Concert Day when we know the homes are coming always has an extra buzz about it- it might be the extra concert, the picnicking together in the hall, the effort everyone puts in the make the place look beautiful and to make tea and cakes for our guests, who knows. But it always feels extra special, and Saturday 18th May was no different.
Being able to leave our gear at the Civic made a huge different to our start, and we really hit the ground running with Sam at the helm. By the time our guests had started arriving, we’d sound checked and were ready to go. The two choirs looked stunning with our new silk flower buttonholes, and we sang our hearts out. Some of the care home guests were up on their feet dancing which was lovely to see, and all said they’d had a smashing afternoon.
A couple of hours break gave us time to eat and redecorate the tables in time for the evening. Guests arrived with tickets in hand, and we seated a packed hall ready for an evening of Songs of Love and Life.
Kicking off with the Feelings megamix, the Black Eyed Peas seemed the best way to launch the evening, with the promise that tonight’s gonna be a good night! The upbeat Nina Simone classic I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to be Free was next, soloists Liz, Colin, Debs and Vicky, followed by ReFresh singing Ed Sheeran’s Perfect, with two spectacular solos from Tess and Zach. The youth choir sat down whilst we sang Austin’s swinging version of The Way You Look Tonight, followed by the fiendishly tricky Dashing Away with the Smoothing Iron. Dylan’s To Make You Feel My Love really captured the heart of the evening’s theme, then the foot tapping Sway gave us all chance to show off our moves! The beautiful Wind Beneath My Wings opened with some beautiful solos from Fran, Eleanor, Tom and Austin, and then we invited the youth choir back for our performance of Beauty and the Beast, as taught to us in sign language by Paul. It was incredibly moving, and Millie did an excellent job of opening it for us. Daydream Believer brought the tempo back up, with solos from Liz, Tim (who somehow managed to play the trumpet part straight afterwards too) Jean, Elaine, ? Jason and David, then Charlie and Harris kicked off the lightening fast You Can’t Stop the Beat for ReFresh. Finally, the Scissor Sisters I Don’t Feel Like Dancing, which it is impossible to sing standing still, rounded off the first half and we took a quick, much needed, break!
The second half opened with the Queen classic Somebody to Love which the choir had worked so hard on over the year. Celia’s spectacular Freddie Mercury solo half way through was great, and we were really proud of the song! The haunting Vienna was next, Paul leading the singing with Shaun’s piano playing a starring role too, with keyboard and other accompaniments making for a really authentic sound. The band continued to show off their skills with our second Queen number Under Pressure with some complicated clicking action for the choir too! Baz did John Deacon proud with all the complicated bass lines he had to learn!
ReMix were up next with the moving and thoughtful Sara Bareilles song, Angel- a chance to think of the sadder sides of love and life. The choir followed this with the uplifting Coldplay classic Fix You, and moved things forward with Labi Siffre’s Somehting Inside So Strong, with opening solos by Therese and Ken. Jason Mraz’s I Won’t Give Up was next, at a slightly more leisurely pace than the afternoon, and opened by Austin and Barry, followed by the girls performing a very moving rendition of My Love My Life- Polly’s solo start saw the beginning of a slide show of photographs of mothers and babies in the choir- and some nephews too! Jan and YuJin joined Polly to take the song to the chorus, with Cheryl starting the second half accompanied by Karen and Gabrielle.
ReFresh continued the moving theme with I See the Light from Tangled, with Abby and Naomi, Kate and Anna taking the solos. The middle of the song saw a beautiful dance from the girls whilst the instruments played.
Seasons of Love drew all the threads of the evening together, and Harriet’s solo was spot on in the middle. Then finally we reached our closing number- a real test of everyone’s stamina, especially Trev who’d been playing for a long time then, it was Elbow’s classic One Day- solos from Colin, Karen, Carol and Bill in the middle- then the fourteen repeats at the ending. Mind you, the sentiment couldn’t have been any truer- One day like this a year would see me right- it was that sort of day, a celebrate of everything we stand for as a community and as a choir!
