Five months, eighteen rehearsals, a lot of belly laughs and tears of pride later, our Around The World concert is over! And what a concert! Murray, our Musical Director – fresh from working on Dr Dee at the ENO and a multitude of other projects, along with our Artistic Director Oli, skilfully guided us through a tough final afternoon rehearsal as we got to grips with new venue acoustics, percussion and the heat of the spotlights.
After donning our roses and gathering for a final bit of briefing in the green room, suddenly the concert hall filled, the colourful lights came up and it was time to hit the stage.
For me, it was a particularly special evening as it was my first concert with the Pinkies. Nerves nearly got the better of me before we went on. But many mornings rehearsing the lines and choreography on the bus to work (to the amusement of fellow passengers) paid off. I popped my pinkie cherry before a packed audience of hundreds (and one pigeon) at the beautiful St John’s, Smith Square.
This season’s whistle-stop tour of the globe, a celebration of London as a host of the 2012 Olympics and World Pride, saw us get our mouths around a whole host of languages including French, Hebrew, Italian, three Indian dialects, Portugese, Zulu, Swahili and Jiangsu Mandarin.
We were privileged to be joined by the super Gloria choir from Dublin, brought to the stage and conducted by Ian Packham, sporting a cheeky grin. After a grand set nestled around the interval, both choirs joined forces to perform the beautifully elegant Cantique de Jean Racine.
There were a few notable highlights for me – Hsien and Rafael flawlessly opening the concert with Baba Yetu, brimming with confidence; Gloria’s soulful rendition of the heartbreaking And So It Goes by Billy Joel which made me well up; and the lady Pinkies strutting their stuff during a medley of songs from Cabaret (several of the basses had to be held back from bursting onto stage to join them).
No concert is complete without an after-show party, and we let our hair down in style thanks to Gary, our social secretary, who organised a proper knees-up with plenty of dancing and, of course, singing. A fitting way to celebrate the culmination of so much hard work and effort from everyone involved. Many of us wandered home in the daylight some hours later!
After a busy spring, the Pinkies are having a little rest over the summer. I for one can’t wait until next season – it’s one of the biggest in the choir’s long and vibrant history as we turn thirty next year (and, co-incidentally, so do I!). There are big plans afoot! Put Saturday 19th January 2013 in your diary right now as our next concert promises to be a real firework.
Timeline datestamp: 14 July 2012