With only a few weeks rehearsal time left, Eamonn is concentrating on tightening up our performance and to ensure we tell the story of the music clearly, especially with the tradition songs, like The Leprechaun, which I sang to two of my grandchildren on the school run. I had learned the words by heart from our previous rendition a few years ago and they were enchanted. However, I didn’t sing the tongue twister to them, ‘She slit the sheet, the sheet she slit and on the slitted sheet she sits’ just in case I slipped up on that one!
We started with The Rainbow Connection last night which Jim Henson, as Kermit sings in the Muppet Movie from 1979 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqDBTzvkIZ4. It is a very inspirational song and Eamonn’s arrangement has all the different voices singing and entwining around each other creating a magical sound.
Next came the Irish traditional songs, She Moved Through the Fair, Lark In The Clear Air and The Leprechaunneeding that ‘sob’ quality to give the intensity and enunciating the words for the storytelling. Although not a lot of harmonies, it is important to keep the rhythm and timing as the underlying piano appears to slow, but in reality, it is keeping steady pace.
After the break we went through the last week’s red list and improvement had been made. Concentration is now on getting a professional sound with the voices singing in unity, especially with the beginnings, ensuring the first letters of the first words are strong. The endings are also critical and whether you are able to read music not, it is essential to look up from the music scores to watch Eamonn for the cut offs (he sometimes just goes by feeling rather than the actual notes!) He wants glitter ball endings for certain songs like Side By Side!
Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis-Side By Side 1956 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50xGa0rQ3s4
This is not the version that Eamonn is expecting from the choir but Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis do it their way. This song is so bittersweet. On one hand, they perform it so well together-- plus it's such a catchy tune! But on the other hand, it's so closely associated with the end of their partnership. Their farewell appearance was at the Copacabana Club on 25th July 1956.
The acoustics in the room we are performing are unforgiving and every note that is not finished completely together will sound dreadful!), so there can’t be any deflating tyres hissing. If in doubt, don’t sing the ‘s’!
Once Eamonn has a pianist he will have both hands to conduct and he will guide us through every number with light and shade, when to ‘shut up’ at the dunce holes and when to finish the notes. All you have to do it watch him carefully and it will be simple!