The last time I sang in public was during the Christmas lights switch-on in Spalding town centre.
A group from SADOS were promoting our forthcoming play, Hi-de-Hi, with a number of songs from the 1950s.
Apart from having a blast singing the duet, ‘How Do You Like Your Eggs in the Morning’, my favourite number was an a capella version of ‘Why Do Fools Fall in Love’. There was something very satisfying about singing in harmony.
A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to exercise my lungs again when I took part in a fun evening of song with Cantemus. Spalding’s illustrious chamber choir has entertained audiences at home and abroad with their varied repertoire for 28 years. Eric Wayman, their talented musical director, had opened up rehearsals for one night to anyone interested in having a sing.
The ranks of the choir doubled from their usual 30 that night. I was a little nervous, I have to admit, but I saw several faces I knew including two people I had performed with in a SADOS production of ‘Anything Goes’ way back in 2003.
To loosen up we had a quick canter through ‘I Could Have Danced All Night’ and a short Latin number, ‘Da Pacem Domine’. Then it became a bit tougher. We had been asked to print off the sheet music for three further songs in advance and these were up next. As I was aware that most, if not all, members of Cantemus are proficient at reading music, I cheated by listening to the songs beforehand on YouTube. I was therefore able to ‘follow the dots’ with rather more finesse than would have been the case if I’d come to it cold.
‘April is in My Mistress’ Face’ is an odd title for a song but this madrigal by Thomas Morley was quite beautiful and the choir worked its way through July in her eyes and September in her bosom before discovering that cold December was in her heart. A lesson to be learned there.
Another delightful madrigal, ‘Come Again’ by John Dowland, was followed by a more challenging ‘Ave Maria’ by Mozart. The choir and additional voices did an amazing job in a just an hour and a half, even putting on a concert in the last ten minutes for an appreciative audience of one.
It’s no wonder they say singing, particularly in choirs, is good for your health. I left that night in great spirits, my heart and lungs having had a considerable workout.
I do hope I get the chance to sing with Cantemus again but in the meantime I can replicate that feeling of exhilaration by going to see them perform. They have arranged three summer evening concerts, beginning in Crowland Abbey on June 11 followed by St Laurence Church, Surfleet, on June 25 and St Mary’s Church, Long Sutton on July 9. The programme includes Bach, Sondheim and Lloyd Webber. More details can be found at www.cantemus-spalding.com
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