I’m sure you’ve all been waiting for an update on this weekend’s charity concert. No? Well, you’re getting one anyway. When I last blogged about our gigs, I told you that our esteemed musical director, Craig, had seen fit to frighten us with two extra songs from Sister Act: both four-part harmonies which had given us all the luvvie wobbles.
At rehearsals last Monday, Craig, possibly mindful of the musical mutiny that lay on the horizon, had re-jigged the set list and only one of the Sister Act songs was on it. ‘I Will Follow Him’, the song with which we were more confident, had been added as an encore. So, if the audience decided to leg it at the end of the concert, we might be spared giving it a go.
We ran through the set on Monday and when it came to the encore song, we were still unclear as to who was singing the solo parts until we got started. As the solos loomed closer, our MD nodded to Bev to give the Whoopi lines a go, which she did brilliantly, and then he pulled me out to the front to have a shot at the screechy Sister Mary Robert part. Having taken the advice of Expat Mum and Clippy Mat, to channel the nuns from our school days, I decided to let rip and surprised myself and the others with a very rocky ‘ooh-ooh-ooh….my-my-my….yeah-yeah-yeah’ which was mostly in tune and generally not too painful.
I started to have my doubts about the wisdom of doing this, particularly as the effort was doing my vocal chords no good at all. I kept suggesting to Dougie that he’d best not clap at all after the final song so that we wouldn’t be asked for ‘More!’ He did the ‘I’m sure you’ll be fine’ routine which was no help whatsoever.
Saturday night arrived and Dougie dropped me off at the church while he parked the car. He was coming to watch, along with my mum who was down with us for the weekend, and poor Rory who was ‘taking one for the team’ by coming along to sit in a church pew, with his father and granny, together with an audience of mainly pensioners, to listen to two hours of songs from the shows. That is some sacrifice for a 16 year old boy.
Craig, our MD, gave us a pep talk before we went on stage, regarding microphone technique. As the concert was being recorded it was of paramount importance to ensure the mics were positioned correctly or the sound feed would be lost on the video. Hence, during the performance, time was taken for precision mic-fiddling before each number. I made sure this time, just before I started singing my duet with Craig, who swaps roles from conductor to singer for three numbers in the set, that my mic was level with my mouth, not my chest or forehead as is usually the case, depending on who sings before me.
I thought we were doing quite well with ‘Tonight’ from West Side Story, until, about a third of the way through, one of the chaps in the bass group sidled up to Craig, placed his finger on the microphone and pushed the button….on! Our wonderful MD, so adamant about using microphones correctly, had obviously turned his own mic off by accident before the song started. We continued with the duet but I was gutted because, as the video will doubtless show for posterity, I sang a large chunk of the song with Harpo bloody Marx.
You’ll be pleased to know that the audience did clap at the end of the concert and therefore we were obliged to sing ‘I Will Follow Him’. I’m going to refrain from guessing what it was like until I’ve seen video evidence but I think it was ok, though not perfect. I do know, however, that the mic was, by now, starting to wilt and droop further and further from my mouth so that, to make sure I was level with the damned thing, I had to bend my knees lower and lower as the song went on. I tried to shimmy a bit so that the audience might think that was all part of the act…but I don’t think they were convinced.
The night was a success. Mum adored it, saying how well everybody did and how fabulous that so many different singers were able to sing solos. Dougie, aware that saying, ‘Ooh it’s a bit high’ won’t cut it as a compliment, told me my voice was like honey during the duet. Rory was lovely and actually said he enjoyed the concert, though forcing him to go for a cup of tea in the church hall afterwards was probably pushing it. And Craig’s 9 year old son, who knows me as an ICT helper in his school, told his dad he didn’t know Mrs Burgess was a ‘rock chick’. That’ll do for me.