Concert season


It’s the summer, so the population of Great Britain has both umbrellas and barbecues at the ready, anxiously peering at the sky.  In addition to outdoor meals and disappointing weather, the summer tends to bring a whole bunch of concerts with it.  The Proms are on in London, and the prospect of warm weather seems to get music makers and music lovers going.  Over the last two weekends, I’ve taken part in two very different concerts.

The first was with Reach Out Gospel Choir, a group which was formed in January.  I started going because it’s organised by a good friend, and I carried on going because it was so enjoyable.  We’ve been having fun singing a mixture of traditional gospel music and pop songs, with this being our first public performance.  The choir performed diverse material from ‘Steal Away’ to ‘Can You Feel It?’, all in 3-part harmony and mostly with broad smiles on our faces.  My personal favourites to sing were ‘Magnify the Lord’ and ‘I’ll Be There’, encompassing the range of our repertoire.  The first is very simple, a short and catchy piece which shifts up a key after every chorus, and the second is just a joy to sing thanks to my friend’s fantastic arrangement.  I also sang a solo, stepping out of the musical theatre world to have a go at Michael Buble’s ‘Haven’t Met You Yet’, which was brilliant fun to sing.  I may have to delve into his songbook again!

Next was West Side Story From Scratch, which was (as the name implies) put together with a minimum of rehearsals.  In an outdoor venue, we got the audience to join with us as the Jets, the Sharks and their girls as we sang through the score with the help of two very accomplished pianists.  My part in the concert was pretty mad, even by the standards of a year where I’ve been a wolf and sung a song in my underwear!  For the ‘Tonight Quintet’, I sang the part of Bernardo, leader of the Sharks.  I then got to play the Jets (all of them!) in ‘Gee, Officer Krupke’, a feat that involved four different accents and a workout for my falsetto range.  I think I can safely say that it was a unique version of the song, and it certainly got a very warm reception from the audience.  The Quintet, on the other hand…  well, let’s just say that it could definitely have gone better.  But I suppose that’s a “From Scratch” performance for you.

I have the possibility of one more concert before the summer ends.  In many ways, I prefer doing a fully staged show, partly because I do like to have a character to hide behind, but concerts are a lot of fun and I think the audiences generally feel more a part of proceedings, even if they aren’t being asked to join in with some of the songs.

  1. Glad ‘Krupke’ went well and that the weather held out. (Well, I’m presuming it did as it was OK here, but then with Kent’s odd weather system you never know!)

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