After months and months of planning, it’s almost showtime as the Pinkies are on the final countdown to our much-anticipated return to the Hackney Empire this Saturday 19 July. So what exactly does go on behind the scenes? Pinkies Chair Mark gives a brief glimpse into how we get ready for a concert of this scale.
We’ve been rehearsing for Notes from a Small Island since February – with four hours of rehearsals every week. It’s only really in the last few weeks though when things really start coming together. Sunday rehearsals invariably become more anxious as we move ‘off copy’ and begin singing from memory. We’re standing in the right concert positions too, with our placings marked up with masking tape. Concert props have also started appearing and we have to get used incorporating them – remembering to sing and dance at the same time!
Where we do choreography for some numbers, this last week is the time to finally commit the moves to memory. We usually rehearse in a dance studio with large mirrors, so it’s easier to copy others if you get lost. The last few weeks though mean you’re on your own, as the curtains get drawn across the mirrors. These mirrors are also our secret weapon. To help us practice, we film ourselves doing choreography and post these videos online for Pinkies to strut their stuff in the privacy of their own homes. By filming the mirrors – right hands are right hands and left legs are left legs, which helps enormously in committing the moves to memory.
The last week of rehearsals also highlight for people the songs they need to work on in the last few days – but also gives reassurance that others have been nailed. Last minute cramming invariably follows, using part-specific piano tracks for each song to lock in the notes and recordings of the full choir in rehearsal to pin down entry cues from other voice sections. We have a special members section on our website where we keep all these practice materials – lovingly called ‘Pink Bits’.
The final part of our preparations is a dress rehearsal just a few days before the concert where we run the show in full and polish off any rough edges. Even on concert day we’re working hard too. The choir will be onstage from lunchtime, fine-tuning each piece while we also run a technical rehearsal to synchronise lighting and sound.
It’s been incredibly hard work, but we’re thrilled to be performing this Saturday with such a fantastic theme – the best of British Songwriters and Composers. One of our aims as a choir is to excite, entertain and educate our audience. You’ll have all of that in abundance.
Tickets are available now for £10-30 on the web or by calling 020 8985 2424. Discounts available for groups of 8+ and concessions.