Chorus lines

By | March 26, 2013 at 7:17 pm | No comments | LSO St Luke's 10th Birthday Festival Live Blog | Tags:

The next reality TV choir programme? I reckon I have an idea. How about an inter-London postcode competition, pitting north against south, East End against West?

Trouble is, EC1 will have a bit of a head start. 10 years’ head start, to be precise, since that is how long the LSO Community Choir has been going and although its membership is unauditioned, they all live or work in that district. And most districts don’t have one of the world’s top performing organisations, able to hire some of the world’s top choral training talent, to help them get together.

As I write, they, with conductor David Lawrence in charge, are winding up their rehearsal for tonight’s LSO St Lukes’s 10th birthday festival concert. It’s a programme designed to test a whole range of vocal skills: the choir must sing in a handful of languages and styles, and even get a brand new piece to sing, written especially for them. What’s more, Rachel Leach, who wrote a piece for the choir’s first ever concert, is not making it easy. In the same way that, say, Benjamin Britten would not simplify things even if he was writing for amateur or relatively inexperienced singers, she has come up with a highly idiosyncratic (that’s good, by the way) set of three songs.

Mind you, if you’re not a regular singer, most things are pretty new. Today, however, Lawrence treats them no differently from any choral society, starting with the 10 minutes of co-ordinated weird vocal jerks and exercises that are aimed at relaxing them. Can you imagine an orchestra being put through such a rigmarole? For some mysterious reason, singers seem happy enought to submit themselves to it. But I’ll leave an examination the vast cultural and behavioural differences between them and instrumentalists for another time…

In the meantime, just wait for that TV show. I’m telling you, it’ll be called Sing Wen You’re Winning or something…


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