Two weeks till our first rehearsal

Putting on a concert requires a bit of planning and with ours just a month away this is the point when I try not to start worrying! My only worry is always the same one – that we won’t get a decent-sized audience! But by the time it gets to the day there’s nothing more you can do. Here’s where we are at the moment:

Posters and flyers were done weeks ago, but most shops and other outlets are reluctant to put posters up until a couple of weeks before the concert. I’ve been watching other choirs get their posters up all over the place and this is guaranteed to wind me up as I always have the knee-jerk reaction ‘we need to be more visible’. Two choirs who have their concerts this weekend and next have taken over the Tourist Information Centre windows. I asked in there about us doing something similar the week before our concert, and was told ‘it’s all booked out the to District Council for their (as yet unspecified) events’ – gah!  I’m still hopeful they’ll put up an A3 poster at least, as they are selling tickets for us. We’ll see. It’s just not on to be pushy with the nice TIC people, however desperate you’re feeling!

And then there’s the posters-on-lamp-posts dilemma – personally I don’t like it because I think makes the town look scruffy, especially if they’re not taken down after the event but left to rot slowly. But they are in-your-face. So maybe they sell tickets. Or not. We have a good number of leaflets so I’ll be doing door-drops, but these are more effective in the two weeks prior to the date. So I have to sit on them for the moment, although of course we’re giving them out to people as and when. Plus we have a number of local choir members who’ve pledged to get posters up and give out leaflets, and they’re always great at bringing their friends and family to the concert. I’m trying to place an ad in the concert programme of another choir, but haven’t yet had an answer from them. I could save our money (we don’t have any sponsors) and just loiter outside after other choirs’ concerts, thrusting leaflets into people’s hands but I know I won’t – it’s something else I don’t like being on the receiving end of – I’m just too squeamish for this job!

Other tasks are less stressful – we hired the Vivaldi scores ages ago from the local library – they run an excellent service. We’ve decided the rest of the programme and the music is coming (mostly) from the ‘Houghton Loft Library’ as it’s loftily known at ours. In other words the lovingly catalogued dozen or so boxes of sheet music in the loft cupboards. I’ve calculated where we’re short, numbered and allocated it all. I’ve asked Nick to assign voice parts (where the voices split) and he has yet to write string parts for several of the carols (we’re being accompanied by a lovely string quartet led by Red Priest’s Julia Bishop, with Nick on chamber organ).

We booked the glasses hire ages ago (something we’ve learnt from experience, especially during the Christmas party season). We’ve managed to book three extra sopranos to sing with us, as many of our regulars aren’t available. I still need to ‘brief’ two of them. We’ve hired the church hall for our two rehearsals,  our usual venue St Michael’s being unavailable.

Our first rehearsal is on December 7th, followed by one more a week later and then on the day of the concert. When we’re doing anything new and challenging we send the music out beforehand, but it’s expensive and risky as it can get lost in the post. This time it’s pretty much repertoire (or at least sight-readable) so we’ll hand out music at the first rehearsal. We have such a great group of singers it’s always exciting to start singing and realise yet again that it’s going to wonderful. Whether or not we fill the church!

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