So: Saturday was a singing day, 3 hours or so, rehearsing, performing, singing with the audience, interspersed with beer at the lovely Ivy House.
We like to have a theme or a project for Vocal Chords, in the summer it was love songs for the planet, this autumn it has been folk carols, learnt from Lester Simpson and dragged out of our collective record collections and memories, and performed with gusto!
The arrangements sound quite complex and the parts can get a little competitive as to who can sing loudest, but they are actually quite simple so long as you can keep in time.
Here is a sample, my absolute favourite of the songs we sang, although it is a hard, hard choice, as I loved all of them!
This is the definition of Joyous, for me, cynical old atheist though I am.
And then Sunday we were selling Arachne Press books at a christmas market at the delightful Alexandra Nurseries (still singing under our breaths, both ‘Curly Hark’ and snatches of Britten’s St Nicholas, mostly ‘landlord take this piece of gold, bring us meat before the cold’…although we weren’t cold, thanks to our lined walking trousers, winter coats, hats mittens, long-johns…) It was a very jolly day, good weather and plenty of punters.
SO apart from all the events we are going to and taking part in over the next week – Liars’ League Snow & Stars tomorrow, Story Sessions Wednesday, (where I am reading as well as compereing)The ‘work’ xmas party with my fellow WooA writers, and christmas shopping at Brockley Xmas market & the £3 christmas bazaar and enjoying V G Lee and Rose Collis’ drollery at Bah Humbuggers (Dyke the Halls) on Saturday – all spare time is going on rehearsing for St Nicholas, which we are singing at Blackheath Halls in the Christmas Concert on Friday 20th
and for our Carol Singing in aid of Shelter with Summer All Year Long around Brockley, Honor Oak and Forest Hill on Saturday 21st.
Carol singing, my friends, the sound that cheers: loud, raucous and invigorating. We’ll be driving the cold winter away and getting our vocal chords around some songs going right back to the 15th Century at the Ivy House today at 3pm (ish- depends on how long the rehearsal overruns by). Come along, listen, drink and JOIN IN, with songs about getting cold and drunk and herding sheep. We will teach you the tunes, which you may never have heard before, to words you almost certainly have. There may be some incidental religion.
So we completed our mission, and sou’westers and slickers and oilskins were necessary, but fortunately we only got the edge of the promised storm, Sing for Water has been accomplished! Apparently its the first time it has rained for this event in 13 years. We only got slightly damp, and though I say it myself we sounded awsome – all 700+ of us.
I discovered it is not possible to sing and boxstep with a hood pulled up. There will no doubt be video on youtube in a few days, should you wish to explore.
Thanks to the audience (especially the familiar faces) for braving the wet to listen. Thanks too to the many people, friends and strangers, who have sponsored Vocal Chords to the tune of £1000 (plus gift aid) on our virgin money giving page – this will remain available for another month, so if you haven’t donated anything to stop waterborne diseases in Africa yet, you still can.
We shouldn’t complain about the rain really, given we sang to Yemaya, goddess of the waters and since we are raising money to get water to people. It seemed quite appropriate that we were singing next to the Thames, in my lifetime that river has been cleaned from a dead, chemical soup to somewhere fish can safely swim, yet the water we are talking about kills children daily, because there is no other water to drink.
Water Aid put in a clean safe water supply somewhere ever 20 minutes, your Sing for Water money goes exclusively to the projects on the ground – you really are saving lives, please give us your dosh!
There are only ten days to go before Sing for Water, at the Mayor’s Thames Festival. Preparation chez nous has been a bit sporadic, as we’ve only been able to get to two of Vocal Chords rehearsals. However, we had an impromptu practice with a couple of friends on Tuesday, and might gatecrash a Nunhead Community Choir rehearsal tonight if there is one (lost the list of dates) and there’s one more VC evening we can make. Preparation apart from that has gone hand in hand with decorating the hall, bellowing along to Let Love Rain Down (my favourite) or Yemaya on the MP3 while sanding skirting boards, and more mellow carolling has happened to Moon River and Gmerto while painting the bannisters. What must the neighbours think!
If you would like to sponsor Vocal Chords for our contribution to Sing for Water, which raises money for WaterAid, to bring safe clean water to those who need it, you can donate via our virgin money giving page
We have raised £690 (£853.75 with gift aid) on the page so far, and it would be great to get that to £1000.
It would also be great if you can come and swell the audience on the day. 15th September 2.30ish. get there for 2 to be on the safe side, and get a seat, there will several hundred of us singing, so space for the audience gets quite tight!
Here are is a video clip and a photo of Vocal Chords doing their thing at the festival,- we were by the Mandela statue on Sunday at 1.
We also sang in the opening event.
A and I went to two workshops – Sea Shanties on Saturday , and on Sunday Rounds & Catches with the magnificent Mary King.
The festival continues today with a last chance to catch Ms King as this is the last event she is involved in at the South Bank. Mary will be much missed!
This weekend I’m singing. OK I know, I sing all the time, but this is in public, and at the South Bank Centre. The magnificent Chorus festival, a fixture for several years now over the May Bank Holiday, is on from Saturday to Monday, with warm-ups, rehearsals, workshops and performances.
YOU can join in! Download the sheet music for the three songs for the opening session, come along to a rehearsal on Saturday at 11 or 12, and sing your head off at 1pm.
This is also your last opportunity to work with the glorious Mary King at the South Bank because she’s leaving!!!! She’s leading some warm ups and a workshop of Elizabethan catches (I love a good catch). So come along and take the opportunity to say goodbye.
There are performances throughout the day and you can catch us, in our new guise of Vocal Chords, on the Mandela Stage, Festival Terrace, at 1pm on Sunday. Our friends Trade Winds are also performing, on Saturday, at 2:30, same place.
Vocal Chords are singing in St Pancras Station, London, opposite the National Ticket Office at 6pm this Friday, 22nd March. We are raising money for Water Aid by singing our favourite Sing For Water songs.
If you are on your way home from work, get a later train and stay and enjoy, and give generously!