What do you do when you think it’s all gone wrong?

pop-up choir kerb chorus festival southbank centre

A blog from your trust web moderator, Kat from the Alto 2s. That’s me in the back row to the left of the mics! Yes, I really am that tall.

Blimey, it barely seems two minutes since we were in our best black and blue ensembles at the Southbank Centre’s Chorus Festival for another year of outdoor singing – but no. That was nearly three weeks ago and we’ve had our spring holiday from choir since.

The summer term begins tonight, in a sexy new one-off venue in Vauxhall for a run-through ahead of our planned recording session at this Saturday’s workshop. Last time we got Rolling in the Deep and Lump in the bag, as well as Sigh No More and Swedish Feline (or Sweetest Feeling if you absolutely must), and this weekend it will be our new Hey Ya/Get Lucky mash-up, which we debuted at Chorus.

This was a big one for me, as I was singing lead. I understudy Beth on Heartbeats, so I’ve sung lead before, but this has twiddly soul bits that I love, and it’s my first solo since I was in a production of 42nd Street when I was, ooh, 17?

“Oh that’ll be no problem!” I thought, as we had a quick set rehearsal by the Southbank Centre’s Royal Box, and again as we got underway in the marquee at delicious, delicious KERB food market.

“Oh my God, this is quite the problem!” I thought again, as we started Hey Ya and I realised I couldn’t hear a bloody thing I was singing. No sound from the mic, that I could hear, just the wind sucking up all the sound. I couldn’t even hear anything reverberating in my ears. It was like my voice had gone off to pick up a hot dog and got distracted by Felix Cohen’s lovely cocktails.

Often, these things are just in your head. The other soloists sounded magical. But still, it felt rubbish not to nail it like in rehearsal, and I left feeling like I’d messed things up for everyone. On the bright side, I was running the London Marathon the following weekend, and that felt like nothing in comparison!

Part of the joy of choir though is of there being so many opportunities to sing, and to sing in different environments. Singing outdoors can be hard work, while singing in a church gives you the chance to coast on the most wonderful acoustics. Every time I sing with Pop-Up, I learn a little more about how to project, or how to blend, or simply, how to breathe without going purple or making a noise like a distressed dolphin.

And that’s really what choir is all about. Roll on summer term and our next gigs – I’m ready for you this time.


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