Our first introduction to our brand new venue, the Gild Hall in Formby, was a gigantic Viking ship blocking the way into the car park. With trepidation we picked our way through only to find the Vikings had finished their outdoor festival and were more than happy to help us unload our gear through the fire door into the lovely surroundings of the main room. I’d like to report that the choir felt happy and prepared for our September Songs- Last Night of the Proms this year, but I’m not going to make things up. As usual the lack of continuity created by holiday season had left us feeling unsettled, and Henshaw’s was only the week after we returned in September. They as always were lovely and supportive so we rallied in time for the main event.
For the first time ever, ReSound had trialled online ticket sales with the fabulous TicketSource, so at the venue the front of house team (Liz and Vicky) were testing out the scanning software with great success!
The addition of ReFresh Choir and many soloists made the event more of a cabaret evening, so the choir found seats with their families before the opening flash mob style number of The Carpenter’s Sing kicked off the evening, the choir using the music to make their way to the stage. The challenging Rhythm of Life was next, the sopranos coping admirably with top A’s so early in proceedings.
ReFresh kicked off a small Musicals section with Joseph’s any Dream Will Do, and Tom continued the theme with Tell Me on a Sunday. Sarah, Sarah and Celia provided a small pop interlude with the haunting Run, and ReFresh were back to add their own energy with Fight Song. Paul rounded off the pop with REM’s Night Swimming, then Austin took us back to the shows, going Somewhere Over the Rainbow with the help of the newly formed ReMix. ReFresh introduced us to The Greatest Showman with From Now On, complete with opening movie, and then Ken kicked off a couple from Les Mis with I Dreamed a Dream, the choir following with the stirring One Day More.
After a short interval, Liz and Tim warmed us up with Be Sure It’s True, before we joined together in the Proms Classic Land of Hope and Glory, complete with lots of flag waving. The tradition ‘tour of the isles’ took a slight detour, firstly via Africa with ReFresh’s version of Waka Waka, then to Liverpool with the Houghton Screamer’s Leaving of Liverpool, and then blasted off into space with The Carpenter’s Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft, complete with glow stick colours in Tim’s electric guitar solo! Finally back on United Kingdom soil, ReMix performed their first ever number with the King Singers version of Danny Boy. Scotland was our next port of call with the cheerful strains of Loch Lomond, and then Wales with the hauntingly beautiful All Through the Night, first verse sung by the whole choir in Welsh, second verse with solos in Welsh by Eleanor and Elfyn. Finally to England and the rousing Jerusalem, before the traditional National Anthem and Auld Lang Syne rounded the evening off to great applause. We all had a brilliant night and enjoyed every second of it.
This year’s September concert was given the title DecAid, in honour of our tenth birthday and the final event in our year of fundraising for our ten chosen charities. As with so many times in the past we took our show to Henshaw’s for the stamp of approval, then finally the day arrived and a fleet of cars and volunteers collected the sound gear to deliver it to the Civic Hall. The day had an air of Sing for Victory about it as flowers, bunting, table decorations and costumes were ferried in to dressing rooms and corners of the hall.
The afternoon saw a first for the choir- an open tech rehearsal, allowing those that might not normally make an evening concert chance to see what their family and friends had been up to. Being a technical rehearsal meant the afternoon lacked a little of the pace and energy of the evening as Sarah prowled up and down and Toby dashed about sorting mics and levels, but those that came enjoyed the chance to watch without fear their small (very small in some cases!) children would disrupt proceedings.
The lull in between allowed for a lot of afternoon wrinkles to be ironed out and the tables to be festooned with beautiful and elegant decoration, and after a picnic tea the choir headed off to make themselves as glamourous as the time would allow.
