Greetings from The Man At The Front

Hello everyone. I’m delighted to do my first blog post on the new CNCS website and I hope many will follow in the months ahead. What strange times we are in. I miss you all and feel empty without our Wednesday work outs. I can’t believe we have only missed two rehearsals since our ‘lock down’, but it is comforting to know that the rehearsal on March 11 was one of the most productive and energetic for a long time, so a fond memory to comfort us through the grizzly times until we meet again. There will be more and there WILL be a performance of the Rossini, whenever it comes.

At our last rehearsal we were buoyed by the ‘distinction’ awarded at the Music Festival on the previous Saturday – bravissimo! A great performance and everyone who sang it should be proud of a fine achievement – thank you. Phrases such as ‘a good blend’, ‘such relaxed enthusiasm matched with precision’, ‘rhythmically alert’ and ‘generous warm-hearted singing’ peppered the adjudicator’s comments.

Particularly noteworthy was You do watch’. I found this a pleasant surprise as it’s not something with which I am familiar. But it’s true, apparently, officially documented by an adjudicator. I accept that I am wrong to berate you for failing to look at me sufficiently in rehearsals and occasionally in concert and I’m truly sorry. I now doubt myself. Perhaps it’s just coincidence every Wednesday that we simply miss each other – you watch when I’m looking at my score, or maybe I blink and miss it? Anyway, no matter, you do watch and that’s official. Well done. Thank you.

Thinking ahead, to the good times when we are reunited, I wonder if we could come to an arrangement, and do it again? Maybe we could put in place a phased programme, starting with a reunion to relive past glory, on March 7th 2021 – ‘a Watch day’ perhaps? Once we are familiar with the process and our neck muscles are fully active, the training could increase so we achieve this once a month, preferably on a Wednesday evening, although I wouldn’t be that prescriptive. Ambitious though it sounds, the next stage would then be a weekly watch. If successful, and sufficiently coordinated with the rehearsal, we could somehow synchronise the watching quite frequently with some instruction from The Man At The Front  – loud bellowing perhaps? I’m aware of the limitations this will have in concert. Whatever the journey, I am supremely confident that with dedication over time we can make this work, resulting in fine performances.

I would normally be leaving home for a rehearsal about now – sad to be staying in and a strange feeling not to have any clue as to when we will next sing together. I’ve just spent 30 minutes watching Gareth Malone lead his third Great British Home Chorus session on youtube. Nick forwarded the link www.greatbritishhomechorus.com. It’s fun and GM does quite a good job. You might like to try something completely different and challenging which will keep you singing and give your body/brain a work out, look at www.nycos.co.uk/daily-activities. The material comes from a book called Singing games and rhymes for ages 9 to 99. I challenge you to get one of the songs and actions completely perfect!!

Technology is marvellous and it’s brilliant that we can all stay connected in some way and I hope you are finding satisfying connections, whether musical or not. There is nothing to beat being together in the same room, sharing a song and synchronising our hearts – technology will never replace that.

Sorry to over-work the ‘watching’ gag by the way, but as it is our watchword of the day I will end by saying watch out for each other and stay well.

Best wishes from The Man At The Front