Saturday 7th December 2013
If you’re a choir invited to sing in the truly magnificent Rates Hall in Manchester Town Hall Extension – you jump at the chance! It’s just been restored to its 1938 glory, and, as Manchester Confidential’s Jonathan Schofield drooled:
The curve of the space as it enfolds Central Library, the use of polychromatic marbles, the lofty doors, the exceptional light fittings, the splendid coats of arms, light casting shadows from tall windows, the repeated pattern of arches on each side impresses the viewer with its power but also its feeling of ‘rightness’.
So, we had the ambience, would we live up to the grandeur? Well, modesty almost forbids, but I’d say we did. Liz conjured two cracking sets of seasonal songs and a surprise extra – of which more below. Our festive songs included the mellow, gospel-inspired My Little Cup (“wo o my!”), the ancient Spanish Riu Riu Chiu (“message of delight, of delight!”), Ring It In (“joy, joy, joy!”) and May Your Cup (“health, love and peace of mind”).
We really have got some great “non-carols” in our repertoire, and now we’re going to put some of them on our website, so that next Christmas – when once again we have to politely decline numerous invitations to sing carols – we can demonstrate our exciting, secular alternatives.
And that extra song last Saturday? Like everybody else, Nelson Mandela’s death on the Thursday had moved us and made us want to celebrate his life and achievements. What better way than to sing – in Manchester, England – the song that had been echoing around the streets of Pretoria, South Africa since news of his death was announced? Hayo O Tshwanang Le Yena (There is no one else like him!). Singing and clapping the song was exhilarating enough, but when Liz got the audience involved, it was fantastic!
To cap it all, thanks Jack, for selling 11 CDs! If the Reds hadn’t lost to Newcastle, it would truly have been a perfect day. (Note to Liz – good song that one).