We had an awesome Summer Sing open evening. Huge thanks to Carmello, Guy and Martin for taking time to come along and learn the song "Come Fly with Me" with us. It was great to sing with you. Hope you enjoyed it too and that we'll see you again soon.
Capital Chorus sang at Ham Fair. Thanks to the many people who showed their appreciation and stayed to watch our 45 minute performance. A poignant moment as this was almost certainly our last public performance with Pippa Goodall as our musical director, and a very pleasant and happy day out.
The second May Bank Holiday is a time of excitement for our chorus, but it's nearly always tinged with a sense of trepidation too. The weekend marks the annual convention of the British Association of Barbershop Singers; two and a half thousand people converging for four days of celebration and song in close harmony. For many it's akin to Barbershop Heaven.
The focus for our singers at Convention takes place on Saturday, when 35 choruses, comprising more than a thousand singers in all, compete for a series of prizes in a nationwide competition. Last year Capital Chorus won the "m0st entertaining chorus" trophy with a set which included a rip-roaring performance of the Disney song "Gaston". But how to follow it in 2019 - that was a question which kept us awake on more than a few nights.
In the end our musical director Pippa Goodall, backed by the chorus's music team, decided that choreography and bravura physical performance could take a back seat this year while the chorus further honed its core singing skills. Pippa and the team chose two songs to learn for the contest. Our uptune would be a very demanding David Wright arrangement of the Stephen Sondheim number "Everything's Coming Up Roses" from the musical "Gypsie" . Our ballad, meanwhile, would be "I'll See You In My Dreams", a song first penned in the 1920s by the composer Isham Jones, and for which we commissioned a beautiful new treatment from the young British barbershop arranger Sam Hubbard.
Our preparations included work with two distinguished coaches, Rob Mance and Simon Arnott, and on the day at Convention we did indeed improve our singing score from the previous year, Overall the nine judges placed Capital Chorus 13th out of 35 competitors, achieving 67.4 per cent of the available marks.
Members of West London's leading male barbershop choir recently joined thousands at the London Marathon, singing and cheering on competitors and entertaining spectators.
Weather forecasts are something we mostly take for granted, but there are days when they can bring on feelings of anxiety and trepidation. I’m sure this is true for the thousands of dedicated athletes and fundraisers who run the London Marathon each year, but it’s also the case if you plan to spend five hours beside the course, singing and cheering the competitors on their way.
For the past few years the organisers of one of the world’s premier sporting events have invited Capital Chorus to provide entertainment on the day for runners and spectators alike. Our pitch is in Docklands, beside the 18-mile marker. With so many high-rise buildings the streets can feel like canyons, and the winds that barrel along them can be seriously chilly.
But this year’s cold weather was a small price to pay for such a fabulous view of this exciting event. The first people to power past were the elite wheelchair athletes, followed by the world’s top male and female marathon runners, who set the pace for the thousands more who follow, among them those valiant fun-runners, pounding their way around the course in an imaginative array of eye-catching costumes. Who could fail to be awed by this magnificent parade of human endeavour, and by the fabulous atmosphere which surrounds it.
Perhaps that’s why the day flies by so quickly. The chorus sang a half-hour-long set of songs five times, beginning every hour, on the hour, between 10am and 2pm. It was the perfect place to use the techniques we hone each week to improve our breathing, and to project our voices without straining them. In earlier years some of us found we’d all-but-lost our voices by the end, but not this time. It seems all that effort on Monday nights is paying off. And it all felt so worthwhile when runners themselves gave us a cheery wave as they passed. One or two even stopped to listen and catch their breath for a moment or two. We were able to offer encouragement and we hope we helped just a little to lift their spirits and recharge their batteries as they bounded onwards for the last eight miles towards the finish line.
The Chorus feels privileged to have been asked to sing once again for the London Marathon. We’re among a number of musical and vocal groups to entertain along the course, and it’s always a very rewarding day out. For a sense of the atmosphere why notwatch this short video. And if you missed us at the marathon, then why not come and see our next public performance. We’ll be singing on Saturday June 8th at Ham Fair near Richmond.