Last weekend, the Pink Singers took part in the Manchester Amateur Choral Competition which saw 15 choirs from around the country meet and compete. The competition is not solely focused on the winning choir – simply the satisfaction of having sung to a high standard and the opportunity to experience and enjoy the diversity of performance from other amateur choirs. Our bass, Tom, gives his account here…
To paraphrase Kermit the Frog, it’s not easy being a Pinkie: first there’s the rehearsal commitment, where you have to sing with your friends once a week for a few hours. Then there’s the requirement to learn and perform some spine-tingling pieces. And there’s occasional travel….
So when the rallying call went out for willing participants to enter a choral competition in Manchester and spend a weekend up north, of course I jumped at the chance. What better opportunity to see the Pinkie family, crush those post-concert blues, and turn the red rose pink in the process.
We set off on a cold Friday evening and after a lively train journey, gathered on Canal Street for a night out. Much silly dancing took place – the kind that only seems to exist on holiday.
Saturday was our rehearsal day. Time to have some lunch and get down to the business of polishing our competition performance. With everyone gathered in the cosy surroundings of the downstairs room at Via on Canal Street, we ran through our songs. A last chance to dot the “i”s and cross the “t”s.
And then came Sunday, competition day. The air was filled with excitement in the foyer at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM). Choirs from across the country were here to compete for the trophy, performing in the RNCM’s stunning, newly-refurbished Concert Hall, buoyed by some fantastic support from the audience. We were scheduled to be on last, so we were able to see a good few of the other choirs perform – and as their notes resonated around the room it was clear that the standard was very high.
All too soon it was our turn. We were ushered into the warm-up room. Deep breaths all round. It feels like a different kind of adrenaline kicks in for a competition performance. A brief run-through. More deep breaths. Queuing up outside the concert hall. Then, walking on stage.
We opened with Murray’s (our conductor) arrangement (remix) of Vieni Imeneo from Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, followed by a rearrangement of Blackbird and finishing with I Wanna Dance With Somebody. As the last note of Whitney drifted up to the ceiling it was time to relax a little. We didn’t have long to wait before the results came in from the judges, and…
…were thrilled to come third! following some superb performances from the Edinburgh Police Choir and the winning choir, The Noteables.
The return journey seemed to pass by in a haze, with a collective sing-along through the entire Pinkies’ back catalogue. The acoustics of a Virgin Pendolino aren’t quite as glorious as the RNCM Concert Hall but we gave it a go anyway.
And so with Manchester my last cherry was popped – my “competition cherry” (in the Pinkies there seems to be a cherry for everything).
The last four months have been hard work. But, as I write this blog, watching a video of our competition performance has made me realise why I joined. It’s when people get together that great things happen. This season has been an absolute blast. Wild horses wouldn’t keep me away from the next one.