Views From The Rear — chippingnortonjonnie

I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky
I left my copy of Rossini there, I wonder if its dry.

No – not Masefield or Milligan. Just a lonely second bass who has now relegated himself to fourth bass due to a serious lack of vocal activity since March. Can you blame me? I wait on every word from the wonderfully energetic and supportive committee hoping against hope that we may resume our endeavours.

But alas – aerosol particles of indeterminant size seem to be our warders as the poor old scientific community battle it out with the virus and sadly, often amongst themselves. Yet as the eternal optimist I took myself and other related bubbles off to Cornwall for a week of sun, sea and pasties only to find most of the rest of England down there trying to avoid the extremes of Storm Alex and insulting the locals by daring to choose the cheese and onion pasty option.

And worse – with the freedom of the first of October, allowing their varied genetically modified and uncontrollable canibus to leave multiple petite messe [!] solenelle all over the once occupied sand. I ask you!

It was not all gloom and despondency – far from it. High on a hill in the bright sunshine you could watch all of the ‘Doc Martin’ fans stroll around Port Isaac itemising all the significant buildings and places of accidents/illnesses. Instead of buying them to enhance your singing, you could wander into a local gift shop and actually talk to a real Fisherman’s Friend [lovely modest guy too] and if all else fails you could count how many people had put a facemask on their dog – I joke not!

You may start to pick up a sense of mental anguish from these comments but rest assured dear reader they are just deflections from wanting to add further scurrilous comments about the first basses or fivers and yet I have to admit I miss them dearly....

So having used up all my RSPB & RNLI jigsaws, read all my outstanding paperbacks, painted every piece of garden furniture ready for the winter [even washing all the covers], hoovered the car and made endless buckets of stewed apple, I leave you with the daily wonder of crosswords!

Solve this if you dare: Troubled punter, the boss [5,4]

Just saying..................................

Continue ReadingViews From The Rear — chippingnortonjonnie

Views from the Rear — chippingnortonjonnie

It is perhaps hard to realise the immense strain that the second basses are under constantly during rehearsals and in concerts.

We can hear the elegantly voiced tunes from the sopranos; the frighteningly accurate and harmonic pulse of the altos; the stratospherically cultured pitch of the tenors; the Italian ice-cream inspired baritone of the first basses; and then us.

We smile confidently when we have to sing a pedal note especially if it is 90 bars long as it gives us time to get to the same note together over the first 45 bars. It means we do not have to worry about our breathing (the small apostrophes above the relevant bar written with one of our seven pencils – each). We can now confidently look at Peter for a disturbingly long period disrupted only by the sudden realisation that the pedal note should have stopped 20 bars previously.

We have learnt to lean slightly right as the altos often have our note but become distracted by the haircuts of the first basses and tenors and their remarkably co-ordinated ear movements (especially the unshaven ones).

Yet we are not without mischief. We are the ones that boo quietly when the tenors win the raffle. We are the ones who fling the back door open to cool our strained voice boxes only to be thwarted by those of a more temperate nature and disposition. We are the ones who pretend to swap places at half time. We are the ones who scan our musical copies to see if the double basses and cellos can give us our notes on a regular basis. We are the ones who cease singing during the warm-up when notes drift past the ceiling-limited sanctuary of middle C.

And yet we feel we belong. ‘Gravitas’ is our watchword and we are the foundation on which all other voices descend although in the words of other authors and not I.........

‘Never invite a second bass to look after your dog when you are on holiday. They will either fail to find the key or come in far too early or far too late.’

Just saying..................................

Continue ReadingViews from the Rear — chippingnortonjonnie

Live Piano Streams

Susannah has suggested the following (clicking either link at 2pm on Saturday should take you to the live stream)

2pm UK time Saturday 28 March

Deutsche Grammophon marks #WorldPianoDay. In the label’s tradition of recording the world’s greatest pianists, we present live performances from living rooms around the world. Confirmation coming in from Víkingur ÓlafssonMaria João PiresJan LisieckiKit Armstrong and many more…Stay tuned! #StayatHome

Continue ReadingLive Piano Streams

Update 24th March

As per our members’ mail, we’re pleased to announce Rossini is now only postponed! Plans are to have the concert on Saturday October 17th 2020 – situation permitting. In the meantime – here’s a non-musical challenge to while away some time today (courtesy of Innocent Smoothie social media) …

Arrange your herbs and spices in order of how full they are.

PS Just hang on to your Rossini scores (and keep gently practising!)

Continue ReadingUpdate 24th March

COVID-19 Update 11th March

The latest developments in the spread of the new Coronavirus and contradictory advice have understandably increased people’s levels of concern over whether rehearsals should be continuing at this time. The government advice does not state that cancelling is necessary yet, so we will go ahead with rehearsals as before. Making Music’s current advice is along similar lines. Please follow their points and wash your hands for 20 seconds before rehearsal and if you need to sneeze or cough, do it into a tissue, bin it then wash your hands. If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your flexed elbow. Making Music also suggest no handshakes or kissing although the government does not yet advise against handshakes – witness the contradictory advice!

We understand that individuals may increasingly decide to no longer attend and we fully respect these decisions. 

As before we also ask that anyone feeling unwell, with a high temperature, respiratory problems or flu-like symptoms not to attend, until you are better. Please also do not attend if you have recently returned from a high-risk area.

Continue ReadingCOVID-19 Update 11th March

Notice re: Coronavirus

Dear Singers,

In light of the recent developments re: Coronavirus we would like to encourage singers to continue to come to rehearsals (if feeling well) but for us all to take sensible precautions to protect ourselves and each other by following the current government guidance. This includes the oft repeated advice around frequent and thorough handwashing and ensuring that when coughing or sneezing you cover your nose with a flexed elbow or a tissue.

If you do feel unwell or are experiencing a high temperature, respiratory problems or flu like symptoms please do not attend rehearsals until you feel better.

The committee will be keeping the situation under review and will issue a further statement if the situation changes.

Thanks to all and safe singing!

Continue ReadingNotice re: Coronavirus

Carols & Christmas Programme

Following up from the rehearsal pointers provided by Susannah, please note that we will perform all of the “On Christmas Night” by Bob Chilcott. Full running order (with where you will find the music) as follows:-

Ring the BellsBooklet
The Holly and the Ivy (folk)Booklet
Joy to the WorldCfC p242
The Holly and the Ivy (Chris Brown)Separate Score
The Boar’s Head CarolBooklet
When the Sun’s RebornBooklet
Bleak Midwinter (popular version)Booklet
Ding Dong Merrily on HighLearnt by rote
Jingle BellsCfC p73
The Holly and the IvyLearnt by rote
On Christmas Night (all of it)Scores
O Little Town of BethlehemCfC p234
Joy to the World (popular version)Booklet
O Come All Ye Faithful (vv 1, 2 &4 with descant)CfC p226
We Wish You A Merry ChristmasCfC p164 or unison

There will also be some harp and flute solos and some readings.

Carols in Chastleton will be on Saturday 7th December starting at around 10:30am.

Continue ReadingCarols & Christmas Programme

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