For the past 5 weeks, I have had the pleasure of touring with Cantabile – The London Quartet in the American Midwest. The tour encompassed 19 dates in different cities across 7 States (with a brief jaunt back to Germany for a show in Wunsiedel). As you can imagine, this means we covered several thousand miles in the car (6,700ish) as well as racked up 8 flights worth of airmiles.
Our programme was a celebration of harmony groups from the twentieth century through to the present day. This included songs by groups such as The Mills Brothers, The Manhatten Transfer, The Beach Boys, Billy Joel, The Comedian Harmonists and Prelude to name but a few. We also performed arrangements that have recently been published in TLQ’s Great British A Cappella Songbook!
The several challenges for me of performing this music began with having to memorise the majority of it. This is not something I have had to do very often and I found the thought rather daunting. However, after sever hours on my own and several more in a hugely supportive rehearsal environment with the group, I was able to crack it. Even with a dress rehearsal though, nothing can quite prepare one for the first performance off copy. It was an extremely exhilarating moment for me, and one that continued from show to show as we settled into it.
The show in Germany was a showcase for Peter Martin Jacos’ A Cappella Nacht where we shared the stage with the German group SixPack and The House Jacks from America who are credited as being the first a cappella rock group to use a beatboxer. Both of these groups were amazing; fantastic musicians and really brilliant entertainers. It was also really interesting to hang out with The House Jacks afterwards and find out about their various other musical activities. These are all very busy and influential guys, and it was a pleasure to meet them.
For me, the highlight of the whole touring experience was the people I was able to meet and work with along the way. It was fantastic to get to know Richard, Mark and Mike over an extended period and I look forward to drinking with them again in the future. It was also great to meet so many interesting and knowledgeable members of the audience, many of whom have followed The London Quartet for a number of years. I hope some of those who were newly introduced to the group will continue to support and follow them too. I certainly look forward to keeping in-touch with them and seeing what gems they have in store for the future. You can follow them on twitter @thelondon4tet and via their blog.
While on the road, I was also able to dream up some new projects of my own that I will talk about in more detail in due course. Do keep a regular eye on this news page and my twitter feed (@cpogorman) for some exciting announcements soon.