Rehearsals are between 19.30 and 21.00 and take place fortnightly on a Monday at Saxon Hall in Raunds. Some people bring a recorder with them so they can replay parts of their rehearsal to themselves at home to help with practicing.
The Warm Up
Rehearsals start with a warm up to get everyone ready to sing during the rest of the session. Typically these are fun, energetic exercises that will get you moving and smiling. Quite often they’ll make you think too, or at the very least consciously consider how you interact with the other members of the choir. All these skills are really important to help us work as a team and sing well together.
Following this we work on our repertoire. We use this time to learn new songs and refine those songs we have already begun. Teaching happens in a number of ways, but the main vehicle is through call and response where a line will be sung or played which and is then repeated by the choir. Once everyone is happy with this, we move on to the next and the process continues. Music is used as a backup, you are not expected to be able to read it, but ultimately it will help you as you become more accustomed to it.
The choir is split into three sections, soprano, alto and men. Some choirs divide their men into tenor and bass, but at the moment the men are in one section to allow us to make the most of numbers. Each section takes it in turns to learn their part and then we slowly bring them together, bit by bit thus building the song up over time.
Sometimes we struggle with some parts and find that the use of huddles help. This is where the section turns to face each other and sings as a group. Making eye contact with each other and temporarily blocking out the rest of the choir helps you focus on your part and allows you to pick up on what others in your section are doing. From here confidence rises which means once the parts are put back together success is achieved. This is just one technique that we find really works for us.
The Final Bit
The final bit of a rehearsal is just as important as the rest. At this point we put together everything we have learned and try out a mini performance to ourselves. This might involve standing as a choir, or standing in a circle next to a part we don’t usually sing with so we can get an idea of the fuller picture. It’s also important to go home on a high too, even if it has been a hard rehearsal, we’ll always finish with something good that will let you leave with a smile.