This time last week I was in rehearsal at The Trouville Hotel in Bournemouth, in preparation for the Ladies Association of British Barbershop Singers (LABBS) annual convention, in which my chorus The White Rosettes were competing. I have been found singing everywhere since January, when I attended their Learn To Sing Course and got completely swept away by the thrill of group singing (Blogpost: Singing Therapy). From the Sahara desert and supermarket aisles to the school run, my White Rosette teach tracks are permanently attached to my left ear via my iPod.
I was warmly welcomed into the fold officially in July before a ‘Sing-Out’ (i.e. performing in public!) in Clitheroe, along with 5 other ‘trainees’. What a fabulous experience – singing for a very appreciative (paying!) crowd.
We rehearse every Wednesday evening with some additional rehearsals added in for Convention – a weekend retreat, Sunday rehearsals, section rehearsals, choreo rehearsals and we extended our Wednesday evening in the run-up, all to ensure we are competition-ready! Initially after being accepted into the chorus, at times it was a little overwhelming and daunting, playing catch-up by learning the current repertoire at the speed of light, scary appraisals within quartets, performing as octets and of course, the ever-present self-doubt, waiting to be kicked out for being rubbish at any given moment! However, my also ever-present perseverance served me well, and somewhere around Clitheroe, things seemed to fall into place and get easier.
The White Rosettes have a long history of success, winning their first National Championship in 1983, and another thirteen times since then (you have to retire each year following a win). So no pressure then, going into the 2015 Championships and hoping for a 15th win!!! Last Saturday 31 choruses competed at the Bournemouth International Centre. It was a well oiled machine of dressing room areas, photo areas, and warm up areas and a huge buzz of excitement in the auditorium.
It was waiting to go on stage that my adrenaline kicked in, listening to the 2000 strong audience whoop and holler. I didn’t think my legs would hold me up as I climber up the risers into position, and then my lip had a strange crazy wobble as I tried so hard to smile as the curtains opened. But how amazing….. here is our performance:
The result? – GOLD!!!! We performed again as Champions on the Saturday evening and then many hours of ‘afterglow’ singing in the bar ensued. I walked back to the hotel at around 1am, high on our achievement and thoroughly stunned by my 40th year. Yet again, I have proved to myself there IS life after postnatal depression. There is even life to be found through depression. I can’t believe I waited until 40 before joining the most wonderful group of ladies. Okay not everyone can win a gold medal (ahem!) but I thoroughly recommend singing.
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Actually one of my favourite moments of the weekend was singing on the beach on Sunday afternoon with some ladies from two other choruses – Welwyn Harmony and Second City.
What a weekend!