Early morning on Saturday 5 November saw Magenta boarding a luxurious coach outside our rehearsal venue in Moseley, to be driven in style through the beautiful autumn countryside to Llandudno, where we had a long-standing engagement to perform at the North Wales Choral Festival.
First priority? Chips, and a walk by the sea. Crashing waves and a northerly gale meant that there were no cobwebs anywhere on our persons by the time we were due to warm up – and then back along the promenade to Venue Cymru where the festival was taking place. A huge venue, with rather a sports stadium feel; packed with people, the choirs recognisable by their matching (and often glamorous) dresses. Another chance to warm up and tune in to each other, and then we were shown into the ‘arena’: large, seating perhaps 1000 people, with the stage impressively lit and decorated in something of the style of a floodlit Greek temple.
We didn’t win the cup. But we got to hear the ten other choirs in our class, including Entourage, the deserving winners. And we came home with things that were perhaps even more valuable than a trophy. There was the glow of ‘we did it’ – we performed our set on that great stage, with the lights in our eyes and hundreds of people listening. There was discovering just how true it is that we are unique: we were the only a capella choir and the only one that wasn’t directed from out front; and our repertoire stood out a mile for its freshness and originality, and for the complexity and intricacy of the arrangements.
Our two new members, Bose and Jo, plunged right in at the deep end with this as their first performance with us, performed their hearts out; and we had the sense of really bonding with them and welcoming them into us as a choir.
We look forward to coming more fully into what we truly see is our uniqueness, and to sharing that – to make people happy!