By seven sharp the guests were all in their seats and the choir kicked off a set with the theme of ‘songs we liked so we thought we’d do them’. Stevie Wonder was first up with For Once in My Life, followed by the beautiful Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow by Carole King. The ‘learn it without the music’ challenge piece was next, Jubilate Jazz, then an old classic, Rainbow Umbrella, followed swiftly by the girls haunting rendition of Memory and As If We’d Never Said Goodbye. The boys managed to simultaneously raise the bar and lower the tone with the lively and energetic Istanbul, and Elfyn brought the house down with his White Tailed entrance before taking his seat at the piano to accompany Someone to Watch Over Me. Reflect’s beautiful version of Blackbird took the audience down a more thoughtful road, followed by a film showing the charities we’d be donating to for our birthday. You Raise Me Up continued the mood and the set was rounded off with Man in the Mirror, a challenge to consider our own place in society.
Pauline had made us a delicious hot pot and whilst the audience tucked in, the choir sold them lots of raffle tickets before going off to prepare for the second half. Adorned in Dresssing Gowns of all shapes and sizes, the Mikado set started with the boys singing I am So Proud. The girls followed that with Three Little Maids complete with synchronised fanning, and then the whole choir sang the plaintiff and mournful Tit Willow. Finally Reflect performed Brightly Dawns Our Wedding Day. Before they were allowed to lose the dressing gowns, the choir performed one more serious song. Well, serious music but with very silly words, the Ode to Sleep Deprived Parents set to O Fortuna by Carl Orff.
Once the choir were back in their black, they treated us to a beautiful version of You’ve Got a Friend, followed by Seasons of Love from Rent, and (almost) finally We Shall Overcome/ I’ll Be There. After almost no prompting (!) an encore was demanded, and the choir sang McFly’s It’s All About You to our audience, thanking them for their ten years of support.
The whole evening was amazing- talented sololists, superb musicians, fantastic food and room decoration, crisp uniforms, supportive Civic staff and of course, a huge dollop of great fun.
In an electric atmosphere of low expectations, an air of impending doom and a sense that Strictly might have been a better option, the choir met at the deliciously divey Baron’s in Burscough for our September Songs. Meeting over the summer had proved difficult for at least one of the sections, and it is fair to say the choir felt less than prepared for the event. Despite Sarah’s constant reassurance, the doubts proved hard to shake, and the evening crept towards the start time with fear and trepidation.
From the slightly flash mob nature of the opening song, the spirits lifted as we promised to party All Night Long. The sopranos shone brightly with their wish to Dance with Somebody, swiftly followed by the whole audience joining in with the funky dance moves of the Time Warp. By now, the atmosphere was alive with dancing, singing and general merriment, so the Houghton Screamers Locomotion was met with enthusiasm! Reflect performed the Bucks Fizz classic Making Your Mind Up, just managing to get to Shaun before the big reveal lead us in a completely different direction! The Altos took a mellower tone with Eternal Flame, complete with artificial flames and a levitating Lynne, and the boys followed it with the beautiful When I Was Your Man, sung in lovely harmonies. Harriet lifted the pace again with DISCO, assisted by her Dad who refused to accept her ban on Dad dancing, and the choir rounded off the first half with Shaun’s Disco Megamix, a lively romp through a handful of classics.
By now even the most hardened doubter was beginning to think things might be ok after all. The second half opened with a mellow Leo Sayer number, You Make Me Feel Like Dancing, and the Sopranos followed closely with the Nolan’s I’m in the Mood for Dancing, complete with dancing cleaning ladies! Reflect made sure that NOBODY got left in the corner when they had everyone dancing to I’ve Had the Time of my Life, and the Altos followed this by proving that they had indeed never been Respectable. A rousing rendition of YMCA saw the audience try to keep up with the Just Dance version Sarah had sneakily included on the video in an attempt to make sure they kept drinking, and the men followed this with a trouser squeezing version of Stayin’ Alive. The choir’s final number brought a touch of class, with Let’s Face the Music, complete with Fred and Ginger on the silver screen, and we all joined to sing the classing Dancing Queen as a way of rounding off a wonderful evening.
