Autumn term’s a couple of dates down and we’re getting into our new arrangement – Pulp! Cheers Dom. We didn’t have enough Britpop in the set.
Something we introduced earlier in the year was the idea of “non-Dom” rehearsals, which give us the chance to work a bit harder as a group without letting Dom do all the work. Plus Dom gets a bonus Tuesday to go off and look at kittens or whatever it is musical directors like to do these days.
Last night was a bit different. Dom had asked us to come up with an arrangement ourselves, so I had my first go at leading the gang with Alison Krauss’s wonderful As I Went Down To The River To Pray, which you might remember from the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack. You should, it’s amazing.
It was great fun to do – the lyrics are basically the same all the way through the song which gives you the freedom to think about what you’re doing vocally. After we all sang through, with a couple of times of everyone do whatever they wanted – nailed it – I got a soloist from each part to lead with the rest of their part to blend with them. The idea was to get everyone listening: to themselves, their voice part and the choir as a whole, while I sang the theme as an anchor.
I also made them do it with the lights down and their eyes closed, because I could. MEANINGFUL!
I was thrilled with the result, not least because it’s a stunning song, but also because people came up with harmonies I’d never heard in this song before and it was gorgeous. The basses went super low, the sops flew around like butterflies, my Alto 2 sisters blended like cream, and Rebecca, our sole representative from the Alto 1s, held it together beautifully.
After this we got out Common People which we blitzed last week with Dom. And how could you resist singing it differently when the cat’s away? Someone had suggested we do it proper common sarf London, and then we did it in our most fluting public school voices. Sorry Jarvis, sorry Dom.
Once we’d all sung as silly as we possibly could, we got some old numbers out and went through Crazy and Who’s That Girl by the Eurhthmics, and Rollin’ in the Deep and Sweetest Feeling for good measure. A lovely rehearsal, great fun and good prep for when Dom comes back – at least the silliness will be out of our systems. Well, for the first half an hour anyway.
We will likely be holding auditions for new members in coming weeks, so if you’re interested, email us with a bit about yourself and your voice part at thepopupchoir @ gmail.com.