Sunday, 13 October 2013

me and morris

I'd been thinking of looking for an additional choir, as well as London Gallery Quire.

I went for LGQ when I was looking (in 2010, I think) because you didn't need to be able to read music, it was a kind of music I fancied (not big classical, more traditional, at the folk end of things, not a pop song or gimmicky choir, familiar in style from some of Maddy Prior and the Carnival Band), and it was on a good night for me (there are sites where you can find lists of choirs in your area; I did my research).

I'm very happy with LGQ, but thought I could manage another, as it's only fortnightly. I also wondered if I could find something more folky. I had quite some time ago tried a folk choir at Sharp's, but I didn't stick with it; we most often sang foreign songs in unfamiliar arrangements, and it never felt like I/we were making much headway; I don't remember if there was something that changed that created a point to leave, perhaps a change of day or simply an end of term. (In fact I see I've noted that I saw them in July at the British Library; they were very professional but I'm not sorry I didn't stick with them, as the professionalism and the arrangements weren't my cup of tea.)

I had seen the Morris Folk Choir at Sharp's folk club, during a singer's night, a couple of years ago. One of them took some photos on the night, including a couple of me while I was singing. Afterwards I spoke to Michelle, who was the leader of the choir. Earlier this year Flickr had a relaunch with lots more free space for free customers, which drew me back to it, and I think it was then that I saw those photos again. I don't remember if I'd been thinking of the Morris choir before that, or if that prompted it. Anyway, I found their website again, and saw/heard them elsewhere online. I saw they were on Tuesdays, and thought I'd give them a go.

I went along (to a room upstairs at the Hope and Anchor on Upper Street, where they meet) on Tuesday 25 June, which I think may have been the first Tuesday after I'd decided to see what it was like. I'd noticed on the website that it said that they currently had a full complement. I'd also noticed that the last Tuesday of the month was usually a folk club, with a shorter, open rehearsal beforehand, and I thought that would be a good way to see what the choir was like without crashing a rehearsal. I wasn't sure of the set-up, though, or even if there was definitely a folk club on, so on the day I sent messages to the website email address and the Facebook page, but didn't hear anything (I had left it till the afternoon, so wasn't completely surprised), so decided just to go along anyway.

I'm glad I didn't get a reply, because they'd probably have put me off coming, because it turned out there wasn't a folk club at all, as they were having a concert on the Saturday so had decided to rehearse for that, so I turned up in the middle of the rehearsal. They were apologetic, but I didn't mind, and in fact it suited me better, because I just joined in with them as they were rehearsing. It was mostly solidly folk songs, with some modern songs, but I liked the arrangements.

I didn't go along to hear the concert, but I did go along the next Tuesday for the next rehearsal, but found no one there except a woman who was about to do a try-out for her Edinburgh Fringe comedy show. She was Catriona Knox, and I stayed for it, and enjoyed it. Again Michelle was very apologetic when I emailed to say I'd gone along but no one was there - I hadn't got onto the emailing list yet, so didn't get the email saying the rehearsal was cancelled because the pub had let the room to someone else and so they had a social meeting in a pub elsewhere.

I was signed up to the email group, and read back through emails, which gave me a good flavour of the choir. I remember liking the swopping of information about folk gigs and folk songs there was. I also noticed the info about the choir's coming involvement in a play called The Events at the Young Vic. The emails also indicated that they were looking for a few more men, so the website was a little out of date in that regard; I think I picked up more recently that there is a waiting list for women.

I went back on the next Tuesday, by which time I was pretty sure I was going to give it a go, and the Tuesday after that. And the Tuesday after that, 23 July, was the night James and Polina from the Actors Touring Company came to rehearse us for The Events dress rehearsal the following night.