounded like the amazing choir that we know we can be.  Thanks to everyone for your time, your contributions, your enthusiasm and best of all, your singing.  I was beaming with pride to hear you giving it your all.  Suzzie and Ula are already booked for 20th September next year – get that date in your diaries quick!




See the gallery for all the photos of the day

Back to choir practice with Branston Pickle and reindeer

Welcome back everyone it was so good to see so many of you this morning at choir practice. You were all certainly refreshed and invigorated after the summer break. The “mental alertness” (or brain-ache whichever you prefer) round I started with didn’t faze you at all, which showed me that you were all wide awake and ready to sing. “Woodchuk would if a woodchuk could if a woodchuck could chuck wood!” (Try saying that in a hurry?) It was a joy to hear you learn a new Taize round “Cantate Domino Canticum Novum” so quickly. After a few “I sing, you sing” demos I was able to put you into parts and off we went. Fanstastic effort, we’ll be ready to sing that at mass on 22nd September. This month is a slight anomaly in that we’re singing on the fourth Sunday as there’s a school-led mass on the third Sunday. We even had time to finish off on that rumbustious, traditional reindeer song, “Holl-ei, lei loy-la” which got everyone moving fast. There’s no Thursday rehearsal this week as the hall is not available, so the next time we meet will be on Saturday 14th September for the one-day choral workshop which starts at 10am. I’m so excited, it’s going to be absolutely superb I guarantee it and I know how much you’ll all get out of it. Thanks for your continued support and great efforts. You’re sounding really good! Now, where have all those reindeer gone….?

Welcome back after the summer

Hello everyone, I hope you’ve enjoyed a lovely summer break. We begin rehearsals once again on Thursday 5th September at 8.15 in the Lady Chapel. We have been asked to open the Epsom and Ewell Music Festival (at rather short notice it has to be said) on 8th September at midday in the Market Square. If you are all up for it, then we can run through the set we performed at the Summer Fair and go for it. There’s a few of you who can’t make it so I’ll see how many are able and willing to perform at the festival and will then make a decision as to whether we go for it or politely decline the invitation. Please let me know your thoughts those of you who haven’t replied to my email yet. I need all the support I can get in order to pull this one off. Get those vocal chords ready for lots more singing this year! I’m really looking forward to teaching you some wonderful new pieces. All the best, Helen