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Repetition is the Mother of Learning

This week we impressed Elliot with our choir sound repeating the great performance from last week,


We started with a brand new song, Crossing the Bar.


The extended metaphor of "crossing the bar" represents travelling serenely and securely from life through death.


The Pilot is a metaphor for God, whom the speaker hopes to meet face to face.


It is based on an 1889 poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.


It is considered that Tennyson wrote it in elegy; the narrator uses an extended metaphor to compare death with crossing the "sandbar" between the river of life, with its outgoing "flood", and the ocean that lies beyond death, the "boundless deep", to which we return.


Tennyson is believed to have written the poem after suffering a serious illness while on the sea, crossing the Solent from Aldworth to Farringford on the Isle of Wight. Separately, it has been suggested he may have written it on a yacht anchored in Salcombe, where there is a moaning sandbar.


British folk music group The Longest Johns released their own cover of this poem in 2018 in their album Between Wind and Water.


Though the speaker is describing his own death, he makes it clear that he does not fear it and he does not want those he leaves behind to mourn his passing.


On that note we started learning the notes and getting the feel of the song. 


It has long lines and is quite repetitive and is very exposing. 


It will be important to watch for clear cut offs when the phrases end.


Altos may be on the same note for a lot of the time, but blended with everyone else it makes it very atmospheric.


Clearly sound out the two ‘t’s on ‘out to sea’.


Keep ‘Turns again home’ very gentle.


The rhythm on page 4 & 5 is unusual on the phrase ‘and may there be no sadness of farewell’ where there are long notes on ‘no’, ‘sad’ and ‘of’


Once we have learnt the notes and rhythms, Eamonn will work on the dynamics of light and shade in future weeks.


We then crossed the bar to Mad World.  It is very tempting to make it sound ‘choppy’ and robotic like it sounds in Dropbox.  Lengthen the phrases and make them sound human instead.

Pentatonic's acapella version, Amazing!


Again, it is quite repetitive, so tell the story and make it interesting.


Beware on page 6 when you encounter one of Eamonn’s curve balls with ‘Look right through me’

‘Look right through’ are all on the same note, depending on your voice part, with ‘through’ and ‘me’ being long notes.


Don’t get lulled into a false sense of security as the chorus ‘And I find it kind of funny….’ comes in very quickly, so be prepared, like a good boy scout!


After all that doom and gloom, we Let the Sunshine In.  However, when we started it was more overcast than sunny!


This needs unstoppable energy!


Remember the first two ‘Lets’ are off the beat at the beginning of the song.


After that, only the first ‘Let’ is off the beat and the second ‘Let’ is always on the beat right to the very end. 


As it is so repetitive, let each section, build with a different energy and enthusiasm to a very bright last note!


Repetition, when done correctly, allows creativity to blossom when we practise them to mastery.


Keep up the good work and practise at home and we will continue make that glorious sound together every week.

On a lighter note. There is a new song in drop box, What's Up, Linda Perry. A Rock Ballard, no less!

Trillers on a Perch


My offeringI guess many of us felt "Crossing the Bar" was a bit of a dirge. I did and maybe you felt the same when we started "The Parting cup" last year.

This choir version shows what a beautiful piece it can be when sung by a good choir, as we are apparently becoming. 

Have a listen and see if it changes your mind, it did mine! The phrasing is I think like waves breaking which is presumably the intention.

 Colin ( Lady Tenor

Crossing the Bar, another version, cheers!!

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