|Enjoying good food and good company|
It was quite fabulous that Greater Manchester did its best trick: it poured with rain and we got quite damp. No problem. It can be exactly the same in Copenhagen. We all say: no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. So we set off for Ordsall Hall in raincoats and with umbrellas. Quite fabulous too that these lovely people stayed just on the edge of the Ordsall estate where it all began for the Ordsall A Cappella Singers.
ReChoired sing both a cappella and accompanied. They have 22 members. Their repertoire includes jazz, gospel, pop, motown, soul and well-known Danish songs. Conductor Peter Bom often arranges the songs for them.
They came to sing and be with us from 19 to 21 October.
Yes, we became tour guides. One of our lovely sopranos, Helen Taylor, coordinated all of this beautifully and they quickly felt at home. Others chipped in and helped with the guided tours, tea, lunch, directions and much more. Thanks to everyone who helped make this a smooth and fun trip.
Ordsall Hall was a-buzz with a school group, another big party and ourselves. Yet we also spoke of what the acoustics were like, where we stood to sing and how we "closed down" the hall before it was restored. You have to know about Lowry if you come to Salford and Lowry gives us a good impression of what the old Salford was about. It was too wet for a walk around the sculpture trails that gives the full story of the Ship Canal but we had a good view of the Manchester United Stadium, the Imperial War Museum and the canal itself from the Lowry.
We also toured the city centre on Friday, getting very wet but having a great time anyway - ReChoired were particularly taken with the Town Hall, which was described as ‘magical’ and led to much 'bee-spotting’ around the rest of the tour. We also spent time at the Central Library, Royal Exchange Theatre (for a coffee and cake break naturally, and to get dry before going out in the rain again!) and the Cathedral, ending up with lunch in the Corn Exchange.
We thoroughly introduced ReChoired to the Manchester tram network, which delighted them as Copenhagen ‘only’ has buses, underground trains and ferry boats between islands. They were steadfastly cheerful in the teeth of Storm Brian and very generous with their appreciation of our own music.
Yes, quite right that they saw Salford first. Quite right too that we introduced them to some of the bars: Elnecot on Thursday and Kro Bar on Friday. Then there was http://www.refugemcr.co.uk/ after Kro closed. Vapiano was the venue for a meal on Saturday evening, followed by The Briton’s Protection where ReChoired delighted everyone in the pub with a mini concert and then, after they collected some new Canadian fans who were in Manchester for a music convention, they went on to Via.
We might have even said that we offered them a tour of the local churches: St Ninian's for our rehearsal on Friday, St Peter's Chaplaincy for our joint concert also on Friday and Brunswick Church for our joint workshop. Did this tour bring miracles? A ReChoired voice that was lost came back in St Ninian's. Some fabulous sounds happened in St Peter's. There were more good sounds the next day in Brunswick and a delicious spread, including freshly made pizza, for lunch, all of which seemed to come from nowhere. Maybe it was the hot tea, the enthusiasm of both choirs and that uncanny way that those sorts of meals always work. Maybe those are miracles anyway.
|Rehearsing together at St Ninian's|
Of course the music was the main point. ReChoired brought along a delightful repertoire. It was great to sing Kiss From a Rose with them and have them join us for One Day Like This at the concert.
Singing together the next day was really special. We enjoyed two slightly different warm-ups form Jeff and Peter. Jeff taught us (Everything I Do) I Do It for You, arranged by Kirby Shaw with whom we are so familiar and Peter introduced us to Riverside, his evocative arrangement of an Agnes Obel song. Then it was time for Christmas songs with bright arrangements of Sleigh Ride and Jingle Bells. Both directors emphasised brightness, communication and finishing off phrases together.
Sure, there are differences between the two choirs. ReChoired auditions, we don't. Their average age is lower than ours. They deliberately keep quite small whereas now we are quite big. Actually, though, as always with these international exchanges, there is more that is similar than is different. Goodness, we even both rehearse on a Tuesday evening and have cake in the break. Naturally we all love to sing and we both benefit from a musical director who is strict but motivating and has a great sense of humour.
|ReChoired perform for us at our workshop|
Our workshop finished with a lovely surprise. We were presented with copies of ReChoired's CD. I'm listening to it as I write.
A lovely occasion all round.