Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Surviving stage lights: BeVox at the Nottingham Variety Show

Well, it was an experience for sure.

Saturday was a frantic day: I was up relatively early for a weekend and in town by 10am.  The BeVox choir had to be at the Nottingham Arts Theatre by 10.45am to gather for a soundcheck at about 11.30am for the Nottingham Variety Show.

Packing around 60 people onto a small stage was no mean feat and I was glad I opted to trust my memory as I don't think there would have been room to have my music folder out as well! 

I met Helen and Neil for lunch at Edins and then we headed back to the theatre, and eventually I headed in to sit with other choir members at the back of the theatre (one way to pad out the audience!)

A variety show in this day and age is a tricky thing to do: should you go for nostalgia or for a mix of acts that all bring a contemporary feel to the proceedings?  How diverse should you go?

As BeVox were headlining and so were due at the end of the second half of the show, it was just the first half we could sit through - I'd have liked to see some of the acts that were in the second half (I heard good things about some of them), and inevitably the matinee and evening shows did host a slightly different bill.

Best act of the first half at the matinee: Josh Kemp by a country mile.  Erin Parker is clearly a professional performer as well, but there isn't that much variety in the style of 1940s songs (though it is always good to hear Minnie the Moocher).  Great voice and frock though.

Notes on performers:
  • Know the words: I shouldn't know the words better than you
  • Don't look at your feet
  • This isn't reality TV: we shouldn't like your singing more just because of your biography (though that can be valuable once you're established)
  • Know which is the best item to end on
  • Don't overstay your welcome
Due to a variety of issues, we ended up not going on stage until about 5pm - cue my nerves!

Once we'd lined up on stage - and Neil had finished being stooge for the compere's jokes (and passing on jokes for the evening performance!), it was time for us.  Behind the curtains, we tried to place ourselves as best possible.  My word, stage lights are intense!  I was frying on there.

Our songs were:
  • Take a chance on me (Abba)
  • One Voice (Barry Manilow)
  • Rosé (The Feeling)
  • Amazing Grace
  • Qonqgotwane [The Clicking Song]
  • West Side Story medley - Jet Song, Maria, Tonight Quintet, Somewhere, America (Leonard Berstein)
  • Animal Crackers - The Panther, The Canary, The Kangaroo (based on Ogden Nash's poems, set to music by Eric Whitacre)
  • Total Praise (Richard Smallwood, Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir version)
  • Do you know the way to Amarillo?! (a mash-up of 'Do you know the way to San Jose?' / 'Is this the way to Amarillo?)
  • Lean on me (Bill Withers - the BeVox signature song)

A good experience anyway: here's to the next time!

1 comment:

chrissie_allen said...

That was worthwhile, despite all the hard graft, I should imagine. Excellent.