It was the 4th September and I was procrastinating a little when I saw a friend’s status (I don’t always procrastinate on Facebook, but I was on this occasion). Anyone wanna learn how to sing barbershop? (boys only, although I can point ladies in the right direction) It’s a FREE six week singing course with a barbershop chorus, on a Tuesday night at 7.30pm in Mapperley, let me know if you’re interested.
When I messaged him to say I was tempted he encouraged me to go, telling me what a great bunch they are and when I said I was unsure about being able to sing he pointed out it was a learn to sing course.
So, shortly after I found myself standing on the risers warming up (this consisted of a few notes and what felt like a very complicated tag) before a few of us who were starting on week 2 were taken outside by the director to sing a few lines before he suggested what section we might sing in. Matthew and I had been discussing and we both felt I would probably be in base as my voice tends to go quite deep when I sing, so when the director suggested I might try baritone I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. It’s not only a little higher than I feel comfortable at, but involves quite a lot of switching from low to high. Naïve or not I was also surprised by how few real words there were for my section. As well as missing the first week I missed week 3 due to illness, so on week 4 which was effectively my second lesson I felt really behind. I couldn’t remember when to ahhh or when to doooo but I stuck with it and practised hard for our mini concert at the end of week 6’s lesson. Us learners got to sit in the audience for the first half as the established chorus treated us to a great version of Java Jive and then a couple of quartets sang, followed by a moctet. Before I knew it nerves were kicking in and it was our turn to get into place. I stood as I had done in every practice in front of and to the right of our section leader figuring if anyone’s voice could keep me in tune it would be his. Before I knew it we had rattled through I’m sitting on top of the world and were ready to start the much harder technically What’ll I do? As the director queued us up I felt really nervous and almost lost my belief that I could reach the notes in the Photograph verse. Then we were off and I forgot everything we had been told about breathing, and just concentrated on the director, and for the first time I really felt the song. It was all I could do to keep my own emotions in check and before I knew it I was lamenting the loss of my imagined love one, as I hope the audience were.
Now the course is over I have to decide if I’m going to go back next Tuesday and continue rehearsals before I have to commit to auditioning for the chorus proper. I found out today we get 3 attempts, but that the audition is in the format of a quartet. I’m undecided as yet as I’d be hugely embarrassed if I don’t pass the audition. I’ll keep you posted.