Last Wednesday I spent a fun evening with Silver Lining chorus in Coventry. It was the last session of a learn-to-sing course they’ve been running over the last few weeks, which has been both successful and popular. My session was intended as a transition from the course into the new repertoire the chorus would be starting with the participants who chose to stay on, and involved teaching a short version of my arrangement of Mamma Mia preparatory to the chorus learning the full version.
Now the challenge we set ourselves was not merely to learn all four parts of a song in a single evening, but for all singers to learn all four parts. This is possibly not as insane as it may sound, since I had originally written the arrangement for a workshop Magenta ran on the same lines, so I had designed the parts to be easily learnable. (One thing that really keeps you honest as an arranger is when you know you’ll have to teach everything you write down.) Still, it was a reasonably challenging task for singers who are accustomed to singing a single part, and learning that from a recording at their leisure. There were some who really didn’t believe we would make it!
In fact, the singers did a fabulous job.