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What would be on your MixTape? part 2

On Saturday June 16th The Pink Singers will be singing songs from our 35th Birthday mix-tape. What songs would be on your favourite compilation?


We thought we’d take the opportunity to introduce you to another handful of the Pinkies Management Committee – those stalwart volunteers who keep the Pinkie machine motoring forward. We asked them what three songs they’d have on their mix-tape, and why.


Paul Simon- Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes. My favourite song from my favourite album. Conjures up memories of long summer afternoons.
Frank Turner – love Ire and Song. My mum and I have almost groupie status over Frankie T! This song speaks to my inner activist- it tells us to keep fighting the good fight no matter what.
The King Blues- I Want You. All songs that include Robson and Jerome must be awesome eh? They unfortunately didn’t authorise the Pinkies the use though! Fab to sing on long (or short) drives!
 



Train – drops of Jupiter – I love this song as it reminds me of my good old university days.
Gregory Porter – More than a woman to me – well it’s obvious isn’t it? It’s written about my beautiful fiancee Tracey Button 😍
Jack Johnson – Banana Pancakes – takes me back to my backpacking days lying on a beach in Fiji listening to this album over and over again – amazing!
 
 



 “Who do you think you are?”  The Spice Girls.  This song was released in my late teens, and I see as my ‘coming out anthem’.  It was played in the gay bars in Belfast in the late 90’s and will always be  synonymous with the time in my life when I was discovering a whole new side of myself, having moved to University and experiencing what it was to live by myself and the freedom of embracing my sexuality. And yes, I can do the dance moves.
“All about you”  McFly.  This is such a sweet romantic song, and very much describes a very simplistic and altruistic sense of being in a relationship.  It’s a proper karaoke favourite of mine, and in 2009, My husband Ben and I danced to it as our first dance as a married couple.
“Both Sides Now”  Joni Mitchell.  The Pink Singers sang the most heart wrenching arrangement of this song in my first season back in 2014.  The song is quite emotionally raw, and it provoked such a physiological response in me every time we sang it.  My heart beats faster and I get goose bumps every time I listened to it, and it still does.  It is by far my favourite ever Pinkies song that we have performed.


Now is the time to snap up a ticket for our Mix-Tape concert in June. Get them now – they’re hot!  This week we’ve introduced a group discount – 15% off the top two ticket prices for group bookings of 8 or more people.
Check out this promo video from an excited @TotallyPatsyMay

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Choral geekery

Almost half the Pink Singers are in Munich as this post is written, singing at Various Voices in Munich. We wish them much fun. They are singing a selection from our rep for MixTape – and mark my word!– tickets are going quick for our summer concert. With all the lowest-price tickets gone already, get yours ASAP!!


In the meantime, some of us are left in London without a rehearsal this week.  Sunny, one of our geeky Sopranos, took the opportunity of a gap in the schedule coinciding with her work 24h “hackathon“** to attempt to write some software to tell her when she is singing amiss to the Pinkies score.
Here was the aim:

  • Take a PDF of Pink Singers music
  • Write a programme to turn it into a MIDI
  • Singalong to the backing track and record that singing as a MIDI
  • Compare those MIDIs and output where the singing is amiss

 

It turns out that the following is true:

  • There is software out there that will do some of this for you, but that’s no fun. Start from scratch to learn things!
  • It’s really hard to turn a PDF of sheet music into an accurate MIDI
  • Sheet music and MIDI can be represented as MusicXML, which can be read by all sorts of software, like Sibelius and other cheaper software
  • It’s even harder to turn a vocal recording into an accurate MIDI, if you aren’t an operatically trained singer 🙁  :

Three Blind Mice Vocal Recording into MIDI


 
However, we got something working:

Read the PDF


Friendly interface


Note comparison code


Compared output


 
 
 
So, Sunny will be using her new software to make sure that Rainy Days and Mondays and other top tunes are spit-spot for our June 16th Concert.
In the meantime, we wish the Pinkies in Muenchen Viel Gluck!!
**hackathon – 24h to write computer code as quick as you can


What would be on your Mix-Tape?

On Saturday June 16th The Pink Singers will be singing songs from our 35th Birthday mix-tape. What songs would be on your favourite compilation? 


We thought we’d take the opportunity to introduce you to a handful of the Pinkies Management Committee – those stalwart volunteers who keep the Pinkie machine motoring forward. We asked them what three songs they’d have on their mix-tape, and why.



Scissor Sisters, I don’t feel like dancin’. This reminds me of going to a gay night at Black Sheep Bar in Croydon in my 20s with my best friends and dancing all night, on a Wednesday night. It was so fun and I was just getting to see how fun being gay could be!
George Michael and Elton John. Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me. Before I got together with my girlfriend I started singing this one day walking along a mountain road in Taiwan and she joined in with me singing the harmony. I loved singing with her and I’ve never looked back!
I Choir, written specially for and sung by the Pink Singers. If you haven’t heard it, it’s on our CD “By Special Arrangement” so go – buy it now!



Orbital – ‘Halcyon’.  Orbital are my favourite band ever, got into them around aged 16 when I discovered ambient and electro music. This song is a piece of genius and makes me smile every time.
bis – ‘Eurodisco’.  This song reminds me of dancing my pants off to their gigs so many times across the years, its such a pop tune! Hopefully I will get the chance to dance at many more gigs to come in  future.
Marvin Gaye – ‘Abraham, Martin & John’.  This song reminds me of my mum, she loved Motown and I’d always sing and dance to their albums with her in our house. She brought so much love and light to my life, and like the song says ‘the good die young’. Never forgotten you Mum.



