Exciting times lie ahead for the Pink Singers if the summer 2010 concert is anything to go by.
Having sold out our previous show at the Royal College of Music, we set our sights on a larger and more impressive venue for our summer concert. Aspirations and professionalism were ratcheted up accordingly: new music included the fiendish Eric Whitacre piece With a Lily, whilst our courageous choreography team introduced us to the astonishing – if sometimes elusive – concept of the double bounce.
After many weeks of rehearsal and drilling, we found ourselves entering the imposing Cadogan Hall, with the rosters from Suzanne Vega’s performance the night before still tacked onto our dressing room walls – a heady brush with the big time. Although this was only my third concert with the Pinkies, I sensed unusual excitement and anticipation among my fellow choir members, perhaps a little lubricated by gin.
We kicked off an eclectic programme of music with Vivaldi’s Gloria. The power and passion of 80 voices striking the opening note always makes me shiver. I have to check myself and remember to keep singing rather than stand stunned, impersonating a goldfish. It’s a fantastically thrilling thing to be part of a group of people who work to create something together, however fleeting each chord is.
We sang our way from Elizabethan England to modern-day America via the Deep South, before wrapping up the first half with an energetic rendition of the ever-popular Italian Salad – the operatic mainstay of impromptu Pinkie performances in the streets (and pubs) of Soho. It signalled the mood for a lighter second half, a highlight of which was Sh-Boom, which despite having one of the least challenging alto parts ever, is certainly a crowd-pleaser. The girls did their best at pretending to be errant, but angelic, French schoolboys in a female voices rendition of the music from the film Les Choristes, but it couldn’t match the élan of the boys’ performance of a Chiffons medley, complete with pink beehive wigs and feather boas.
Some excellent solo and small group turns – almost all from members of the choir –gave the concert colour and variety. A great deal of time and imagination was also expended by the production team in supplying some multimedia panache to proceedings. We had short films of past performances, and even a projected backdrop announcing the songs. An image encapsulated the spirit of each piece (although I’m not sure how much the one of Ronald McDonald’s scarier brother enhanced the emotional poignancy of Send in the Clowns).
I had a fantastic time, a fact noted by my friends in the second row who observed that I even managed my Wednesday Addam’s smile at least once. The audience seemed to like it too. We got a standing ovation – which excited even the more grizzled members of the choir. As an encore, we performed Mack the Knife with gusto and bowed out, to the pub.