Intensive coaching weekend puts chorus flat on our backs

Intensive coaching weekend puts chorus flat on our backs
Type of post: Chorus news item
Status: Current
Date Posted: Wed, 17 Apr 2019

OK, so was it man-flu, or maybe the desire for a much-needed post-lunch siesta which led so many of our members to take up a horizontal position during our annual singing retreat? The event, held every year just before Easter, is an opportunity for members of Capital Chorus to take a weekend away together and work on aspects of our performance skills, and this year our guest-coach, Simon Arnott, was keen to demonstrate the power that the correct singing posture could add to our voices. 

As Simon told us, with singing the alignment of the body to its optimum position is particularly important. Paying close attention to the position of the feet, knees, hips, abdomen, neck and head can improve the sound, while using the abdominal muscles to support breathing can help sustain notes and prevent singers from "trailing-off" at the end of phrases. One way of helping to find the best possible alignment is to lie down, using the floor for support - it certainly gave us a new perspective on our hobby, and it was remarkable how much difference it could make to the strength and clarity of individual performers. 

As a singer, composer, arranger and director of two exceptionally talented and successful choruses, Meantime and the London City Singers, Simon Arnott brought a wealth of experience to share with us. He and our own musical director, Pippa Goodall, worked us hard during a very rewarding two days at our retreat hotel just outside London.  This was our fourth annual chorus retreat. Past coaches have included some of the most well-known and accomplished names in British Barbershop including John Palmer, Zac Booles and Kirsty Williams, and after the day's efforts are completed there is always plenty of time during the evening to relax, socialise and maybe even sing some more. 

As one of West London's leading male voice a cappella choirs we'll certainly be putting what we learned from Simon to good use when we appear at upcoming events including The London Marathon and Ham Fair, We're also hoping the weekend will help us perform well in one of the highlights of our year, the men's chorus contest at the annual convention of the British Association of Barbershop Singers, which takes place in Bournemouth at the end of May.