Friday, 12 June 2009

Concerted effort no.1 in C mynah

I arrive at my destination, no thanks to any information found on the internet, which shows the church as being somewhere else, again no road name.
A few other people have arrived at 4.15pm. Church is locked and the parish rooms where we are to leave our stuff is also locked.

We wander about a bit like in a Spike Milligan sketch. We should be saying “Qu’est-ce que nous allons faire maintenant” (What are we going to do now) repeatedly whilst moving sideways in time to the words, one step per phrase.
Where is the wedding? I ask. Remembering that our afternoon rehearsal on site was cancelled due to a wedding. Oh, the wedding is at a church in another village, they tell me………
We eventually gain access to all areas and the three line whip, 5pm rehearsal starts at 5.15pm……. After all it isn’t as though we need the practice…
The acoustics are shockingly bad. I can hear the piano and harmonium, one of the tenors and one of the sopranos. It is like singing all on my own.
The men are standing on little wobbly, plank platforms, covered in loose, red material. Health and safety regulations do not apply here. We rehearse for at least an hour and then disperse, whilst the soloists do some practicing.

I go up into the organ loft and see inside the famous organ and the organ itself.
I eat my sandwich in the sunshine and wander about taking some photos of the locale and choir members. Finding an old well, a replica church complete with clock stuck to the front of a house, and, of course there is a windmill hidden behind a hill at the back of the church.

People start getting changed into their togs. Soloists have one room, the men another and the women get changed in the room which has the food in.
Members of the public start to arrive and by the time we carry out our rehearsed entrance from the back of the church and onto the staging, the church is about half full. Of course we get applauded on our journey.
I don’t know if any of you have ever listened to Rossini’s Petit messe solennellle but. The choir sings a bit, The soloists sing for about 20 minutes, the choir sings for a bit, soloists, piano, harmonium, choir sings a bit etc.
The choir sings for about 40 minutes in total, while the others sing or play for about 50 minutes.
I suggest that you rig yourself up a wobbly plank on two blocks of stone and stand on it for 90 minutes without moving about or getting off it, while the music plays in the background.
It is murder on the legs. One of the younger (in late 40’s probably) ladies in the choir left the stage and disappeared out of the church about half way through. Some others swayed alarmingly.
We got through it, is all I’m saying. The audience seemed happy, so that’s the main thing.
We dismantle the staging and the harmonium and load everything into a van.
Then it is back to the parish rooms to change, eat and drink etc. Being a lightweight, I left at about midnight for the drive home.

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