29th October saw all 10 harmonicas up bright and early (well, early) and on our way to the UK choir festival!
It was a day full of workshops starting with Bazil Meade’s gospel workshop and then two great technique workshops from Ben Parry and Ben Sawyer. The final workshop, after lunch was by ex-Swingle Joanna L’Estrange who taught us all how to swing! The workshops were great and gave us much food for thought, for instance about how to tune thirds and fifths, and how to get a great blend by focusing on our vowel sounds.
We also learnt that, despite their best efforts, our alto 1s probably don’t have careers as swing singers ahead of them! We managed to nab the back row for the day so we could misbehave as much as we liked!
After the workshops there were performances from all the choirs taking part. This was a real highlight – it was wonderful to hear so many great choirs, some fantastic arrangements and to make new choir buddies!
Then it was our turn on stage. It started off really well with a rendition of Mad World, but looking at this photo of Kiss the Girl, I fear we may have had a lot more gin than we remembered!
The other choirs were fantastic and ranged from the tiny but mighty four person group The Wands, to the joyous throng of the Next Stage Choir. Some truly beautiful performances, especially moving performances from Sing Tower Hamlets, and some effortless cool brought by the Wrablers, while G Force gospel choir were an explosion of joy. We’re still impressed by the New Maindenhead choir’s ability with body percussion, and with the really delicate performance from Dawn Chorus, whilie Herts and Soul absolutely lived up to their name.
Making new choir friends is one of the best parts of festivals, so we’re really excited to be going to watch the Wrablers Christmas concert on 17th December!