Fascinating Rhythm were delighted to be asked to host the Southwest regional education day in June.
LABBS members of thirteen choruses from all corners of the region travelled to join us to work on the current polecat song “Anthem” as well as to catch up with old friends and of course to eat cake!
Our guest educators Monica Funnell (MD of Crystal Chords) and Avalon quartet provided guidance on singing and performance throughout the day. There was even some friendly competition as the group split into two mini choruses for the afternoon in preparation for a sing off.
The day ended with a massed sing from our enormous combined chorus – a fantastic sound which clearly showed the brilliance of barbershop singing in the Southwest!
So on a beautiful weekend in April, Fascinating Rhythm wound our way to a very sunny Swindon for our first ever retreat!
In a nutshell – The sun shone….. the food (and cake) was good and plentiful…. the wedding was beautiful…. the pool and spa were restful and the fire alarm evacuation was at 4am!!!
Seriously though we had the best time with our most awesome coach Sally Mclean who never fails to inspire us to get better at our craft and enjoy the journey along the way. We worked hard on coaching each section under glass, we were given an insight of our individual voices too on Friday evening. On Saturday we were asked by the couple who had just got married at the hotel to sing for them…. of course we loved performing “Cant take my eyes off of you” and “Happy Together” for them and their guests (which included their dog in a tuxedo!)
We did have some down time to enjoy the facilities but then all got together following our evening meal to ‘party’ which included some interested games that literally had some members laughing until they cried!! Amongst the games were some performances from our ladies which were very good and we all enjoyed. We actually celebrated with three of our ladies (Kathryn, Alison & Di) who all had birthdays during or very close to the weekend (and this meant even more cake!).
The chorus are most certainly in favour of repeating this on a regular basis, and wish we had done it sooner. Big thanks to everyone involved and special mention to Mrs Jo Thorn who, as usual, continues to get the very best from us all.
Our much anticipated first coaching session of the year with Sally McLean in April was the usual mixture of mayhem and brain scrabbling hard work when our embryonic convention songs were tossed about like so much chaff in a hurricane, then slowly nursed back to some semblance of life, followed by a long, long list of how to care for the patient. As ever, we were encouraged to go beyond what we think of as ‘our limit’ in the best possible way – much laughter, much encouragement, a bit of stern and quite a lot of cake. Both our MD Jo Dean and Sally were in fine fettle bouncing ideas around and we just about kept up with their quick wit and energy. Always exhilarating, we look forward to our next session in July.
Fabulous, fabulous coaching with Sally McLean over the weekend of 16/17th April, working on the six songs we’re taking to the Cheltenham Music Festival in May (actually it’s nine songs – two of them are medleys). We worked our socks off and had such an inspiring couple of days; still buzzing at the end of Sunday afternoon, but most of us catatonic on Monday!
Hugely looking forward to Sally’s next visit in June.