A truly inspiring day
Around 40 members of RGCC experienced an exhilarating workshop day with Bristol Choral Society on Saturday 29th March 2014 in the Colston Hall, under the guidance of Adrian Partington, Musical Director. The workshop was to rehearse Mozart’s Requiem and sing it before an audience later in the day.
The rehearsal started at 11.00am and went through to 1.30pm with a short comfort break in the middle. At this stage we had the skill of Steve King, assitant director of the BCS as accompanist. There were hundreds of singers seated in the stalls, as though they were an audience. My estimate is somewhere around 700 singers with the gender split being about 5 to 1 in favour of sopranos and contraltos.
After some minor problems with the singers at the back of the auditorium being able to see Adrian – fixed by a platform being produced – we rehearsed the parts Nick has taken us through after Adrian had done a number of interesting warm up exercises. For such an eminent conductor he engaged very well with his huge choir, but was a stickler for timing and dynamics. This helped me and I suspect all with the piece.
We had a break at 1.30pm for an hour for lunch and resumed, this time with an orchestra, the New Bristol Sinfonia and later the pro soloists. Again timing for the choir was to the fore and I think we improved as the afternoon went on.
We were dismissed at 4.30 to eat and return at 6.30 ready for the performance. Thanks to Kate Hughes ‘s foresight and planning we all went for a buffet meal to Flavourz and sat together which was good for choir bonding.
We started the performance before an audience sitting in the choir stalls and outnumbered by the choir by another 5 to 1 ratio, with Ave Verum Corpus, which we had run through in the afternoon, and then the Requiem which I felt went extremely well. We stood and sat as directed and remembered the dynamics and the enunciation of vowels which Adrian had been at pains to point out in rehearsal.
So, for me a truly inspiring day and I would encourage other members to take part in such events in future, though it should be a piece we know or are practising. Otherwise we may flounder a little simply by the pace of rehearsal.
More info at http://www.colstonhall.org/shows/mozart-requiem-come-sing/ and http://www.bristolchoral.co.uk/reviews.htm – includes link to Evening Post coverage and a link to our story!