• Sandra Smith

Show of Hands Exmouth Xmas 2015

Part 2 of our amazing Autum/Winter term 2015

We were straight back into song learning after our London debut at the Brandenburg Choral Festival. Show Of Hands wanted us to sing on 7 songs in 3 weeks’ time. Steve Knightley was going to be in rehearsal with us on that 3rd week. So.....we had 2 weeks to arrange our parts, learn it all and make it sound right! If we said the pressure was on – that was an understatement! Really bad colds were flying through the choir with a loss of voice and the choir were exhausted from the London gig. But, true to form, the singers rallied and came in albeit tired and achy, so they didn’t miss anything and learnt it in their sick beds! They can be amazing under pressure!

We were lucky that Rob Waite is the sound engineer for SOH on tour and he also did our recordings last January, so he knows our sound and what we can do. Both he and Steve came into rehearsal to check everything worked. Steve was brilliant at coaching the choir – he stretched us more and changed things around in songs to make them fit in with the band. Have to say, it was a joy to watch him work with us.

We had a long rehearsal on the day in Exmouth pavilions. We got there at 2pm to warm-up and rehearse with the band, work out how to get 25 singers on and off stage quickly and to let Sandra have a practice conducting via a video monitor. The video monitor was at the front of the stage and targeting Steve Knightley on every song the choir sang. Obviously Sandra’s facing the back of the stage, towards the choir and can’t see Steve for cues. The video link was a genius idea from Rob Waite!

Rehearsing in the bar whilst the sound crew got ready on stage. First time with fiddle (Phil) and more harmonies (Miranda) They all sound just as brilliant without mics as they do with!

This is going through 'The Keeper' an original song by Steve Knightley and arranged by Chris Hoban (aka Old Lych Way composer)

After we got all the little bits right, we were shown backstage and up to the green room. We thought we were royalty! Food and drink were all laid out for us and the crew - we aren't used to such great treatment! So it was a bit of a chinwag, get changed and nervously pace up and down backstage waiting to go on!

The lighting effects were stunning - we looked like ghosts walking on and off. The whole gig was a tremendous opportunity for us and we loved every moment. All the crew were friendly and welcoming and the band were really accomodating of us too - happy to feedback and encourage. Such a wonderful night with incredible musicians. Have a look on our media page for video footage taken by Jenir123 . You can subscribe to her on youtube and see loads of great local gigs.

A little bit of RnR inbetween rehearsal and gig.Left to right, Howard, David, Keith, Annabelle, Emma

From foreground to back, Tom, Sue, John, Krys

They were there a while......... You can tell we are now seasoned 'giggers' by the flask of tea!

#ShowOfHandsExmouthPavilion #SteveKnightley #MirandaSykes #PhilBeer #ChrisHoban

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