Any tips for working with 3 large choirs
At Love2sing, everyone gets a name badge to help with bonding. (One member even suggested we wear the tags on our backs to get to know the people in the row behind!)
Choir Name: Love2sing Choir – they have given birth to three!
Location: West London (Ealing and Hillingdon)
Style: Mixed Contemporary, Rock, Pop, Musical Theatre + Traditional
Number of singers: 175 across 3 groups
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How does each choir bond as a group?
The different sections can get very competitive when it comes to nailing their parts and this can be a lot of fun. I run several choirs and often each group likes to know how the other group is doing – “Are they ahead? Are they Behind!?” The second sops in the daytime rehearsal, for example, get very put out if they hear that the evening rehearsal has cracked a tricky section first or even worse finished a piece that they are still working on!
A favorite inspirational quote
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”
Any favorite pieces of repertoire you are working on
I have to say, right now, I adore ‘Pinball Wizard’- it is such an exciting high energy rock piece, and the choirs are doing a wonderful job with it.
What do you love most about it?
The harmonies are very close, and it is the culmination of all of the harmonies that make the song. The choir has to be on their feet and ready to sing throughout the piece. It is really a team effort because without any one of the harmonies, the piece does not sound authentic. (And for a change all of the parts have a challenge and the Altos get some decent melody!)
What is something you do in rehearsals that surprises new members?
We record and upload videos to Facebook and Youtube with tips and hints for singing success. These cover everything from how to follow your voice part in the score to different areas of vocal technique (like breathing, retraction, etc.). My goal is to help everyone get the best out of their time with the choir.
What are the most popular video topics with your choirs?
From the FB live videos, I get a lot of positive feedback about the simple things like just highlighting parts and teaching how to navigate the score to stay with the group. Often people are trying to learn without knowing where to start so things like identifying that the bottom two staves are the piano have been quite liberating for people with no musical background. All simple things, but if you have never been told, then sheet-music can seem like a whole new language!
Any emotional moments in rehearsal?
I always feel quite emotional when any piece of harmony truly comes together. You can tell the choir has got it when they begin to look relaxed and in the moment.
What was a very special performance and what made it special?
Recently, we performed at the Ealing Music and Film festival and the ambiance was fabulous. It was the fourth time the choir had been invited to sing and the group has grown in size and ability. As a choir leader I always feel emotional at the close of any big concert when all of the singers’ hard work comes to fruition. Watching as everyone sings through the final piece with the realization that the concert is almost done is always thrilling.
Tell us about a challenging performance
Outdoor performances are always difficult. Often someone else is in charge of the sound, and the choir feels as if their voices are flying away into the wind. I encourage them to trust that they are being heard even when they might not be able to hear themselves! This can definitely be a challenge. Oh, and singing in the rain is always fun!
Speaking of fun, any funny moments you recall in particular?
It always makes me laugh at choir when we have a week off for half term, and when we come back together we will sing a piece that we knew before the break, and then everyone becomes incredibly nervous as we start! I often have to stop to ask ‘What happened?’, and then we all have a good laugh and try again. Second time is always a charm.