We had two great performances in Summer 2013. First of all on June 30th we sang in Meersbrook Park’s slightly secret Walled Garden; and then four days later we hosted a concert in aid of the St Wilfrid’s centre for vulnerable adults.
We prepared several songs to sing in both venues and it’s interesting what challenges this throws up. For a start, one was outside and one was inside. When you’re performing in the open air the main thing is to make sure people can hear you. We had not thought about being sandwiched between two amplified performers on the programme but it meant the audience weren’t tuned in to our level of volume. Add in the gentle hubbub of people buying plants, drinking tea and running after small children, and many people could not hear us very well at all. For the second set we made an announcement over the PA at the beginning and got a bit closer to the audience which was more effective.
At the indoor concert we had lovely acoustics and an audience who were actually listening to us and not trying to do anything else simultaneously so we could explore a wider range of dynamics and expression. I think everyone who performed in both concerts felt that doing two quite close together helped them to feel competent and confident.
We also persuaded most of the audience to sing along with us for a couple of numbers at the beginning and end of the evening, which was – our aim as a choir is not to show off how incredibly skilful we are, because we’re not, but to show people what fun it is to sing and that with a bit of practice everyone can be part of vocal music-making.