Sarah felt very proud as she managed not to say ‘I told you so’ TOO often, but was delighted that everyone had such a wonderful, lively, funny and celebratory night to round off the Summer Season.
This year’s Sunshine was retitled September Songs as a reflection of the theme of the evening- or lack of theme should I say! The massive growth of June Tunes (and it’s repositioning to June instead of May) mean that the time available to rehearse Sunshine had becoming increasingly limited, and holidays ate many of the available Wednesdays, so this year we thought we’d try something different. The choir en masse learned only four songs, and then the sections were tasked to work independently on an additional two each, meaning that each choir member had only six songs to learn over the summer. The other slots were taken by Reflect and various invited soloists and smaller groups.
Over the summer the choir worked hard on their songs with varying degrees of success. The boys had the advantage of Shaun, Mark and Paul playing guitar for them but had two incredibly difficult songs to learn. The Sopranos chose to meet at Drummersdale Lane Methodist church and were very creative with their songs, moves and props, and the Altos chose a pub in Ormskirk which meant they were very creative with their excuses for not doing any singing! In all seriousness, they all worked very hard and by the night of the gig had managed to not only rehearse their tracks but keep them a secret from the other sections.
Meeting at the Stanley on the Saturday night for the private, the choir were nervous but excited as they snuck music and props in to be hidden in different areas of the hall. The choir all took their seats with their friends and families, the first time they’d been able to do that in a concert. They came to the stage to sing the beautiful We Have All the Time in the World, setting a relaxing tone to the evening. Next came a terrified duo- Eleanor and Polly in their stage début performing the piano duet The Washington Post. A shaky start as the power to the piano failed was quickly forgotten as the ladies performed their hearts out, receiving rapturous applause.
The sopranos took to the stage next with a moving and evocative version of Another Suitcase in Another Hall, complete with several solos, many raincoats and a plethora of actual suitcases. Reflect followed them with the equally moving I’ll Be Seeing You sung a cappella, and the mood then took a lift with audience and choir joining together for King of the Road. Folk Group the Houghton Screamers came next, with the well harmonised but sorry tale of the ship called Blue Nose, and the altos followed with the Carpenter’s classic ‘We’ve Only Just Begun’ illustrated with photographs from each of their weddings projected on the wall behind them. The boys came up for a powerful four part version of Myfanwy, proving themselves to be excellent close harmony singers, and Sarah and Sarah lowered the tone with Carly Simon’s Your So Vain. The first half was brought to a close with the whole choir singing Ave Verum Corpus, sung in Latin, to great acclaim.
The interval allowed time for refreshment and cunning prop placement before the second half kicked off with the powerful and tricky Under Pressure, accompanied with images of the current refugee crisis. Reflect continued with the quiet tone, singing Sting’s beautiful Fields of Gold, with Shaun playing guitar. The second Sopranos song lifted the mood as they Blamed it on the Boogie, with fantastic funky dance moves, white gloved hands and glittery hats. Mark and Shaun entertained with the Beatles classic If I Fell and then the altos took to the stage with what was promised to be a serious rendition of Oye La Musica. As the song went on the head dresses grew larger, the dance moves grew wilder and the percussion instruments more energetically played until a wild time was had by all! The audience had a chance to sing the House of the Rising Sun and then the boys took once more to the stage for Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk, sung extremely funkily from their seats on the stage. Most of the hall joined in, giving it their best moves and their best voices.
And finally the choir returned once more to sing Something Inside So Strong. And so finished our summer season, a time of relationship building, meeting together and getting to know each other better. And a time of fun and laughter. Next we have our AGM at the Bull and Dog, and we take our songs to Ormskirk Parish Church for The Annual West Lancs Borough Council Civic Service….then on to Christmas!
