London City Singers goes on a retreat weekend each year, usually around spring, to prepare and focus on our contest package for convention. For our 2016 retreat, baritone section leader Katherine sums up the weekend.
We’ve recently returned from our annual retreat, a residential weekend packed with singing and fun aimed to focus our energies on our upcoming convention performance.
Last year I was a newbie at retreat, having passed my audition at the start of the same week. The retreat was a wonderful way to get to know the chorus, as well as learning barbershop basics like coning while I tried to wrap my head around the mysteries of something called ‘convention’. I remember us videoing a pyjama-party cut of our uptune and trying to sing every song the chorus had ever learnt as we walked back to our accommodation block in the middle of the night.
A year later, we were back at the same venue, and I suddenly felt like an old hand as I helped out with warm-ups. Once again I grappled with ‘convention’, this time trying to sum up the experience for another generation of new members.
Once warmed up, we were joined by our coach, Nicky Salt (now coming all the way from France) and our new director, Simon Arnott. In the collective psyche of the chorus, this meeting of coach and director felt like the first time you invite two different groups of friends to the same party. We love them both but what would they make of each other? We needn’t have wasted a minute on this idle speculation. They were immediately united by their ambition for us as a chorus, their appreciation for our chorus personality, and their flair for creating an entertaining performance.
Two days well spent and well rewarded—including another memorable Saturday evening, this time testing our knowledge of pop, rap and rock lyrics, eating kilos of sugar, and watching Pitch Perfect 2.
Helen and Hayley excited to watch Pitch Perfect 2
Quiz night winners, PJ Ninjas
It was impossible to capture everything we learned in a single page, but we brought some real changes back home. We changed our weekly warm-ups so that we’re unifying our sound right at the start of every rehearsal. Working on our ballad has unlocked the emotion of the song for us, connecting us with the magic of the lyrics. As for our uptune, well… we can’t wait to share it with our region at convention in a few weeks. We hope our friends in Region 31 enjoy the performance as much as we do.