Rain hopefully doesn’t stop play……..

The blog title refers to the fact that so many of our songs seem to be about sunshine – simply because the Nordoff Robbins Community Choir which I also run, told me I chose too many dour and miserable songs for them last year, so I seem to have gone too far in the other direction! Maybe an attempt to keep the optimism bubbling
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Tough night tonight – we had half the number we had weeks 1 and 2 and 12 is a difficult number as it means when you are singing in three parts you haven’t got much support around you. Everyone did really well and I am hoping that the fact that Andy Murray was playing tennis may have had something to do with it – also I am off on holiday to the Isle of Skye where I hope for some sunshine

I am hoping that those we haven’t seen for a few weeks do come back for the final session on July 17th, otherwise it is going to be a major job for me to make over a dozen phone calls and then posting out evaluation forms (hopefully some people will be able to do that electronically)

God seems to have become quite an issue. Really interesting, in my other life I am a shiatsu practitioner – this a form of Japanese bodywork based on traditional Chinese medicine, I also do yoga – my point – in Shiatsu if you treat the whole body you can quite easily pad up and down various parts and it is simply part of a body, if you focus on bottom as a bottom it suddenly becomes a no go area, rather than simply gluteus maximus, in yoga, if you focus on the bit that hurts that is all you can feel and are aware of. As I was specifically asked in my brief for this choir to be inclusive and to ensure songs are supported by the choir, I have got very conscious of songs which have religious connotation – in fact when I ran the wonderful impromptu taster session at Heathmere school with a group of mums, all with english as a second language and the majority with their heads covered, one lady asked me quite reasonably before we started “is this religious” and i said it wasn’t. Also so much in Roehampton is organised by the various churches and religious groups it really is the elephant in the room and it is beginning to bubble up a gentle debate. I like it though as in so many choirs those in the group get no choice about what they sing but I have to say I find it tough as a leader when I know there are believers and non believers and some get upset if I change words from religious to secular, viewed as a political correctness too far and others refuse to sing the word God or other worrying non Christians might be offended etc – I happen to know there is a vicar’s wife in the choir and some nuns as well as church goers and agnostics and non believers – it is a true reflection of our diversity as human beings but in all the years I have been doing this work (15) it is not something I have never encountered before & it is interesting

I will put some audio up soon – good unison SO much better than poor harmony and tweaking simply the support (ie singing using good low supported breath and body energy) and vowels turned “I can see clearly now” into something really wonderful – although there was a still a question of “Is this good enough” which prompted a heart felt response from me about who is the judge? For me, singing is always an expression of our true selves, connecting with words and music and singing with truth. Doing that with others as you get to know them better, others with similarly tough life issues (and like any other choir everyone has their life issues, it’s called being a human being) can be a wonderful thing and certainly the process and journey and hour to hour awareness surely so much more that the stress that can come with trying to reach some kind of “good enough” (by whose standards?) which has probably been prompted by our false perceptions fed by tv shows such as The Voice, and X factor, Britain’s got Talent etc – hey I love to watch them but not as a beacon of what singing is

I must remember to be in the process to and not to worry so about evaluation forms and outcomes and concerts and further funding but to remain fully present with who is in the room at the time and to facilitate as best I can – the August 4th performance will give us public face and hopefully pull in more numbers but mustn’t pull the rehearsals down as we strive for “perfection” when all we need is “expression”

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