Last night we had the final rehearsal for the Basingstoke Symphony Orchestra/Ranelagh and Holt School Choir concert which myself and four others from the bass and tenor lines at St James are helping out with.
Last night was the first occasion when everybody was sat in their allocated seats for the concert. The choir in total seems to number about 200 people, the majority being alto or soprano. Bass and tenor, including us and some help from Wokingham Choral Society only comes to about fifty people.
As I’d been allocated the first bass part, I’ve managed to end up sat right on the very front row of the choir – so no chance of me being able to hide up the back. Since the rest of the Ranelagh boys are also allocated to first bass, there is only one other guest singer on first bass with me, with all the other guests split between second and third bass, with a similar situation in the tenor line.
In my seat, on one side I have the other guest first bass, who unfortunately is adjacent on the other side to the guest first tenors – who not surprisingly can be a bit off-putting when trying to follow the bass line. The theory is that the rest of the first basses should be giving enough of a lead to hold us on track, however on the other side of me is one of the Ranelagh boys who based on the rehearsal last night is your archetypal young person with a talent for singing, but who knows it! When he actually was singing he had a good voice, and was pretty well note perfect, however a lot of the time he was either chatting with his friends sat next to him, or flirting with a couple of the girls on the front row of the soprano line. There were actually three or four points in the rehearsal where one of the teachers had to stop the rehearsal to tell him off – something which has happened in the preceding rehearsals too. He also had a tendency to sing the most interesting part in certain places, so at times when I was trying to keep with the other first basses who were all along the front row, as opposed to the second and third basses behind us I realised he was singing second or third bass instead, and on one occasion was even singing the tenor part. So with him on one side, and the tenors on the other, it was amazing that I managed to stick as much as I did to my part. Apparently the vocal parts are all mirrored in the orchestra most of the time, so hopefully it should be fairly straightforward to follow those instead if need be.
The big day is Sunday, when we spend the afternoon at the Anvil rehearsing with the orchestra, and then go on stage in the evening. It should be an exciting evening – and the first time in a long while I’ve sung in such a big choir with a full orchestra. Tickets are still available from the Anvil box office on 01256 844244.