10 weeks of practise all aimed at this one day. The culmination of all our efforts and hard work. This is why we do it….Isn’t it?
Every Wednesday night for 10 weeks, over 200 of us head to Gosforth and spend 2 hours with our friends, learning songs, laughing and escaping from everything else in our life. And we do it knowing that the end result will be awesome, no matter what happens over those 10 weeks. We know that on show day, it will all come together and we will love every minute.
We all have our little traditions and habits that make the day seems so special, but we all have the love of singing at its heart.
Now I don’t know about anyone else, but I always seem to wake early on choir day – it must be the excitement. Checking and double checking that I have everything…..Toothbrush? Pass? Special snacks and sweets to throw into the middle of the table? Tights? (no bare grrrr legs allowed – Nicola Mulgrew will understand that one!) It’s all the little things that help the day go smoothly.
I have never done a concert without my choir buddy Gill at my side and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It is after all thanks to her that I discovered Inspiration. And it’s about that as much as the singing. We all have our group friends, the people that make the day a great memory.
As soon as we walk through the door, there’s a feeling of excitement and for me of belonging. Maybe I’m alone in that, but I wear my Inspiration top and feel part of The Sage. I feel proud and like this is where we are meant to be. I love it when people ask about us and I get to say “Oh yes, we’re singers, we’re performing in Hall 1 later on”
So after a customary coffee and cake, we head into Hall 1 to rehearse with The Royal Northern Sinfonia….I know!! How cool is that? For 2 hours, we get to sing in an empty hall, tweak anything that needs tweaking and listen to the stunning orchestra. That is a gift in itself. I mean Hall 1 is a beautiful place, a very calming place. All we need now is an audience. Once the rehearsal is done, we get time to eat and maybe have a cheeky glass of rose (just to calm the nerves). And then it’s time to get beautiful. Black and Red is the order of the day. There’s quite a strict dress code which does get a bit of grumbling but the end result is stunning. We all look smart, professional and finished. Well people are paying to see us, so it feels right that we take a lot of pride and put in so much effort. And then we’re off.
Curtain call and we all set off through the corridors back stage, to line up in our snake (just a really big line lol). You can feel the excitement, hear the chattering, and all 200+ of us are all feeling the same. We all seem to be giggling like children. Calls of “shhhhh” rush along the line “quick, we’re on”………and on we go.
Usually we arrive on stage as the audience are getting their seats. We all scan the room to spot ‘our people’. Having friends and family there is lovely. Finally they can see what we have been aiming for, why the headphones have been fixed to our ears and why that lady/man has been in the car cd player for weeks. This is what we needed, an audience. Maybe we are just all exhibitionists. We all just want to show off. The lights go down and silence descends…….
Gary, our Musical Director walks on. This is the man that makes it all happen. He has the power to make us do amazing things. When he’s there we all believe we can…….and we do. With the lift of his hands, he stands us and we begin. Our eyes, well my eyes are fixed on him, following his facial expressions, encouraging us to smile, to dance, to be more passionate or quieter. His hand gestures turn us into puppets. All of us under his control, wanting to please him, to show him his effort has paid off. If we impress him, we will almost certainly have pleased the audience. We are all working on adrenaline. I always feel like I’m in a bubble, like its not real. And then with one movement, he stops us…..and then…..the applause……Oh my goodness, they loved us, they really loved us, we did it, we made all these people happy. We fed their soul and ours. Song after song and then the show is over and we are all buzzing.
As soon as Gary waves at us, we are free to wave at our people and then it starts….the chattering between everyone. ‘Did you see this?’ ‘Wasn’t that bit amazing?’ ‘I couldn’t stop crying in this’…… And we all feel it, we all have this bond, this connection. Because we did it together. Together we made magic happen. And I want to do it all over again.