My first performance directing the Chester Songsmiths took place in Hoole this weekend at the Lights Switch On. It was most enjoyable and the ladies were in good voice. It has been as much a learning curve for me to pick up and work with their established style and repertoire as for the ladies to learn the new songs I have introduced over the past 9 weeks. Working without a score when you are used to having the notes in front of you can be a challenge but it does enable you to get ‘out of the copy’ and really ‘into the music’.
I’m really looking forward to the next few gigs we have lined up this season performing the festive a cappella set. Whilst singing on the street in Hoole didn’t offer the chance to have the piano there to bash out a few chords, we decided that, though we could have a piano for the next gig, actually there’s no need as it sounds great without accompaniment and that is the way we have rehearsed for the past few weeks. It’s quite liberating (and can be scary) for me as a conductor, stepping away from the piano, removing that support and just relying on gesture for direction!