Last night, myself together with some of the other Tenor and Bass members of St James Choir started out helping out a choir in need.
In 2003 and 2005, the choirs of Ranelagh and The Holt have together put on a choral event at the Anvil in Basingstoke. As you may be aware, whilst Ranelagh is co-educational, The Holt is a girls school. This combined with the general imbalance between boys and girls in choirs anyway means that the Tenor and Bass lines in the choir is in numeric terms weak. This time, Ranelagh have 26 boys singing, but the choir is still looking for support, especially as the chosen piece for the performance, A Child of Our Time is particularly difficult in places. Since several of our choir members have either in the past, or presently have children at Ranelagh St James got a plea for help.
The first rehearsal was last night, and was a relatively high speed run through all the chorus parts, just enough so our conductor, Stephen Scotchmer could see which bits needed work. Alongside us and the Ranelagh boys there was also a significant contingent from Wokingham Choral Society too – and even better, some of them had sung A Child of Our Time too!
As for us from St James, the piece was new to us, so it was a decidedly interesting experience all round. However having the Wokingham Choral Society guys around really helped things along, and certainly Stephen seemed a lot less worried about the whole thing by the end of the two hour rehearsal than at the beginning.
The big night is Sunday 18th March, and we are being accompanied by the Basingstoke Symphony Orchestra – well actually if you look at the listing on the Anvil website, it’s the orchestra that get top billing… It also comments on the youth and vitality of the choir, so I guess we’ll be hiding away in the back row somewhere. Anyhow, tickets are available online, and it should be a spectacular concert. From my point of view it will certainly be great to sing in a large choir with a full orchestra accompanying us – a definite change from singing at Church.