My main worries for the festival were the coach turning up......but it did ....early and everything. Thank you to Walsall Community Transport for a flexible, friendly and efficient service.
We arrived in Stratford in good time and all in one piece. The free tea and coffee was a great touch. There were some issues with who was a soprano and who was a alto. As a natural voice choir I tend to work with top middle and bottom and sometimes a fourth part placed somewhere.
We sat straight down to learn the first of four songs. It was strange for me as a director to learn by ear and learn only one part. The first song was a South African tub thumping song called Hlonolofasta and while the words were tricky to start with I think we soon settled into it. It was great fun at the end. We then learnt Wild Mountain Thyme - I had started this but had put it to one side as we concentrated on some other songs. Thankfully so as this was a different arrangement. It was absolutely amazing when we all sang it together. I must admit I welled up a little.
Then it was lunch (that came around quick). It was lovely to listen to some of the choirs busking and we very proudly did a turn outside with three small numbers. Senwa Dedende, Ghost of John and Shalom. Then we went back to learn a Tongan song which i have to admit I struggled with a bit it was called Mali Mali Mai. Nice fun song though and definetely one I will do with my childrens group.
Then we did Hold On which was a gospel song with a fantastic arrangement which can only be described as spine-tingling. This was my favourite one of the day. Then we had a break and a quick choir rehearsal for the concert. We were singing Drunken Sailor and Sloop John B. We were halfway down the schedule which was great positioning to be honest. Enough time to appreciate the kind audience but not get tooooo worried.
We took our places on stage and frankly we rocked and cracked both songs! I thoroughly enjoyed it and we got a huge big clap after we had finished. I really could not have asked anymore of anyone on that stage and we cracked the final verse! Brilliant!!!!!!!!! The harmonies were excellent in both songs and generally a big whoop!!! I had a few people approcach me and say how they enjoyed it and how much energy we had. I frankly think that if you look like you are having a great time then the audience will feel the same. There were some exceptional performances on the stage and some beautiful songs.
I really hope that we can go again. Thank you so much everyone and once again well done. Also a huge thanks to everyone who was part of the festival team. The whole event ran so smoothly! Even the concert ran to time which considering the huge variety of choirs is nothing but an amazing undertaking. Everyone involved was so supportive and helpful it was brilliant.