Twenty-three of our members joined a 2,000-strong choir on 12th July 2015 to sing The Armed Man by Sir Karl Jenkins. The event had been organised by The Really Big Chorus and the performance took place in the Royal Albert Hall at 7pm.
The conductor, Brian Kay, impressed everyone from the moment he stepped onto the podium for morning rehearsal at 11am. His clear direction was delivered with much humour (“If you continue to sing a B flat instead of a B natural it will sound more like Stockhausen than Karl Kenkins!”) This meant that by the afternoon rehearsal, with full orchestra, there was a marked improvement in dynamics, clarity and timing. For example, in the morning rehearsal, the tricky exposed section for unaccompanied basses and tenors – Save Me From Bloody Men – was very ragged. By the afternoon it was delivered perfectly. It should be mentioned that we were greatly helped by the fact that our Music Director Martin Palmer had prepared us so well for this piece when TCS performed it in Truro Cathedral in 2013, so we had a head start on some others.
The massed choirs at the RAH were fired up to produce an evening public performance that the audience and singers alike clearly found exhilarating and moving (the hushed silence after the final chord said it all). The concert also raised funds for the National Autistic Society.
Part of the fun was meeting members of other choirs and swapping experiences (one of our tenors was even given a miniature koala bear by the Australian contingent attending!). It was also an opportunity for TCS members to get to know each other better. Most went up in a group on the Friday and stayed in a university hall of residence. Dining out together and attending either La bohème at Covent Garden or Fauré’s Requiem at St Martin-in-the-Fields on the Saturday night helped to bond the group in a way that can only be beneficial for the whole choir.
Our thanks go to Maura Clarke for organising the trip and to Dee Hughes for arranging some of the social aspects.
Everyone who took part looks forward to repeating the experience at another concert being organised by The Really Big Chorus next year.