Friday, 30 December 2005

Catching Up - Part 1

I know I have been very bad in the past two weeks or so. I was on leave and that usually means I don't get the time to blog. This was even more true this time round.

With the Christmas season, several months of hard work with the Chorus finally came to fruition as we embarked on our series of Christmas shows.

It started on 14 December when we were whisked away to Birmingham and back on a coach. The first performance of this year's version of Make the Yuletide Gay was taking place at the Symphony Hall; one of the best concert halls in the world. The venue did not disappoint. The accoustic was truely fantastic even though the decoration with 1950's diner look was a bit too much perhaps. A shame that we managed to fill so few seats. We had already performed in Birmingham in 2003 at the Adrian Boult Hall at The Birmingham Conservatoire. A much humbler venue but there again we had had trouble filling it. I suppose our profile is not that high up there.

The Chorus was not in charge of the promotion of the show this time round however and even though our promoters are one of the biggest in the country (they put on about 600 shows a year) and they do have the financial means we haven't to buy advertising, I am not sure they did as good a job as they could have done. Then again, they did not keep us informed of what they were doing, so we can't really know.

The show went reasonably well however and it was a good start to the series of concerts.You can read the account of the show by another blogging chorine here. Comments from an unknown member of our audience.

On the way to the concert, we passed the site of the massive explosion which was felt all the way to the Netherland and France a few days before in Hemel Hempstead. Considering the force of the blow, the amount of smoke we saw in London and the few pictures I saw on the net (I still do not have a TV), we all wondered as we drove by if this was really the place where so much had happened. The site seemed much smaller than what could have been expected since there had been mention of 20 giant petrol tanks. The fire had just been extinguished and the only signs of what had happened were a the gaping and blackened remains of one oil tank and the missing facade of a warehouse building a few metres away.

On the next day I had hoped to be called for an interview for a new job I had applied to: Marketing Officer with a community based theatre company. A position I would have liked and thrived in. I was quite hope but although I was sure I had all the required skills and experience (developped and tested with the Chorus) and had demonstrated it in my statement, I did not hear a peep. As usual! So I am stuck with another round in my current job.

The next stop of our mini tour, took us to the Brighton Dome on 17 December. Again we got driven there and back by coach. The report from the "other chorine" is here. Lots of people seem to have issues with accoustics in the venue (a convertion of the Prince Regent's stables near the famous Royal Pavillion, boasting a 1930's Grade 1 listed interior) but I actually rather liked it; perhaps because, for once, we were able to ear ourselves singing. There had been changes to the running order of the show to make it shorter (it was apparently too long) and to give it more pace in the first part. Again the performance went well albeit for some sound problems we could do nothing about. The audience was bigger but again not a sell out; this was perhaps due to the fact that we could not find any poster for the show anywhere...

This was the start of a singing marathon for me. On the next day I reported to the security desk of Selfridges on Oxford Street for the first of twelve half an hour performances with a small delegation of the Chorus over the following three days (at the rate of four gigs per day). I had already taken part in the same gig last year although the 12 gigs I did had been spread over the five days (and 20 gigs) we did that time. In another difference to last year, we were not located at the bottom of the central escalator, near the cafe (where people could actually stop and listen to us) but we were on a small balcony hanging from the third floor over the escalator pit. In any case, this is great fun to do. You get to interact (not too much thought) with the crowds passing by which includes checking out the hunky guys. There seems to be a inordinate number of people working in Selfridges payed only to go up and down the escalators. Apparently last year Mrs Beckham enjoyed one of our performances; this year, on my way to the gigs, I spotted a very tanned Gary Linecker outside the shop. Someone told me they had seen Rowan Atkinson on the way in. Looks like the "stars" go shopping in the morning. They both missed us though!


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