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Well, for the first time we have sold out our concert on 30 November with 150 tickets sold, so big numbers are coming to watch us perform. Jan was so excited as she has always dreamed of putting ‘Sold Out’ banners on our posters!

Dreams do come true! Jan.

Our penultimate rehearsal last night with Jenny at the keyboard and Ricardo at the lectern to give us his full attention. However, big numbers of us were missing with 18 Zoomers! Covid, coughs and colds etc preventing us from singing together.

The half of the choir that was present wrapped up warm so we could be well ventilated with the doors open on a very cold evening! We can’t afford for the other half of the choir to be ill!

We stood in concert position and began with our Chicken Tikka warm up and moved on to the big numbers we are singing in Part One of the concert and some from Part Two

There were only three altos present and they had to dig deep and believe in themselves and sing out. They did wonderfully well and can feel very proud or their achievements

Classic fm claim this is the greatest crescendo in classical music.

Ricardo was guiding us through the performance of the big numbers; getting us to crescendo in the right places and to get contrast of loud and soft (and medium between) throughout each song.

It is critical that we all watch Ricardo. At the end of the songs the words have usually repeated so often you don’t need to look at them, so look at Ricardo instead!

He is much gentler than Eamonn, but we still need to up our game and perform as instructed.

Hold your purple folders up so you can see your music and glance at Ricardo; he is there to guide us. You will project your voice more with your head held high and not restricting your voice box! Also, the audience can see your faces!

and remember, Hold You Head Up!

Watch Ricardo, especially at critical points like when to come in, when to stop, when to increase or decrease the volume etc.

Keep it professional; DO NOT TURN THE PAGE at the end of the song until the last note is played and the audience has shown their appreciation. If necessary, write at the end of the song DO NOT TURN THE PAGE!

Don’t forget to smile!

It not only shows we are enjoying ourselves, which will make the audience enjoy it too, but will brighten the notes, especially those exceptionally high ones!

"If my mind can conceive it, if my heart can believe it, then I can achieve it." (Muhammad Ali)

Get well to all those who are unwell. Stay well to all those are well.

Take care everyone and we will be great next week for our sell out performance

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The concert is fast approaching with only two full rehearsals left. EEEk!!!!!

So 'Let's work together'. A blast from the past!

A choir, by definition, is a group of people who sing together and remember 'The whole is more than the sum of its parts'. Aristotle?

However, it doesn’t just happen by chance. We have to work at it and we are each responsible for learning our parts so we don’t let the team down. It is when all these elements are put together that we become the In Flagrante Choir and make a beautiful sound. All for one and one for all!

Don’t panic! We covered quite a few songs last night and the lady tenors were the stars having clearly done their homework!

Ricardo gave us some good performance instructions on how to build up the sound and take it back down again. A bit like turning a dial, but not just singing very loud or very soft, but obtaining a contrast with a medium setting and gradually building to a big impact ending, especially in the Christmas Lullaby chorus.

Even when singing the last chorus with gusto, we still need to put our ‘lullaby hats’ on!

All the songs will need different nuances so they are not boring and it will keep the audience engaged. With Ricardo conducting and our eyes on him (and not buried in our music) this will add depth and interest as our voices blend together.

Another little tip is when we are on the last page, not to turn it over for the next song (especially if you are not actually singing) until the last notes have been sung and the audience has shown their appreciation. It makes us all look very professional.

We all know where our weaknesses lie in certain parts of songs. It is up to each of us to work on those during the week using the backing tracks in DropBox. Use your individual voice part to secure the notes in your mind and then sing it through with the full version.

Also, just sing through those we know well to keep the memory muscle going.

You might hear me when walking around Richmond or in Kew Gardens quietly singing to myself.

If I find a very deserted spot in Kew Gardens, I will sing out and hope no one is hiding behind a tree!

Jenny is with us from next week and we will have Ricardo’s full attention, so do your part and be ready.

All for one and one for all – practice will give you confidence, and together we will make a great sounding and remember Don't Panic!

Each member of In Flagrante choir is valued and if one of us needs anything, like a lift, music printed etc we are all here to help and lend a hand.

All for one and one for all!

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Updated: Nov 12, 2022

It was good to be in familiar surroundings in our usual venue. Back to our comfort zone where we know where we are sitting and are well spread out so Ricardo can hear us all clearly, although that can be a mixed blessing!

At the start of the evening we called in the reindeer and I think I heard them call back. Hmmm! Once the tenors found their first note from the last note the sopranos sang, it all went beautifully. A good start.

Next came the audience participation songs. Golden Oldies.

It’s a Most Wonderful time of the Year was first. A popular Christmas song written in triple time in 1963 by Edward Pola and George Wyle. It was recorded and released that year by pop singer Andy Williams for his first Christmas album, The Andy Williams Christmas Album.

With no harmonies. Hooray !! it was fairly straightforward and during the instrumental part sopranos and altos hum the start of the tune and then the tenors hum the second part before we all sing together again.

Let it Snow was very easy as it is so well known. A song written by lyricist Sammy Cahn and composer Jule Styne in July 1945. Written in Hollywood, California during a heat wave as Cahn and Styne imagined cooler conditions.

Despite the lyrics making no mention of any holiday, the song has come to be regarded as a Christmas song worldwide.

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (being very pedantic about English spellings and expressions, I want to write ‘Mummy’!).

However, it is a Christmas song with music and lyrics by British songwriter Tommie Connor (who should know how to spell ‘Mummy’) and first recorded by Jimmy Boyd in 1952 when he was 13 years old. However, the recording was condemned and banned by the Roman Catholic Church in Boston when it was released, believing that it described an adulterous encounter. Explanations followed and the ban was lifted.

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas was quite a challenge for altos and tenors (and some sopranos!) as the notes are very high. Ricardo is happy if we move to an octave lower during the song if necessary.

This song was written in 1943 by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane and introduced by Judy Garland in the 1944 MGM musical Meet Me in St. Louis. Frank Sinatra later recorded a version with modified lyrics.

judy Garland, her co-star Tom Drake and director Vincente Minnelli criticized the song as depressing. Martin made several changes to make the song more upbeat. For example, the lines "It may be your last / Next year we may all be living in the past" became "Let your heart be light / Next year all our troubles will be out of sight".

After a little refreshment we resumed to sing through Fascinating Rhythm We discovered that there was a typo in the music score and it should be ‘At night no work has been done’ rather than ‘At night the work has been done’. Amazing how one little word can change the whole meaning!

Altos are singing the right notes and should have more confidence and sing out. The sopranos, or one or more, need to sing the right notes as some were a flat and under the note. Squeeze those oranges!

Another Golden Oldie.

Carol of the Bells needs that bell-like quality emphasising the ‘ng’ sound on the Dings and Dongs. It is important to listen to each other to know when to ding and when to dong and sing the melody lines. By the time we had finished Ricardo said that it was very lovely.

Oh, yes! We are getting there and our hard work is paying off. Keep it up!

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