Sunday, October 07, 2007

Maybe you're wondering...

... how the MFC rehearsal went?

Maybe not. You're going to find out anyway.

After only 4 hours sleep, we got up at 5 and Michael very kindly drove me to Derby. I caught the first train (to Birmingham) and settled down to study my score while listening to the homework recording CD which I'd loaded onto my mp3 player. I thought it was probably a good idea to do this because I hadn't managed to look at the last three movements at all. It was hard to stop myself humming along (well humming what I thought the notes would be, to check how good my pitching is).

I managed to do everything expect the last movement, then decided to stop as I was losing concentration and wanted to be fresh for the rehearsal.

I bought two books and a piece of carrot cake in Birmingham while I waited for my connection (the next train I caught went to Hereford, which made me think of Boo). The cake was okay, but the topping was far too sweet and I didn't eat it. I always think carrot cake is better plain or with a cream cheese topping made with just a touch of honey rather than something sugary.

So yeah. I got to Worcester and registered and was issued with a name badge with a red dot on it, to indicate that I was an MFC n00b. I met up with a few people I knew from SingSoc, and got cornered by an old woman who talked at me and whom Pete described as "not only mad, but evil". I talked to quite a few people during the day, and everyone else was really nice.

The rehearsal itself was good. Hard work, but fun... and it was worth it to hear how good we sounded! I'm completely loyal to SingSoc and I think we sound great, but close to 250 voices together is something else. And it's always weird but fun to work with an unfamiliar conductor - Malcolm Goldring's an experience, certainly! In a good way.

I discovered that I was foolish to neglect the last movement. It's hard. It starts off fine, but then it's all over the place and will need me to put in some serious work before Saturday.

Had lunch at a pub with the SingSoc people (Sicilian chicken for me, which was pretty good) then the men went back. As us girls had an extra half hour or so we had a wander around the shops, and I bought some funky jewellery - two necklaces and a pair of earrings that match one of the necklaces.

I was pretty tired and achy most of the afternoon, but I was expecting that to be honest, with lack of sleep and the early start and all the singing. Singing all day is physically hard work - I know it sounds like an easy thing to do... you just sing, right? Well it's not. It's exhausting, mentally and physically. I do think that I'm improving because my voice itself wasn't tired at all and could have happily sung the whole piece again with the high notes and fff (that's very very loud to all you non-musicians) bits and everything even if my body and brain didn't want to!

I had cake in the afternoon too, a big piece of home made chocolate cake with my cup of coffee. It was nice, but didn't taste of chocolate at all to me, it was sort of anaemic. I like to use loads of cocoa in mine. But it gave me the energy to finish the afternoon.

After we'd finished, I went back to the railway station. I shocked myself by not getting lost (and I didn't in the morning either). And I found that there was a simpler way to get home, i.e. the reverse of the way I got there, rather than the route the transport website gave me. Consequently I got back to Derby an hour earlier than I thought I would.

On the train I sat next to a nice older man who it turned out was going home to Belper (so a fellow Derbyshire person, who would be on the next train with me too). We chatted for a bit then sat and read in companionable silence until Birmingham where the train terminated.*

As we pulled into the station I heard shouting, and swearing, and a dog barking furiously. And saw five or six policemen on the platform, at least two police dogs, and a load of shouting and swearing blokes, who I guess were football fans. There was a fair bit of pushing and shoving and more shouting - by this time we'd moved to the next platform to wait for the train to Derby but we were just across from them and could see everything. I'm not sure what was going on, but the police got loads of them back on the train we'd just vacated and it left, presumably taking them back to wherever they'd come from. One guy was held up against the wall by a policeman and held there for ages until he calmed down, and was eventually lead away, I guess arrested. It was kind of exciting.

The Belper guy told me that his day had been exciting already - he'd been in a meeting in Hereford and someone had a suspected perforated ulcer and vomited blood all over the newly-carpeted meeting room and was rushed to hospital for an operation. Yikes!

So yeah, the rest of the journey was uneventful. We chatted some more, read some more, and Michael picked me up from Derby. Train journeys are always better when there's someone nice to talk to.

We drove back and I talked pretty much non-stop in the car, because I was still a bit hyper from the rehearsal. We picked up a Malaysian takeaway which was yummy (I'm just about to go and finish the leftovers!) and chilled for a bit. And that was my day. Knackering, but fun!

I can't wait for next week... if you're anywhere near Worcester Saturday night, come and see us. The Stabat Mater is AWESOME, I love it, and we sound fantastic even if I do say so myself. Plus we have the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, which is reason enough in itself to see us.

*This phrase always makes me think of the Arnie film, and I imagine a train engine gone bad, shooting at another engine and wearing shades. "I'll be back... but I'm currently running 30 minutes late due to a signal failure. On behalf of Midland Mainline I apologise for this delay and any inconvenience it may cause you."


  1. Wow! What a busy day!
    The actually word for fff is forte, or triple forte. :) In case you didn't know and would like to.
    Singing is very definitely hard work! I mean, if you're doing it right, you're not only using your vocal chords, but every stabilizing muscle in your torso and lower body as well as all the muscles and organs involved in the breathing process. Not to mention the mental muscles!
    Good for you. ;D

  2. Yeah, as far as I know there's no actual Italian word for fff, unlike f = forte and ff = fortissimo. Triple forte sounds good. :) We usually just say ef ef ef, because we're lazy, lol!

    Sure, the vocal chord bit is the easy part! I can tell I've used my stomach muscles - they don't hurt, but I can feel it.

  3. Sounds like fun! Any chance of a CD or DVD release?

  4. I'm not sure if it will be recorded... let's hope so!

  5. Singing is exhausting. I don't do it except for my own enjoyment/amusement, but I am quite a good mimic. I've found that it requires repositioning your jaw and making your throat shaped just so to mimic different singers.

    And I usually wind up with a sore jaw if I do it a lot at once!

    I'm glad YOUR journey wasn't as exciting as the guys on the other train!

  6. Yeah, I get jaw ache too. It's because to sing (well, anyway) you need to drop the jaw to open your mouth wide, which you don't do while speaking. We're just not used to using the jaw muscles in that way.