A typical Rehearsal
We begin our rehearsals at 7.45 sharp and start with a 15-minute warm-up, starting with a light physical shake-out. Standing in a circle, we move on through a range of vocal exercises to help us with tuning, dynamics, concentration, vowel-sounds and keeping pace. There is a special emphasis on trying to get our voices to blend together.
In the main session, we work on songs from our repertoire such as ‘My Girl’, ‘Steppin’ Out’ and ‘Lost in The Stars.’ Our Chorus Director, Tim, guides us through the songs, often breaking down each tune into its separate parts to help with the overall balance. For example, Tim may ask that just the Lead and Bass sing together to refine issues with synching and pitch. It’s remarkable how much improvement can be made by breaking down each chord and putting it back together again. We also work on the delivery of our lines to make sure that the right feeling is conveyed throughout the song.
Sometimes, we will also start work on a new song. Although this may seem little intimidating at first, we take it step by step. Tim provides us with teach tracks and scores that we can use to rehearse at home beforehand. We take a new song a section at a time; gradually building up the parts until we are ready to move on to the next section.
We then have a short break followed by a fun 10-minute exercise called ‘TAG’, devised by Bob Walker, our Assistant Chorus Director. Each week Bob brings us a short section of a song and quickly teaches us our parts. We then build up the layers until we have all four parts, focusing on the big chords. It’s always fascinating to see how quickly we can pull it together. This exercise is great for building confidence - honing our skills in harmony, pitch and timing.
During the second half of the rehearsal, we continue working through songs in our repertoire, focusing on areas that require improvement. Occasionally we might also audition a new member towards the end of the evening. New members might be with us six or seven weeks before feeling that they are ready for this. There’s no rush. You can read more about this on our Join Us page.
Finally, we end with our rendition of ‘An Irish Blessing” which is a calming way to finish up our rehearsal. The evening often doesn’t end there though. We are a sociable group and often end up going to a local pub for a pint or two to reward ourselves for our hard work!