Tag Archives: SomeVoices

Sometimes you gotta sing…..44/100

Many years ago, my friend Sarah and I joined the adults choir at our boys’ school, for the Christmas Concert. It was a disaster. There is nothing quite so unintentionally hilarious as incurring the wrath of a 13 year old chorister whose seat in the stalls you have taken, especially when your grasp of the music on the night is shaky. Strangely, we weren’t invited back. We may have retired from public performance, but we have not yet given up our choir singing dreams.

So I was delighted when, as my daughter and I exited the church after the fabulous R&J screening (On R&J with Choir 40/100),  a leaflet was pressed into my hands. An invite to see/join Some Voices choir for a Bowie/all about space, gigantic sing along at Electric Brixton, entitled Across the Universe: in space, everyone can hear you sing. How could Sarah and I not go? And stand right up front!

The bar was doing a brisk business when we arrived and lots and lots of very young things were everywhere,  wearing all white with neon face paint. For a few horrible minutes I thought I had missed the missive, both in terms of costume and age. But thankfully no, these were the choir members, doing some pre-show milling. And there were plenty of people in the significantly older age bracket than us. Many of them sitting down! Relatives of the performers, clearly, but nothing to suggest we weren’t as well. So all was ok.

IMG_20160422_201446_editThe choir filed on stage, robotic in a delightful 80s music video sort of way. And then began the ballad no one has been able to resist of late….Ground Control to Major Tom…..and we were off. Crooning our little hearts out to Bowie, and Elton John and anyone else who had had the good sense t0 write a song about space. The accompaniment was organized by a Prince lookalike with ultra cool demenour. In complete contrast to the conductor. Young, female and blond, she put an aerobics instructor (still in the 80s theme…) to shame. She was pure energy, leaping, arms pumping the air, barely contained on her little platform. IMG_20160422_211022_editAnd when she sang the opening lines of “Fly Me to the Moon” in a rich, soulful voice..wow, passionate and talented. Fantastic.

And then I was shushed by the girl in front of me. To be fair, for talking not singing, but still,  I did feel rather sheepish. I didn’t utter another word all night, but we did keep singing, if in a slightly softer tone.

The choir left the stage to thunderous applause. We were invited to stay to for a Prince tribute. We didn’t.  I have loved Prince for more than 33 years. He was my first true fan experience and the feeling has never faded. So while I throughly enjoyed my time with these young, enthusiastic singers, didn’t think it quite the right crowd with whom to belt out Little Red Corvette….

That said, would happily join them again. Maybe even, with enough time gone, for a evening dedicated to his purple majesty. In the meantime, should any of you dear readers fancy joining a “choir without the boring bits” or desire some fabulous singing for an event, these are your voices.

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On R+J with choir…Shakespeare anniversary begins 40/100

IMG_20160409_193023Some of the best ideas are the simple ones. Want to share a fav film with friends?   Tack up a sheet in a London garden, crack open some beers and let Backyard Cinema be born. 4 years on, these are the perfect people to host Shakespeare’s classic tale reworked for the MTV generation. This spring not only marks the 20th anniversary of Baz Juhrmann’s Romeo+Juliet…how can it have been that long! It is also the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. And London has great plans in store. So what better way to start my own Shakespeare-adoring fest than here, on a comfy couch, generously poured G&T in hand, in the beautiful St Mary’s Church in Marylebone, which has been decorated to resemble the church in the film. And a choir. A real choir. IMG_20160409_194744Some Voices Sing Choir.  Oooh what a choir. Backyard Cinema, you are genius. But then you are London.

I am not one for the cinema. And I know nothing of films; I leave it to my film friend aficionados to let me know which are good and which aren’t, and then I never see either. Except in a few cases, and those I love beyond sense. And this is one of them. R+J. Loud, brash and at times ridiculous, but so is this story of self-obsessed, indulgent, impulsive teenage lovers of the foolish grand gesture. And Leo and Claire are just so young and beautiful. It is, of course, Mercutio, who is the star of this tale, charming, witty, braggart and in this instance, in drag. Fabulously in drag. It’s pretty short too, even some of the more famous speeches have been cut. But that is the prerogative of every director of Shakespeare throughout the ages, and it is the breakneck speed of this production, accompanied by an often throbbing soundtrack that reminds us that this is less a story of romance than one of pointless brutality and mindless violence.IMG_20160409_203025_edit And tonight we get it all, with a choir. As the previously boisterous crowd quiets, and the newscaster explains “In fair Verona, where we lay our scene…..a pair of star cross’d lovers take their life,” the choir, in red robes, holding candles, processes, and in full operatic voice begin “Oh Verona.” Mesmerizing.

They didn’t accompany the entire soundtrack, only featured in few of the favourites. Sadly, this didn’t include “When Doves Cry,” which I really would have loved to hear sung live. And then, in the final moments, as the lovers end their lives, his with poison, hers with gunshot to the head, the choir begins a slow, thoughtful version of Radiohead’s Creep.

Not in the original film, (orchestral music fills the silence) but WOW did it work. “You are special, so fucking special, I wish I were special…” I felt chills that were more than just the melancholy of watching a well know tragedy. Suddenly, this film wasn’t just about the waste of this young couple, but the waste of human life throughout the world…such is the power of words. Such is the power of song. Sung by a choir. I think Mr. S would have loved it.