Monday, July 29, 2019

Dreaming of the perfect choir (a light-hearted fantasy)

Last night I dreamt of leading a choir where everyone turned up on time every week fully prepared.

Unfortunately it was only a dream, but it got me thinking: what would the dream choir be like for choir leaders and for singers?

a choir leader’s dream choir …

There would be an equal balance of all voice parts. Plenty of tenors, some real male basses, sweet soprano voices and confident altos.

Every singer would turn up on time to every rehearsal fully prepared and keen to sing.

Nobody would ever miss the warm up and would often show their gratitude to you for it.

Every singer would love all your repertoire choices. Even the complicated or weird ones.

Singers would learn songs quickly and be patient as you worked on the finer details of blend and dynamics. And then worked on them some more.

There would never be complaints about length of rehearsals, number of times you go over a song, the heat (or lack of) in the rehearsal venue, being made to stand (or sit) too long, absence of tea breaks, vocal range of song arrangements.

The singers would hang on every word you utter. They would never take their eyes off you and be responsive to even your most subtle conducting gesture. There would be silence between songs and when different parts are being worked on. Nobody will get bored or restless.

You would never have your choices questioned and you would receive regular glowing feedback for all your hard work.

You would have a personal assistant who would trail round after you noting down everything you say and any decisions you make regarding song structure, dynamics, running order, etc. They would be able to tell you what you said in the previous rehearsal in case you ever forget.

No singer would ever be sick or go on holiday when a concert is scheduled. In fact, singers would often cancel holidays just to sing in your concerts. They would all turn up on time in the proper costume and be fully prepared (and know where they’re supposed to stand).

Your singers (and they are ‘yours’) would always perform to the highest standard possible, exceeding your expectations. By doing this, glory would always be reflected back to you (and all your hard work). This will result in standing ovations (for you) at every concert.

a singer’s dream choir …

Choir rehearsals would take place at convenient times which would fit in perfectly with your other social engagements. There would never be choir rehearsals or concerts when you go on holiday. Or if you decide to go out with your mates.

The rehearsal venue would be a few doors down from where you live, be cool in the summer and warm in the winter and provide endless cups of tea (or coffee) and plenty of biscuits during the frequent breaks.

The songs in the repertoire would be all your favourite songs ever and your part would always get the tune (which would be comfortably within your range).

You would never have to stand (or sit) longer than was comfortable.

Your choir leader would never get cross or pick on any particular section for any reason. They would always be showering your with praise for your efforts.

You would be free to chat with friends in your section to catch up on all the latest gossip. If you missed any instructions your choir leader would be happy to repeat them as often as you needed.

The choir costume would be in your favourite colour and fit in a way that flatters you. In fact, you would have a special costume which would draw attention to you during concerts since you are one of the most important singers in the choir.

You would be consulted on repertoire, concert venues, running order, choir costume, and anything else that affects you directly. Especially tea and loo breaks.

You would have an assistant to keep your place when the choir is in concert formation. You wouldn’t have to think about where to stand and could pop to the loo without losing your place.

Every concert will be a triumph, but only because you are singing in it. This would be widely acknowledged by all the other singers (“we couldn’t have done it without you”) and the audience (who would respond by giving you – yes, you – a standing ovation).

the accompanist’s dream choir …

The choir would only ever phone you up when there’s a high profile concert. You would be kept on a large retainer, but never need to attend a rehearsal. You’d just turn up to the gig and play along with the singers who would follow your every note perfectly. You take the (huge) cheque, then go home (after a standing ovation for your enormous talent).

other dream choirs …

You can play this game too. I’m sure there are dream choirs for song arrangers, concert promoters, sound engineers – the list is endless!

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Chris Rowbury




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Chris Rowbury


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