Lovely jubbly LCS promotion

I joined Twitter last year and have started to make a few friends in the last few months. Obviously I use the term ‘friend’ in a loose manner because I have never met most of the people I ‘talk’ to on a daily basis. :).

I have however met a few and one who stands out is BBC employee and fellow south-east Londoner Jon Jacob. Jon is a proliferant blogger who stumbled upon my choir in March this year and he wrote this about us. Being the clever person he is, he also found our Twitter account and tweeted at us. Ah the wonders of the modern world!

Due to this lovely bit of promotion I started corresponding with Jon and reading his own blog, and now four months later I was able to entice this nice man to take some photos of us at a recent rehearsal. Many of his own blogs feature audio, video and pictoral elements and I knew he could take some great photos of our choir.

I was right of course… read all about it here and see the photos through Flickr:


Thank you Jon, next time we WILL get you to a concert. :).

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A Saturday spent singing Faure’s Requiem

My choir’s recent concert featured a number of jazz and gospel works, and as part of the programme pianist Ben Saul played some Aaron Copeland and George Gershwin pieces. He also came to one of our rehearsals in the week leading up to the performance to run through the pieces he was accompanying the choir in.

This Ben Saul seemed a rather personable fellow so I introduced myself after the rehearsal to see if he would mind being photographed by me for our Twitter page. I also enquired if he was on Twitter and for once the answer was yes. This answer greatly pleased me as I could now tag him in LCS tweets, excellent! The 21st Century does exist in the choral world!

So I tagged him in a few tweets, as well as messaging him on my own Twitter account, and found out that Ben also runs scratch choirs from time to time. His next event was to be a rehearsal and performance of Gabriel Faure’s Requiem at a church where he runs a Girl’s Choir in central London.

The Requiem was to be performed to raise funds for the charity Unlimited Partnership who run micro-financing projects in Sierra Leone. It was also a lovely opportunity to sing a piece LCS had performed in 2010. I loved singing Faure’s Requiem last year, it is so beautiful, and so I was really excited to spend a Saturday singing. Ben is also great fun so I knew I was in for a good day. :).




The venue we rehearsed and performed in was St. Andrew by the Wardrobe which is just by Blackfriars Bridge, a stone’s throw from St. Paul’s Cathedral – and The Church of Scientology. What a mix!


Ben conducting and not speaking for once. He tells so many many many stories and musical in-jokes that I am just not cool enough to understand. ;).


We rehearsed and performed in the upstairs of the church, we didn’t even go into the main body of the building. It was a bit odd to look and not touch but it was a wonderful view to look down on. The church is covered in gorgeous wooden panelling, absolutely beautiful.

The singer with glasses is Ben McAteer who sang the baritone solos, such a lovely gorgeous voice. I found this about him online if you happen to be in County Antrim in September!


Told you it was beautiful. The main access to the church is up a grand set of stairs from Queen Victoria Street, but you can walk all the way round the church to see different angles and the lovely glass window behind the altar. The entrance round the back on St. Andrew’s Hill has a lovely set of wonky stone steps to go up too.


Also singing a solo was Max Thorpe, a thirteen-year old boy soprano from one of Ben’s youth choirs’. He sang the Pie Jesu solo.


Poor photo I know, it does not do the church interior justice.


Organist Jonathan Eyre and Ben.

This Requiem is so beautiful and moving, LCS’ conductor Dan Ludford-Thomas loves giving music space to breathe and it was a pleasure to experience the same with Ben. The random mix of thirty or so singers (from Faversham Choral Society and The Hackney Singers mainly, I was the only one representing LCS) were all very welcoming and knowledgeable about this piece and I had the added fun of sitting with five girls from the Church’s girls choir. I felt very grown up helping them with what we were singing, even when I didn’t know the whole piece myself that well! :D. And I had a bloody frog in my throat for the whole rehearsal!

I had such a lovely day, and as the boyfriend had an awful hangover I am really glad I was not at home to experience his pathetic behaviour (hahaha). I instead raised a bit of cash for charity and had a lovely time in a beautiful building in The City – I love the square mile.