Forever & Ever (Demis Roussos). I threatened to sing this to my fiance on our wedding day, he HATES it!
Can you Feel it (The Jacksons). A disco classic that you cannot help but get up and dance to
 
Wow (Kylie Minogue) Love this song and it should have been a bigger hit! The Pinkies should definitely do a version!
 



We Can Do Better Than That, from The Last 5 Years by Jason Robert Brown. I could have chosen any song from this musical, or frankly anything by JRB. I love the concept of this show and the perfect way it’s played out.
Don’t Rain On My Parade from Funny Girl by Jule Styne and Bob Merrill. When the choir went to Manchester last August for Hand in Hand, while everyone else was at the launch party I went to see this musical at the Opera House (a much better night out by my standards 😉 ). I already knew I loved Sheridan Smith (leading the cast) but I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with the show. This show recurs throughout the show, firstly as her wanting to impress her boss, and then her husband to be, and then finally as a show of female independence.
Into The Words, from Forbidden Broadway (sensing a theme yet?!). I was lucky enough to play the clarinet for an amateur dramatic production of Into The Woods which, unfortunately, and controversially, cemented my dislike for Sondheim musicals. This song provided my with some relief during a long week!


More coming next week!  In the meantime, now is the time to snap up a ticket for our Mix-Tape concert in June.  Get them now – they’re hot!


Happy 35th Birthday, Pinkies!!

Joey

Our beloved Joey wishes the Pinkies many happy returns of the day, and explains why this choir means so much to him.

Join the Pinkies as we celebrate our 35th Birthday in our own inimitable way at our June concert: The Pink Singers Mixtape: Celebrating 35 years.


The Pink Singers turn 35 today!

The Pink Singers, London’s magnificent and quintessentially fabulous LGBT+ choir turn 35 today! Arriving in a new city without any friends, I joined the choir when the Pinksters turned 25. Fast forward 10 years and those closest to me trace their roots to the Pinkies. I can’t quite imagine London in a pre-Pinkie era! There have been so many Pinkie fairy dust moments: singing at St Pancras Church in the aftermath of the Orlando nightclub shooting; marching in the first Maltese Pride March in Valletta; numerous Prides in Trafalgar Square; standing by Mumbai’s first LGBT+ choir, to name just a few.

The choir is love, LGBT+ love, pure and simple.

Today’s milestone for the Pink Singers is not only a milestone for the Pink Singers – it is a milestone for all those who may once have felt alone and found consolation through others – it is a milestone for anyone who has ever felt persecuted and been given a helping hand – it is a milestone for anyone who has ever felt unloved and found a hug.

Anyone who has ever been involved in The Pink Singers shares today’s birthday.

So I wish each and everyone of them a piece of Pinkie magic today.
Because, no matter what, once a Pinkie, always a Pinkie.


From melody to 8-part harmony: arranging for the Pinkies

Chris C


With just over a month until our next concert, A Night At The Movies – The Sequel, we thought we’d find out how Chris Chambers, one of our home-grown arrangers, goes about his craft. 
 
 


The Pink Singers’ concert repertoire comprises a superb collection of songs from movies, in a variety of styles.  Although we acquire some rights for existing arrangements, we are lucky enough to have several talented Pinkies who arrange beautiful songs especially for us.  Chris has been doing this for several years, so we thought we’d quiz him on how the magic happens. Here it is in his own words:


STEP 1: THE SONG

The announcement of the concert theme is succeeded by a lengthy trawling of internet ‘top 100’ lists. I also see if I can sneakily find a tenuous link between my favourite pieces of music and the theme in question.  The list of suggested repertoire is released for the Music Team’s consideration which is also a good time to sway opinion. And drink wine. Then I wait to see what the Artistic Team would like to offer me.

STEP 2: THE ARRANGEMENT

As a teacher this is normally done in my holiday repose after a certain amount of dread and much procrastination. In the final 2 days of my six week holiday I set up the laptop, turn the telly on in the background (somehow this makes it seem like less of a formal commitment to hours of work) and place the first of a multipack of Diet Coke on the digital piano. I then spend hours playing the same chords over and over again, much to the delight of my husband, until I stumble accidentally on something I like.

Four hours later this is all securely entered into the music notation software. The play button is pressed and the afternoon’s work is duly deleted. When eventually completed the score is emailed to the Artistic Team 4-7 times to rectify numerous omissions, errors and changes of heart. Sadly the hours spent listening to and playing my favourite songs over and over again render me insensitive to the reasons I liked them in the first place.

STEP 3: REALISATION


The rights have been successfully obtained and it is the exciting first rehearsal with the choir. Some parts of the arrangement instantly come to fruition. There is a certain degree of disappointment with some of my decisions and my unreasonable expectation that everyone should sing it perfectly from the first read through. These hugely narcissistic thoughts fed by an extreme fear of inadequacy are usually allayed by the second rehearsal. The ensuing sense of achievement and satisfaction is punctuated with occasional trips from my rehearsal chair to the musical director to highlight yet more omissions, errors and changes of heart.

STEP 4: POST-CONCERT


Of course, everything works out well in the end. I vow not to do any more arrangements due to the emotional turmoil. The theme of the next concert is revealed. I remember that I am incredibly lucky to be an amateur having their work performed by such a vast and able choir and repeat Step 1.
A Night At The Movies – The Sequel will be performed by The Pink Singers at Cadogan Hall on Saturday 20th January.  Tickets are on sale here.