• Sandra Smith

Encores and standing ovations

Updated: Jun 8, 2020

I'm sitting here on a chilly November day, realising I hadn't updated the blog since last May! We were in a constant whirlwind of activity through the summer and we went straight into concerts at the beginning of this Autumn term too - more of that later!

It was another great concert season with our audiences giving wonderful feedback and calling the set "The best yet."

We kicked off at Kingskerswell church - a beautiful small church run by Graham and Kate who have an utter passion for folk music. As is usual for us, it was a rush to be ready for the first gig of the season. We had a lot of new songs in the set and I had them moving, too! For the women, this isn't an issue - for the men, however, moving and singing can be one step too far - literally! I think we spent a silly amount of time trying not to bump into eachother! One song in particular took us weeks to learn and then to get it off by heart, was very hard indeed - but oh my, it was worth it when we saw your reaction!

We didn't have a great dress rehearsal - with so many new songs, movements and learning - we were definitely up to the wire. What do they say about a bad dress run? My goodness, something changed in 4 days and they all pulled it out of the bag for the concert - it flew - they were absolutely magic on the night - it was like we were one unit from start to finish - and the audience leapt to their feet - 1st gig and a standing ovation! What made it extra special is how many former choir members had come to see us sing - it was like a mini reunion!

Kingskerswell gig

Our next gig we were back up to Widecombe on the moor - we love singing in the church - a unique historic Dartmoor building, full of character and beautiful acoustics.Last time we had been there it was a glorious summer's evening - not quite like that this time - it was a very wet , cold and wild summer's night!

Our charity for the summer gigs was Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team - so they came in to run the bar on 2 of our gigs. It's been a lot of fun working with them - they are very fun and friendly people and we were thankful that they didn't need to see us off the moor after the concert! The singing was gorgeous - the songs had been sung in by now, so we felt more confident of them and how they would be received. We had nearly 100 people in the building coming to see us sing - how amazing is that!

Ros cracking everybody up

We are very lucky to have singer/songwriter Tobias Ben Jacob in our choir (above) and he delivered a stunning solo throughout the tour - do check him out - he will be on tour again soon, either as a solo act or with Lucas Drinkwater. Our lovely Ros also had everybody cracking up with laughter with her intro before the final song and I love this photo of her and the background singers as it captures the rapport within the choir.

We also had a special guest! Little 'A' had practised very hard to come and sing the final song with us on stage at Sidmouth Folk Festival, last summer. Right at the last moment she couldn't do it and she was very brave but very disappointed. She came to the concert in her best frock (she thought we should all wear sparkly frocks!) and sang her little heart out on the encore! She stood by her auntie and her older cousin. She was fabulous and a big hit!

We had been invited to sing at MORETON MUSIC DAY - which has been a marvellous festival day for many years, in Moretonhampstead - and this was our first time singing there. It was another very wet weekend, the heavens well and truly opened, but it didn't deter us, or the many happy smiling faces that attended the day's events. We're pleased to say that choirs are a big part of the day - so we were especially chuffed to open the whole proceedings and we had a really wonderful time singing there, with an audience with lots of other choir members in it. We love singing to other choir members - they know what to listen for! The appreciation we are getting is incredibly touching and we are ever so grateful. We must do a big shout out, too, for the festival as the organisation of this event is absolutely first class, which makes for a well run and enjoyable day for all the artists and the public.

Whilst the full choir had a bit of a rest between gigs - a small choir were getting ready to sing a couple of songs at a special wedding. Robin, one of our longest serving Tenor's daughter, was getting married and we were going to sing at the service - not something that we have done before.

We donned our best frocks and sang our little hearts out for her - and it was a truly sweet moment - and Robin just about managed to hold it together - singing for his daughter, how wonderful!

Topsham was our grand finale and what a finale it was - 130 people packed into the hall to see us and our wonderful support, composer and choir friend, Chris Hoban. Another moving evening of singing - this time in a blistering heatwave! Devon life magazine editor Owen Jones came to see us and loved the show. Dartmoor Rescue team ran the bar and we were lucky to have 2 Buckfastleigh based drinks on sale. Barnaby's Brewhouse donated some beer for the bar, as did Silly Buckers Cider also from Buckfastleigh. It seemed to go down very well, as there wasn't much left over at the end. I think we'll do that again, bring Buckfastleigh beer with us to our own gigs - it's a win/win for all concerned!

So that's the summer! It was an incredible season of singing and meeting wonderful people at the gigs.

#Widecombe #Topsham #Moretonhampstead #MoretonMusicDay #Kingskerswellchurch #Worldunlimited #Folkmusic #DartmoorFolkChoir

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