Old friends and new

David Condry, Edward McMullan, Toby Young, Christopher O'Gorman

David Condry, Edward McMullan, Toby Young, Christopher O’Gorman

This week, I was delighted to have the opportunity to sing with two former colleagues (and friends) from the Minster Choir, and make a new singing friend, while rehearsing informally at All Hallows’, Gospel Oak. The aim of the session with Edward McMullan, David Condry and Toby Young was to explore the sound we make as a group with a view to singing together more frequently in the future. It was wonderful to take our time singing through a vast array of music from Perotin to Palestrina and Brumel to Bryars with a bit of Dowland thrown in for good measure, without the pressure of having to reach a performance goal.

It was fascinating how the choice of music influenced the way we sang. We were familiar with many of the styles of the sacred music chosen (if not the notes) because of our collective background in choral music within a cathedral/college setting. However, listening back showed that while we sang beautifully, the performance was not very exciting. When we began to sing secular music however, this became a while new ball game. We were no longer constrained by what we have been told for years is the correct way of singing a particular style and were able to take far greater riskes. The lesson learnt was that similar risks have to be taken in a small ensemble setting no matter what the repertoire.

The outcome of all of this is that it was an extraordinary musical (and social!) experience, and we are motivated to do more! Step 2 of the process will be to create a couple of programmes based on the strengths of the group that were discovered this week. Step 3 will then be to rehearse these thoroughly in the hope that we can (Step 4) perform them live in a variety of settings. The other crucial task between steps 3 & 4 is to come up with a name for the group which is currently affectionately know as ManChoir! Suggestions on a postcard…

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