Josie, one of our wonderful sopranos, shares a bit about her musical background and her thoughts on the first Real Voices session.
Since I was at school, I have always enjoyed partaking in musical activities (choir, musicals, competitions etc.). The first choir I joined after school was 'Voci dal Mondo' in Perugia, Italy. Voci dal Mondo - or - Voices of the World - is literally what the choir was: a bunch of people from countries around the world singing in different languages.
I moved to London about 3 years ago and I intended to find a choir, but, life just kept getting in the way. Studying. Working. Renovating. Four Moves. Personal projects. Etc. For a while, my musical outlet was the occasional jam with mates, but eventually I craved something more structured. I recently went in search of a local choir: a somewhat frustrating experience. These were held in small venues and though the directors were bubbly and the musical arrangements were quite simple, the sound the director elicited from the singers was mostly jumbled! I soon gave up and pursued other activities (more like commitments to further flat renovation and a second job!).
Literally the month my life calms down a bit, I get a message from my ridiculously-super-musical friend (Becky) saying she's starting a choir. A SIGN!
Upon my arrival to Real Voices - session 1, the first thing I noticed was how approachable everyone was. There was even a guy making tea for everyone (thanks Jonathan). Once we were all settled, Becky began the session. I should mention that I have known Becky since high school, and her comical, excitable, friendly manner had not changed a bit!
We started with some warm ups that left me laughing and accidentally hitting people I had just met (I'll have to concentrate harder on the actual warm up next time!). Our first piece, by Fleet Foxes, was taught by earrather than sight reading. This was rather refreshing for me, as I don't really read music. Next was a track by Paolo Nutini. I am not a huge fan of Paolo Nutini, but since last week I have played this particular song a million times and it is becoming a favourite song of mine. We ended on a high note (particularly the tenors/basses!) with an upbeat Peter Gabriel number, leaving everyone in a good mood. To top it all off, there was some serious face scoffing of delicious carrot cake that Tricia made; there was enough for about 30 people and I even smuggled an extra slice for myself! Face scoffage was followed by a quick trip to the pub for post choir drinks where everyone chatted to everyone; the good mood infectious.
Session 1 certainly had a lot of a lot of singing (obviously), a lot of giggles and a lot of nice sounds. The two hours flew by, and in a small about of time, progress was certainly palpable. The musical arrangements were great: all parts were given different components of the song, so there is a very satisfying degree of variation and challenge for each part (ie. each part gets a go at the good bits!) With clear direction from Becky, the harmonies were coming together very nicely!
I think after a couple of weeks of Real Voices, I will find it difficult to imagine not being part of a choir.