A Night at the Movies was the culmination of my first season with the Pinkies, and so I was continually reminded I was “popping my Pinkie cherry”. Prior to joining the choir, I had never been to a Pinkies concert. Although I had performed in choirs for many years in Sydney, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would I be nervous? Would it be a professional appearance? Would the concert ‘come together’ on the night?
Any uncertainty I had was soon eased upon arriving at the venue. As I walked from the Underground station to the venue, there was the most glorious parade of Pinkies carrying the most sensational array of hat boxes, suit bags, suitcases full of makeup, the obligatory feather boas and of course the absolutely necessary glitter that is required for such a concert.
There had been many months of rehearsals leading into the big day. There had been a lot of blood sweat and tears – and literally tears from all of us on different occasions trying as we tried to memorise repertoire and choralography (aka choreography for choirs).
The afternoon of the show was spent in a full technical rehearsal. It went something like this… Start a song. Stop midway. Move to the right. Readjust lighting levels. Have a sip of water. Start the song again. Stop again. We’d moved too far to the right. Shuffle the left. No the other left. No no. Keep going. Have a sip of water. Have a chat amongst ourselves. Fix the balance between the band and the choir. Have another chat. Okay start again. Repeat. Next song. Repeat the process. Have another sip of water.
I was soon starting to realise any apprehension I had about the concert had been far too premature. What was quickly unfurling was an A-Grade professional performance of the highest calibre – choir, bigband, piano, solos, movement, lighting, videos, audience interaction, emotion. There was an apparent degree of pre-performance preparation and thought put in by a very talented team of Pinkies. We were scheduled to deliver a fun-filled and spectacular evening.
What could only be described as a whirlwind ‘dinner break’ to allow us to have a costume change, quickly see any friends we’d had arrive at the venue, apply the obligatory mascara, eye liner and glitter (and that was just the boys), and a few mee-mee-mee-mee-mee exercises to warm up the vocal chords and it was time to channel the adrenalin to walk on stage.
Waiting in the wings there was the necessary collective apprehension before a concert – something I’d experienced many times before. Would we remember our words? Would we remember our steps? Would we remember what song was coming next? Would the audience love us?
As the opening trailer video began we walked onto stage in darkness. As the first lights on stage came to full brightness the audience opened into what can only be described as rapturous applause. This applause said everything: they were thrilled to be with us for the evening and they going to be an amazing audience. You couldn’t help but grin standing on stage to the sound the audience made.
What had otherwise seemed like an eternity of a first half in the technical rehearsal flashed before our (and the audiences’) eyes during the actual concert. Before we knew it we were wiggling and grooving and the magnificent London Gay Big Band was at full blast during ‘One Night Only’. We were reaching for the sky with our hands in the air to signify the end of the first half. We walked off stage buzzing – everyone commenting in the wings how quickly the first half seemed to go by whilst the rapturous applause continued to echo in our eyes and throughout the hall long after we’d walked off.
More mee-mee-mee-mee-mee exercises during the break to keep the vocal chords warm and it was time to start the second half. Another whirlwind of time ensued and next thing we knew we were bowing to the loudest applause of the evening from a very enthusiastic and supportive audience. The performance was over, but the adrenalin was still flowing. The audience couldn’t get enough of us. They were ecstatic.
An email a close friend of mine wrote the next day summarised the whole event perfectly:
“It was absolutely brilliant…Excellent choice of programme – which I thought I would not know or enjoy much, but was totally captivated….The orchestral music was arranged for voices which lost nothing in my opinion and gained something new.
The diction was so good that I understood every word. And that is a new experience for me…They sang and played as one voice with a level of professional listening together that is world class…There were some fabulous solo voices.
The choir sang without any music throughout and moved as a team fully engaged in their choreographed meaningful expressions which was most entertaining…There were unexpected visual projections above that were extremely well chosen with flawless timing.
And the whole programme was punctuated with humour and fun… I was deeply moved many times.
I expected it to be delivered OTT i.e. over dramatic or too loud, as I find many musicals tend to be, but it wasn’t.
I have been puzzling what the difference is between this performance and the other hundreds of vocal concerts I have attended or sung in. And my conclusion is that there is a level of courage and daring which delivers far more of the individual talents directly through genuine personality than the average traditional ‘English’ mentality which I feel tries to present in ‘the most acceptable way’ which screens the truth in the attempt not to offend.
Boy, these guys know how to perform!”
I originally joined the Pink Singers as a way to again express myself musically, and being new to London as a way to meet like-minded people. Having now finished my first season, I not only satisfied these two notions but have found a new family. I couldn’t have asked to have been welcomed so warmly into such a large family. The Pinkies are true consummate professionals, with generous hearts, welcoming smiles, and the right amount of ‘fabulousness’.
If you haven’t been to a Pinkies concert, I implore you to join us on the 19th July for our next concert: Notes from a Small Island.
Photographs by Boy Oh Boy Photography