Roll on the next scratch choir!

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London Flash Choir

This Monday bank holiday I spent the day singing and rehearsing for London Flash Choir. Excellent research by the dynamic duo of Max de Lucia and Fred Feeney led them to contact my choir who read out a notice about the event during rehearsals two weeks ago.

I got very excited very quickly as I love singing and the idea of being on the BBC appealed to my huge ego (no joke). I downloaded the score the Friday before last, and found we were to be singing Bill Withers’ Lovely Day, The Beatles’ All You Need is Love and Toploader’s Dancing in the Moonlight. I wasn’t sure about the mix of songs myself (probably due to a bit of anti-Toploader snobbery) but what do I know…

… as the rehearsal outside Trinity Music College was just awesome. The mix of songs, the arrangement and the trumpet parts were just fabulous. Everyone picked up the songs very quickly and we stopped rehearsing with the score and started working on building up the songs into a performance. Max did such a great job of leading us all and bossing us around, I was so impressed.

We rehearsed from about 10am to 1pm with a break and then went up town to “gather” (flash doesn’t sound right) on the Southbank for 3pm. It was quite tense just before 3pm, everyone was constantly looking around for the bassist who was starting the whole piece. I hope we didn’t look too inconspicuous, it was just so exciting!

So then we ‘flashed’ and it was great and loads of people clapped and cheered at the end. Singing and dancing in front of everyone and looking a bit mad and odd was just wonderful. We then got to do it again in Trafalgar Square at 3.30pm where the trumpeters climbed up onto the steps in front of Nelson’s column. A random man joined in and danced next to Max while he conducted but that is the point right? All a bit odd and fun! More cheering and clapping at the end and then off to Covent Garden for 4pm.

Covent Garden felt like the best one because the covered market kept the sound in really well. We all mixed in with everyone upstairs and downstairs, and the bassist who started us off had the best of his three fake fights with other secret singers who had ‘stolen’ his mobile. All very odd and fun. Everyone who watched the flash mob was smiling afterwards and it was such a good feeling to have shared my love of singing with everyone.

My new pal Karen and I had the best time and really enjoyed spending the day together singing and wandering around London. I loved that the rehearsal was in my neck of the woods and that Max and Fred had the support of Trinity so they could organise this ace event and use space at the Old Royal Naval College for the rehearsal. Best way to spend a Bank Holiday Monday in my book.

There are plenty of videos on London Flash Choir’s Facebook page along with more photos. Below are some of my photos of this wonderful day full of blazing sunshine and singing fun (and extreme sunburn for me).


Max in charge outside the Trinity Music building at the Old Royal Naval College


Bass alert


Sopranos


View from the back


Singers spread about the courtyard as Max does his best to de-English-ify us and make us act less self-conscious


We didn’t quite make it to five hundred but it was AMAZING and SO MUCH FUN


“Look happy for God’s sake! These are some of the best-loved pop songs in Britain!” 😉


My new friend Karen! All the way from Rochester for the day.


Fred and Max talk to BBC journalist David Sillito who did a piece for BBC Breakfast this morning


The dynamic duo

Thank you for an awesome day! 🙂

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Back to School

Started the new term at my choir last night. I have been a member of Lewisham Choral Society for a year now. Hooray!

This term we are learning Monteverdi’s Vespers from 1610 for a November concert in Deptford. This is fairly old and according to Wikipedia Monteverdi “marked the transition from the Renaissance style of music to that of the Baroque”. Cool. We went over the ‘Lauda Jerusalem’ section last night, not the easiest start to the term but our conductor told us he wanted us to do the hardest part first! Excellent!

Our conductor Dan is ace, he is so enthusiastic and knowledgeable about music. Also in exciting new term news – he has new black-rimmed glasses! The world of choirs is an exciting one! Dan was also Choirboy of the Year in 1986, and he really makes the journey from Greenwich to Catford on a Monday night worth it.

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