Friday, 22 March 2013

Carousel to Matilda and 75 years of Musicals

There was a majestic over 26 years Songs from the Shows last night. Somehow I had forgotten how high the standard of this genre of singing was in Swindon. They seem to have some excellent teachers of this style, and even more important, teachers who recognise those singers who cannot belt and have excellent head register voices. This is mighty unusual, and it means that in a class of 19 singers, not one is using their voice badly! WOW !

I heard a wide breadth of excerpts from musicals new and old, a wonderful Billy's Soliloquy from Carousel, and an equally wonderful scene from the newest of musicals, Matilda. The sheer quality of the vocal technique was astonishing, as well as the lovely scene setting. Some just gave us a simple and direct performance , no frills, no movement, just pure singing, and some used the entire stage in the Arts Centre where the festival is held. Almost without exception I found myself looking for degrees of good, rather than finding faults to record on the crit sheet. They were a lively lot as well, with all their sisters, cousins and aunts as a fan base, but what pleased me the most was the huge amount of support they all gave each other, whether or not they were from the same singing teacher ! There was a tangible camaraderie in the theatre!

The rather more elderly gentleman who was announcing and dealing with crowd control had his work cut out with the bouncing and bubbly audience, and it was a full house. He tried in vain to quieten the enthusiastic cheering in readiness for the next candidate, but we all threw in the organisational towel by number 4 of 19, and let them have their head ! Loud, it was !

It is lunchtime now and I sit in a restaurant in Old Town Swindon. At this festival we are left to find our own food in the town, for lunch and dinner, so I am experimenting with a few bistros and cafes, whilst visiting the nearby Coop for a snack for dinner. I am a little tired to eat out twice, so back to the hotel with my tuna pasta salad and fresh fruit salad, and a lie down in a darkened room.

I will need it tonight, it is the Junior Championship, already a long affair then the 17-26 Songs from the Shows, which starts at 8.20pm, and there are around 15 competitors.

Late bed again then...........

A Great Show!

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