Last week the BlueBelles took part in their first ever competition, the Mid Somerset Festival held in Bath at the Guildhall. This has been on our ‘to do list’ for quite some time. However, as the competition date drew nearer it’s fairly safe to say there were some nerves starting to show amongst the choir. A lot of this stemmed from a sense of the unknown. What exactly was going to happen? Would the adjudicator be nice or could we end up being told in fact the whole choir was rubbish and we should never bother entering another competition ever again!
As it turned out, the adjudicator was a lovely man called Jeffrey Wynn Davies who gave us some very positive and encouraging feedback. In fact our performance was Commended – which is defined as ‘A convincing performance technically and artistically‘. He opened his comments on the mark sheet with ‘A sweet voiced octet’ and later said the group performed with ‘…style and panache throughout…’.
You can read his full comments by clicking on the link below which will open a PDF document.
I personally thought the comments were justified and I was thrilled for the choir to get such a good result in their first ever competition. That said, we didn’t win any awards and there is still a lot of work to be done. I’m not going to say we didn’t set out to win, because of course we wanted to do our best and I think there’s always a chance of winning. And yes, it would have been nice to get a prize. But, ultimately that was only ever part of our objective. As MD, I wanted to give the BlueBelles a chance to see what choral competing is all about. They are still a fairly new group having only been together for just over a year and this was definitely a new experience for all of them.
This was also the first time I have taken an adult choir to a competition, and to some extent there was a degree of concern on my part. Was I doing the right thing for the choir? Did they actually want to compete or were they quite happy just singing at local concerts entertaining their friends and family? Ultimately I sold the idea to them wth the promise of gin afterwards. Mention gin or a chance to go out for dinner and I usually get the BlueBelles full attention! And yes, we did all go to a Gin bar in Bath after the performance!
Jules Addison is Musical Director of the BlueBelles. You can find out more about his work with the BlueBelles and other choirs on his website at www.julesaddison.co.uk
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