Pewsey Heritage Centre is one of our favourite places to sing. Not just because of the lovely acoustic, but also because of the warm welcome we always receive here. This May, we returned for our third concert in this lovely venue and we were delighted to be performing to a packed house. Of course
It’s always a pleasure to sing. Even better in such a beautiful location with an appreciative audience! How lucky we are to be able to have arranged this Afternoon of Jazz at Marlborough Town Hall last Sunday.
Last Sunday, The BlueBelles performed as part of a ‘Musical Matinee’ at the Pewsey Heritage Centre. On this occasion there were 6 of us, and the split was such we only had 1 singer on each of the inner parts (technically the Lead and the Baritone if you adopt strict barbershop terminology!).
Last week the BlueBelles were invited to sing at a Wedding in Stanton Fitzwarren at the Stanton Manor Hotel. Because the wedding was near Christmas (13 December) we had been asked to sing a number of Christmas Carols and other festive songs whilst the guests had coffee after the Wedding Breakfast.
When you sing in a choir, Christamas effectively starts on 1 December, certainly in terms of public performance. I’m sure, like me, you cannot abide these shops which insist on playing Christmas songs in their stores from October onwards. However, for choirs, it’s usually about October when the choirmaster starts introducing Christmas songs to learn.
- Learn basic barbershop chord structures to be aware of proper balance.
- Diligently study successful leads’ strengths and adapt them to your own voice and personal style.
- Plan ahead for maximum mental focus in each rehearsal and performance.
- Be fully prepared in every aspect of your music.
- Be consistent — sing each song the same way every time.
- Practice singing the melody against a continual fixed tonal center — an electronic pitch pipe works great.
- Always rehearse as though in front of an audience.
- Develop a physical exercise plan that works for you.
- Drink a lot of water every day to keep your body and vocal cords hydrated.
- Find a great bass, baritone and tenor whom you trust musically, and who in return, have faith in you to lead them onward and upward.
- Keep your throat lubricated as much as possible. Drink lots of water, and get in the habit of always having a water bottle nearby.
- Breathe steam!- use a humidifier or vaporizer, especially during the winter months, and especially at night.
This can work miracles for both treatment and prevention of problems.
- If you do feel like you’re losing your voice, try wrapping a hot towel, or heating pad around your neck, while sipping ice water. Do this for 15-30 minutes several times a day if you can. Even once will help enormously. The idea is that the heat relaxes the muscles, while the cold reduces the inflammation on your vocal folds.
- Drink hot lemon juice or tea with honey. (Throat Coat tea is available at most drug stores, and
is a nice treat!)
- Avoid clearing your throat, and whispering .Both are very hard on vocal folds.
- Gargle with warm salt water.
- If you suffer from allergies, stay on top of them. Once they grab hold, you are wide open for
catching a cold, and losing your voice.
Barbershop is always sung by single voice groups – either all male or all female – and the singing is in four parts, named after the male voices who traditionally sing them. These names are used even in women’s choruses. The parts are: