A group of us joined Jan who gave us good advice on deep breathing techniques to enable us to control our breath and use it in a way that will help to project our voices as well as adjust the volume.
It was interesting to hear how the different voices were projected down the room where some could be heard clearly while others could hardly be heard at all. A lot of this is confidence and having the courage to sing out and not be afraid of making a mistake; that is how we learn.
She will give us some more hints and tips over the coming weeks for those who are able to come three quarters of an hour early.
We sang through The Salley Gardens or Down by The Salley Gardens which is from a poem by William Butler Yeats.
Yeats indicated in a note that it was "an attempt to reconstruct an old song from three lines imperfectly remembered by an old peasant woman in the village of Ballisodare, Sligo, who often sings them to herself.
The "old song" may have been the ballad The Rambling Boys of Pleasure which contains the following verse:
"Down by yon flowery garden my love and I we first did meet.
I took her in my arms and to her I gave kisses sweet
She bade me take life easy just as the leaves fall from the tree.
But I being young and foolish, with my darling did not agree."
The similarity to the first verse of the Yeats version is unmistakable and would suggest that this was indeed the song Yeats remembered the old woman singing. The rest of the song, however, is quite different.
It has been suggested that the location of the "Salley Gardens" was on the banks of the river at Ballysadare near Sligo where the residents cultivated trees to provide roof thatching materials. "Salley" or "sally" is a form of the Standard English word "sallow", i.e., a tree of the genus Salix. It is close in sound to the Irish word saileach, meaning willow.
Benjamin Britten: Salley Gardens Beautiful and moving
It is a beautifully arranged song and was remembered well from when we learned it back 2020.
We recapped Matthew & Son and Vincent. The sopranos Oohs seduced the Altos into joining them instead of singing their own part. This was soon remedied!
Then a break and glass of wine before tacking Asteroid!
Who remembers Pearl and Dean? Pearl & Dean, an advertising company formed in 1953 to sell advertising on British cinema screens prior to the showing of the main feature. The short adverts, quickly became familiar with British cinema audiences. Pearl and Dean also became known for their distinctive theme tune entitled Asteroid, composed in 1968 by Pete Moore The introduction of the new titles accompanied by the "Asteroid" theme saw the disappearance of the well known Grecian Pillars, with its music "Grand Vista" composed by Trevor Duncan.
It was expected to be very challenging for In Flagrante choir with lots of Ahs and Ba ba bas! However, Eamonn told us not to look at the music and broke it down phrase by phrase and we, surprisingly, learned it quickly. Eamonn was thrilled to bits!
As we conquered Asteroid so quickly, we went through Mr. Blue Sky again. A lot of deep beathing is needed to sing this through this energetic song and we are gradually improving each time.