What better way to start the New Year than with Caribbean food!
The 3rd January saw the Chorale back to rehearsal but not a lot of singing was done. Handing in and collating Christmas concert music was the first task, followed by singing through three new pieces. This writer was pleased to see Billy Joel’s classic Goodnight My Angel is now in our repertoire. Only a handful of the Chorale knew this, but it didn’t sound like it – particularly in the bridge short-long doo-doos, which sounded just like the King’s Singers. We’ll have to hand out hankies when we perform this one.
And then it was time for our first social event of the year – Caribbean food served up by Chef Jimmy Gill and his team from The Drop Caribbean Bar Cafe in Chorlton. We didn’t have to go far for this either: we were served in our rehearsal hall at St Matthew’s Church, everything brought to us. Jerk Chicken, Curry Goat, Lamb Chop, Rice ‘n’ Peas, Fried Plantain, Fried Dumplings, Sweet Potato, Slaw – all delicious and at a very reasonable price (negotiated by this writer, who also happens to be said Chef’s dad). This was all top-and-tailed by rum punch and brownies with ice-cream. What a great meal, and we all got Drop membership cards to save us 15% when dropping in! Give it a try.
Our two Christmas concerts at The Bridgewater Hall were sell-outs. I don’t think anyone goes home disappointed – they are just good fun for audience and performers alike. We get to sing some songs a cappella, some with the Manchester Concert Orchestra and some with the whole audience. The audiences’ favourite is always The Twelve Days of Christmas because they get to do all the actions to go with each day. At the ‘Christmas Singalong’, The Chorale takes the lead and we’re now pretty good at doing all the actions. Eventually, the audience can restrain themselves no longer and they jump to their feet at ‘Five go-old rings’ – some stay there until the end.
On a smaller scale, The Chorale also provided quartets to the Radisson Blu Hotel in Manchester to sing carols for people having afternoon tea during the pre-Christmas period. It’s a measure of the Chorale’s flexibility in terms of performers (85 at the Singalong to a quartet), audience (2,500 at the Singalong to about 50 in the Radisson) and memory (especially when the soprano starts singing a different version of In the Bleak Mid Winter in the last verse and we all have to remember the harmony – no names).