Hopefully, we will enjoy another Come and Sing Day next year in February 2021. Look out for details next Autumn.
Review Spring workshop 2020 On the one hand – on the other hand A tenor’s view of things Of the seventy eight choristers who stood up to sing Fauré’s Requiem in Hathersage Methodist Church on February 15, thirty eight were members of Hathersage Choir and forty were visitors, members of other choirs or of none. The visitors were mostly from Derbyshire villages, roughly south of a line from Hathersage to Furness Vale and west of a line from Hathersage to Chellaston.
Setting off on a cold, wet Saturday morning demands commitment. The longest journey undertaken by any of our guests was the seventy miles each way, from Metheringham in Lincolnshire to Hathersage. On their return home, Jayne, one of the two Metheringham singers, sent a delightful letter which begins;
"The organisation was excellent, I knew exactly where to park, was met at the door by a friendly face and shown where to go and what to do with coats, bags and all.The Hathersage people went out of their way to make us welcome. Even special touches like fresh flowers on the tables. The catering was superb, and very welcome. Kind people made extra coffee for two thirsty travellers." [The journey was not uneventful, evidently.]
Jayne’s comments on the music are; "The director was superb, very warm and encouraging but she could see exactly what needed improving and told us how to do it with humour and charm. She obviously knew the piece inside out, could sing every part but wore her knowledge lightly. By the end of the day she had licked us into something that sounded like a choir."
"The accompanist was quite marvellous, quietly got on with a difficult job of making us sound as good as possible and cheerfully (or at least uncomplainingly) played the same notes over and over until we got it right."
There are two labels for events like this one. The title “Come and Sing” promises a day that, through the shared experience of music, fosters friendship between choirs and friendship between choristers. The title “Workshop” promises a structured experience that contributes to an ongoing striving after quality. The two approaches to the day are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, as is shown by Jane’s letter, you can’t have one without the other.
Review Spring workshop 2019 Together A tenor’s view of things
A choral workshop is an event complete in itself. It is not the culmination of weeks of rehearsal, it is not an early, tentative, step in the preparation of the piece. Those who are there on the day experience the entire thing together, from putting out the chairs to putting them away again. (Kate and Carole can’t look at it like that of course, they have hours of preparation before the day, as do the guest soloists. Our thanks to them.) As Haydn’s Nelson Mass drew to a close there was a shout of delight. The small audience, half a dozen or so friends of the choir, evidently enjoyed the piece but putting on a show was not really the purpose of the day. It was not the audience that generated the volume of applause. The title, “workshop”, implies that something serious, something constructive is going on. And so it is. To bring a substantial piece of music to the point where it can be offered with confidence to an audience, however small, in five hours, demands detailed knowledge of the score and a carefully thought out learning process on the day. The audience has a task in this. They authenticate the day’s work, set implicit targets in respect of time and quality and bring the day to a close in, we hope, a congratulatory manner. But something else was going on. The workshop, like all successful workshops, was a celebration. More than just a collection of individuals, a successful choir is a community. The choir, Kate, Carol and the guest soloists were expressing their shared sense of the exhilaration that comes when everything coheres. Many, perhaps most of the choir were singing this mass for the first time. In our applause we expressed our glee at successfully concluding the challenge of the day. And we asserted, exuberantly, the capacity of song to establish and maintain links between people. That was what the shout was about. When choral singing gels, such exuberance is entirely justified.