This is the final part of the Concert Preparations series of posts. You can find the previous ones here at Concert preparations. Part one – 4 hours, Concert preparations part two – 2 hours and Concert preparations part three. Duets and trios- 3 hours
This post is about the week leading up to the recital and the concert day. Although this is specifically about this concert, my routine is generally the same for all recitals.
During this time, I arrange to see my accompanist to sing through my solos, and then for this particular concert, the other singers and myself met in the church itself with our accompaniment tracks so we could sing in the space and see what the acoustic is like. As we are amateur singers, we have to fund the concert ourselves and so we do our best to keep our accompanist fees to a minimum. When I am performing with other people I use this time to ‘choreograph’ moving from one item to another. It helps to just walk through where people will be sitting if not performing and where they need to be to perform next. I believe this attention to detail really helps with the overall look of the performance.
The day before the concert I do my best to ensure that I drink plenty of water so that the day of the concert I am well hydrated. On the day itself, I do some gentle vocal exercises and then make a list of things I need to take with me. I may look at words for songs I am singing and check memorising the words, but I generally do not sing through my programme. I eat lightly during the day and continue to drink water. I get ready in plenty of time and then head out for the venue, usually 2- 3 hours before the concert start time.
On arrival, there is usually someone there from the venue to let us in. They check that we have all we need and then leave us to our own devices until about an hour before the concert is due to start.
Once our accompanist arrives a quick ‘top and tail’ of songs is done. The main goal here is to check that the balance of voice and keyboard is right and it is really useful to have someone who can go to different areas of the venue to check this and give feedback.
Then comes the worst bit for all performers – the wait until the concert starts. We chat, have something light to eat, but really all we really want to do is just get on with it!
Don’t you get nervous? This is a question I am often asked and the answer, of course, is absolutely! As you have more experience of performing, you learn that nerves are made up of excitement and anxiety. Excitement is good and anxiety less so. I find that if I have prepared thoroughly then the feeling has more excitement about it than anxiety, I am just ready to go out and sing my songs.
There is a lot of peering round doors to see how full the venue is getting and then the start time comes, I/we are introduced and then……we’re on.
When I come to sing my first song I am always relieved when I open my mouth and the first note comes out! Then I’m off and before I know it the song is over and I settle into the rest of the programme.
In amateur concerts the interval is an opportunity to mingle with the audience, catch up with friends who have come to listen and get a feel for how things are going. The second half of the programme always has a more relaxed feel about it – partly because the ‘lighter’ items are usually in this half.
All of a sudden I find myself singing the last item, taking my bow and dashing to get changed in order to help with the packing up or reordering of the church/venue.
I usually arrange to have a drink with friends afterwards as the adrenaline aftermath is hard to shake and you need time to come down in order to get to sleep.
The concert at Cadnam Methodist church in aid of the Boaz project raised £260. The church added to this and £500 was sent off to the charity.