Scarisbrick Village Hall was the location for our fifth Sunshine! concert. Originally our biggest of the year, Sunshine has evolved into a more intimate family- and- friends affair as our spring concerts have grown in size and reach. And it certainly felt intimate, with a hundred audience and fifty choir members packed in! The choir wore their new polo shirts, giving a nice informal look, and launched into a set featuring the best of the last five years of ReSound music.
Shaun’s brilliant arrangement of Let’s Face the Music kicked us off, followed by Fix You conducted by our own lovely Celia. Umbrella was the first of the megamixes, and then Cathy did a cracking job of conducting Bridge Over Troubled Water. Interspersed with the songs, the choir were treated to short videos including photographs and video clips of years gone by.
Reflect sang ‘The Nearness of You’, a song they had rehearsed years ago but never got round to performing, then the ladies did their cracking rendition of Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy, this time accompanied by cardboard trumpets! Dover Homefires continued the war songs theme, and the first half was rounded off with Respect, a full-on girls vs boys sing off!
The second half was opened by the men convincing us that There is Nothing Like a Dame, and Reflect continued the South Seas theme with Old Cape Cod. The very complex Dashing Away with the Smoothing Iron followed before a return to the exotic with the Rio Megamix. Sarah spoke of a local charity helped by the choir fundraising from Christmas, and dedicated To Make You Feel My Love to an audience that have supported us for so long. Finally the choir rattled at speed through Rhythm of Life, and the evening was rounded off with a giant sing song of Thank you For the Music, complete with Tony’s unexpected ‘golden hair’.
It was very relaxed and a lot of fun- and now we’re all ready for our AGM and to get going with the Christmas set!
This year’s Sunshine was the final gig in our Sing for Victory set. More information here! https://resoundchoir.wordpress.com/events/a-may-sing/
2012- the Review!
The 15th September saw our annual Sunshine gig take place at Scarisbrick Village Hall, the first of our fundraisers for our Charity of the Year, The Birchwood Centre in Skelmersdale. The hall was packed as the choir, dressed in a mixture of lurid neon and 80’s psychedelia, performed a mix of songs from the era of the Rubik’s cube.
The evening kicked off with the Buggle’s classic video Killed the Radio Star, followed quickly by the Young Voices rendition of Walking on Sunshine. Sarah Hepke’s first arrangement for the choir, The Tide is High, sung by the girls, went down a treat, and the boys followed it with This Ole House. The syrupy love classing How ‘Bout Us was next, and Reflect continued the theme with Billy Joel’s The Longest Time. Finally the young voices re-joined the choir for Paul McCartney’s We All Stand Together, complete with kazoo instrumental section!
At the interval, the audience had chance to buy raffle tickets with amazing prizes collected by members of the choir and organised by Fran, and to guess the choir member in the 80’s photo competition, with truly the scariest 80’s hair styles ever! We also heard from the lovely Birchwood Centre about the amazing work they do, encouraging us all to donate more to their cause.
The second half kicked off with a Culture Club audience sing- along of Karma Chameleon, followed by the very athletic Eye of the Tiger, performed by the young voices. Reflect took us to the Land of Make Believe, and the choir followed that with Perfect, including a fantastic solo turn by Elsie. The men sang Depeche Mode’s I Just Can’t Get Enough and the choir followed that with Mark Charnock’s first arrangement, the beautiful Everywhere by Fleetwood Mac. The evening was rounded off by another classic mega mix, with girls v boys vying with each other for a little Respect!
Once again it was a wonderful evening, supported by family, friends and the community. Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make it a success!
2011- the Review!
The 17th September was Sunshine! at St Anne’s Parish Centre in Ormskirk. Ticket sales were slower than last year but the hall was still packed for an evening of fun! A slow start at the bar meant the choir kicked off a little late, but the sounds of ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ soon raised the roof. ‘Shine’, a beautiful Elton John song sung by Shaun and backed by the choir came next, followed quickly by Take That’s ‘Let it Shine’. Reflect performed ‘The Shoop Song’, and the choir followed that with ‘Reach’, in honour of Christopher’s Band from West Lancs Positive Living! An old favourite, ‘I’ll Be There’ was given a new lease of life by some incredibly brave new soloists, many singing for the first time on stage! Finally, the choir’s unveiled a brand new mega mix – The Black Eyed Peas met Boston met Irene Cara in a wonderfully lively mix of ‘Feelings’!
During the interval, Alison Tupling from West Lancs Positive Living introduced our wonderful Charity of the Year, explaining the fantastic work they do and encouraging us all to buy lots more raffle tickets! The pizza arrived… it was delicious, but far too sporadic… and we did the draw for the mega raffle, featuring an incredible array of prizes. Endless thanks to Left Bank Restaurant, Salon Elite, Sunseekers (all Ormskirk) Curry Leaf Cottage (Burscough) and Rita Eld (aka Cheryl’s Mum!) who made some gorgeous knitted toys, for their contributions- without them, we wouldn’t have raised anywhere near as much money as we did!
The second half saw a unique departure for the choir- a set all by the same band, the wonderful ABBA. The choir dressed accordingly in an amazing array of seventies sequins, as they rattled through all the favourites- Waterloo, Chiquitita, I have a Dream, Dancing Queen, Does Your Mother Know and Gimme Gimme Gimme, featuring a wonderful selection of soloists and group backings! The whole evening was then rounded off with the beautiful (and appropriate!) ‘Thank You for the Music’, featuring extra special surprise guest soloist Paula Ball!
A week and a half later on 28th, as usual we proudly took our new set to our friends at Henshaws, where as usually we were received with joy and enthusiasm. As Paula Ball was not there, the conductor invited John, our biggest supporter, to join us for ‘Thank You for the Music’, where, in spite of no rehearsal and it being in a dreadful key for a guy to sing, he sang the opening beautifully, reducing three quarters of us to tears… we limped to the end, supporting each other all the way! What a fantastic, memorable evening.
We have a date! September 17th….
We have a possible venue! But I can’t tell you about that yet…
We have a facebook event page! You can go to it here!
We have (most of) a set!! It’s sounding funky…
But, most importantly, do we have you?!
With much joy we took this set to Thomas Henshaw Court, Southport, and once again recieved an incredible welcome.
The residents sang along, and John in particular joined in every single song… we were even playing ‘Name that Tune’ with him at one point, and most of the time he would have it nailed!
Whatever the next year brings for ReSound, one thing is for certain, our links with Henshaw’s are very strong, and we’ll be back with the Christmas set very soon!!
What an amazing night!
Ticket sales were initially slow and steady, and a week before the event we confirmed numbers with the caterer, only to have a mad dash during the last week when we sold out!!
The event was fantastic from start to finish- the choir were the best they’ve ever been, and many of them overcame their nerves to perform solo for the first time.
The whole evening was MC’d by the lovely Mr Jordan, whose auctioneer skills helped to boost the donations via the auction and raffle.
Here’s the set list:-
Happy Day/ Dancing in the Street (Ms. Celia Cook and choir)
I Don’t know How to Love Him (Ms. Sarah Monteith)
Another Suitcase in Another Hall (Ms. Jan Thomas and the girls)
Take that Look Off Your Face (Ms. Suzanne Linford and the girls)
The Land of Make Believe
Mr Blue Sky’s Got his Hat On!
Somewhere over the Umbrella there’s a Day being Made just for You!
Summertime (Ms. Elsie Galt and choir)
Summertime Blues (Mr. John Forshaw and the boys)
Three Steps to Heaven
C’Mon Everybody (Mr. Mark Charnock and the boys)
Dancing in the Moonlight
Summer Nights (Ft. Ms Cheryl Jordan and Mr Ricky Ball)