To quote David S (who did the lion's share of the organising) "What a splendid morning! Many thanks for your efforts and enthusiasm".
Our Choral workshop musical bite proved to be an inspired idea. On the face of it running a workshop of this kind close to Christmas when people were so busy and preoccupied was potentially risky, how could we be sure that anyone would turn up. However on the strength of our first two Musical Bites we made preparations with enthusiasm. David's publicity drive paid off wonderfully well. Flyers distributed to various groups, posters up in Stony, emails to those already on our news distribution list, a special page on the website and word of mouth resulted in some people turning up even before doors officially opened at 9.30 am, and then they poured in. Sylvia, Marian and I did a brisk trade for the piano key raffle all in the space of about 20 minutes, David S and Dai dished out music, then James had everyone seated for the first run through of the pieces, so at first there was little demand for refreshments.
At 10.30 am we had a 20 minute break for all the singers to get their much needed lubrication of Mulled wine (kindly provided by Waitrose), cappuccino, tea, juice, mince pies (also donated by Waitrose), cakes and flapjacks with the refreshment team of Shirley, Nina, Fiona and Heather doing a star job. A trickle of people came for refreshments and to listen throughout the morning and this turned to a flood at 11.30 am which was the advertised time for the 'performance'.
During the course of the morning I took photos and recorded some video clips of rehearsals on my digital camera (it is not a dedicated video camera, so the quality is not great, especially once transferred to Youtube).
Rehearsal clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZNZA4vVqaM
We estimate there were about 70 people singing, and at least 70 people in the audience. The majority of singers and audience were not regular worshipers at our Church though we did have quite a few parishioners there, so this was definitely not a fundraising event that relied only on Parish family to come up with the cash. There were several younger school/student singers – one on crutches! We doubled our email list by the end of the morning. No doubt the choice of music was an attraction:
- The Heaven's are telling from Haydn's Creation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7P0_-d_5Gbk
- Hear my Prayer Oh Lord by Purcell (sung in the gallery) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5NQJ0PN6Tg
- Handel's Hallelujah Chorus http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z2QHx5Zn2U4
All the music had been selected to celebrate various composer anniversaries in 2009. Only a few of the singers were familiar with Hear my Prayer, but as James said when introducing the pieces to the audience, it is surprising what it is possible to learn in so short a period.
The Hallelujah Chorus was included as part of the BBC Children in Need 'Sing Hallelujah' event http://www.bbc.co.uk/sing/hallelujah/map.shtml so we had a collection bucket for the campaign.
For the Grand Piano Fund we raised £553.00. This means we have already raised £1,229.82 towards the purchase of the £5,000.00 Grand Piano for the church, which will be used for worship as well as fundraising events.
For BBC Children in Need 'Sing Hallelujah' we raised £100.00
Feedback from several of those who sang was along the lines of 'please can we do this kind of thing again' and 'I loved it, I don't sing very often but this has inspired me to sing more/join a choir'. It seems that we have tapped into a desire for something that isn't often available to those who have too many commitments for regular singing - the chance to sing occasionally in a large choir with good tuition, acoustic and pipe organ (and of course delicious refreshments).
To quote David again "We are indebted to James for his energy, style, musical ability and wit". Special thanks are also due to Andrew for playing the piano and organ, David K for turning pages and Fr Ross for the music copies. I would especially like to thank David S for so much work behind the scenes - without his imagination and drive today's Musical Bite would not have been nearly so slick or successful.