A few of us from Real Voices went to a choir gig recently- 1) because we are music nerds ( no apologies, no shame) 2) because there would be drinking opportunities and 3) because...cheese alert...weactually DO like hanging out together outside of Real Voices!
We had a fantastic evening listening to an eclectic range of musical styles and songs- all great food for thought for a thriving choir like ourselves. Something that particularly struck me was how each act differed in their performance style - the way each shapedtheir connection with the audience. I hadn't really thought about it much with regard to musical performers and yet it s a kind of default when I am acting in anything - knowing the ways I can effectively engage with my audience to strengthen my delivery of a role e.g. bytotally eyeballing them if the partlends itselfor conversely being so much in character I might never look directly at them at all.
Whichever the route, theatre tends to gradually dripfeed it's audience an emotional drug and they in turn slowly debate and delay their own feelings as the story unfolds. Music by comparison always seems to deliver it's punchline straight to the heart, pretty much from the opening few bars. Like billowing smoke it spreads relentlessly towards you till you can't avoid breathing it in! At a very early point you make an important emotional decision-is it pungent, dense, cloying or is it fragrant, evocative, soothing, energising?
Almost instantaneously the emotional die is cast, your heart beats a little faster, you feel a surge of adrenalin and only after that does your attention turn back to the performers themselves. Aside of their musicianship, where are they in the performance? Some are cheekily smiling out at their audience sharing their obvious enjoyment, others are so completely immersed in the emotion of the words and the music they draw you in anyway - either way you feel the sincerity of the performance regardless of the style its delivered in - if they believe in it then the music makes an even deeper impact.
Standing in a circle of music last night rehearsing a new song, I glanced around - some of us had their eyes closed, some were gently swaying, some were smiling right at me! (doh-spinach on my teeth again....?) Several tweaks in, the song began to sound really impressive!
Wow I thought, just WOW! : 20 minutes of joint effort, respect, courage, encouragement - not too shoddy at all!!
And then I had another thought (I get them now and again) and that thought was....this is what Real Voices does so well – it's plainly obvious we have a solid mutual respect of each other that (without sounding cultish) seems to bring our focus together, feeds our musical challenges and produces stonkingly high calibre ensemble singing.
And actually the fact that many RV ers are not musically trained or don't have experience of performing (so thelearning curve has in many ways been much steeper) just goes to show the commitment and the talent that is there. Now THAT is being real isn't it and I'm sure it is the result of those challenges which add meaning to our performances!
Unapologetically finishing my musings with a cheesy (but honest) hashtag slogan: