• Sandra Smith

Autumn/Winter 2015 - A fabulous term! Part 1 Fanzone to London

What a fantastic term it’s been for all of us! We couldnt have asked for a more exciting or rewarding time!

During the summer break, Sandra was hard at work sorting out and confirming our best ever gig schedule.

We were really excited to be one of only a few choirs that got chosen to sing on the FANZONE concert stage in Exeter, for the Rugby world cup. We were also approached by a London PR company asking us to sing ON the pitch, for the Exeter games too. We did nearly sign on the dotted line, but, after much deliberation, decided that the term had our maximum number of gigs in it already and we’d be stretching ourselves a bit too far! Probably a wise choice!

We started work on our Fanzone set immediately we came back from summer break. We also planned ahead and started looking at the Show of Hands gig AND our London debut. We wanted to include our best songs, obviously!

Fanzone was great fun – what an enormous stage and very kind and efficient crew and technicians. They ran it like clockwork - and it makes life so easy when everyone knows what to do. We have to give a big thank-you to Exeter Phoenix Arts centre too - they let us warm-up in their car park!

Warming up backstage in the marquee and feeling a little nervous for our first gig of the term! Mid October and it was starting to feel cold - hot tea and warm clothes are the order of the day!

getting ready in the tent green room

We loved seeing our logo up there in lights too. We were on at lunchtime, so were very pleased to see people walking towards us as we sang and stay to listen to our set. It felt like a great warm-up for London too - it stretched us, as we hadn't ever been on such a big stage before. We had a great text via a friend of ours - one of the teckies had sent a message saying 'Sandra's choir are amazing, dude!' This is high praise!

Then it was time to wander off and find the cars! We got great feedback from all who heard us and attracted a crowd from way back in the gardens.It felt wonderful to part of this FANZONE venture.


So, straight after that, we were into PR overload and new songs for London. We were sharing a concert with an Essex chamber choir, called Gaudeamus. Part of the 'Brandenburg Choral Festival' idea is to match up very different choirs and have a 'cultural exchange' of songs. We learn one of theirs and they learn one of ours. In fact, we ended up with both choirs singing both songs together and having a wonderful time!

We had pretty much a full house and a wonderfully warm audience, who seemed to appreciate the difference and the high standard of both choirs. We loved it all - Gaudeamus were friendly and warm and we had a very noisy green room session with them. We are also still in contact. We couldn't have sung any better - and it was one of those times when everything works as it should. We'd worked hard for it and it paid off - I think we all came away feeling hugely satisfied. We don't have any pix of us during the concert itself but here are some rehearsal ones!

The rains had come! It was SO wet! Singers were arriving drenched to the skin from the tube to the church.

left: Maralin in full kit arriving at the church

Below: Emma who looks cool no matter what the weather and Brigitte, looking bemused....'But they said sunny and warm!!!' Below:

Chloe (long blonde hair) was studying for her exams inbetween warm-up and concert. Yay! She passed!

Chloe Brigitte and Helen Roz, one of our newer singers and Annabelle with Emma grinning in the back! Penny and Amanda

Warm up on a grand piano!

It was a beautiful church and the acoustics were perfect for both choirs. Here all 60 of us are rehearsing our joint song.

This is the evidence that a London audience loved our singing! At the end of the concert, both choirs and the audience stood up and sang together. It was a really moving moment.

#BrandenburgChoralFestivalofLondon #Fanzone #Gaudeamus

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