It's Thursday... ...it's 7.30... ...and it's... ... SUMMER...!!! ??? Summer...??? What? WHAT??? OH, NOOOOOO!!!
For weeks, Thursdays have been the exclusive province of Choir Rehearsals. But, with our Summer Concert Season now finished, well, what do our Members do on a 'free' Thursday...?
Best give the public service warning now... look out of your window and if you see any chaps wearing a black shirt and a green tie, wandering aimlessly and they seem, well, lost or somehow a little vague, they are suffering from the 'CREEPS' - that is, 'Choir-Related Empty Evening Post-Season' Syndrome. Any Choir Member struck down with the syndrome literally won't know what to do with themselves on a Thursday evening when there is no scheduled choir rehearsal. Treat the victim with care since they are in a very fragile state with no available cure until rehearsals resume for paid-up Members on Thursday 27th August.
But that's not the worst of it... ...for weeks, peace and quiet has been the order of the day indoors on a Thursday evening when the menfolk go out for choir practice. But not for the next four weeks...! So be afraid... ...be VERY afraid...
Another great night - in fact, several great nights - will be had at the first ever Opera Festival in Norfolk between August 8th and 11th at a beautiful venue just to the east of Norwich! And about time too, you cry!!! In fact, male voice choirs and opera companies have more in common than one would expect... ...neither, as our own songsters will happily confirm, is 'just singing', and neither, if done properly, creates any barrier to being able to enjoy the stories that are being told. Even better though is that the organiser, 'Into Opera', is a local idea and the brainchild of a lady from this very County, much like our own Choir! I don't mind the brazen self-interested 'plug' to help get the whole idea off the ground as they have said some very nice things about our website and social media presence! Thank you!!! It's also very true that the centrepiece opera this time features one of yours truly's favourite arias and if the sneak peek (and listen!) is anything to go by, it should be the first of many annual festivals of Opera in Nelson's County for years to come. So, bring it on, Genevieve, welcome home and break a theatrical and operatic leg for Norfolk!
2019 PROGRAMME CHANGE
We do need to tell you of a change in our 2019 programme which is not in our 2019 Concert Season Brochure. No sooner was our Brochure released, than we heard that our Saturday 27 July invitation to Thompson near Watton will not now take place. This is a great shame, because we were looking forward to it very much, but rest assured everyone, that circumstances beyond our control won't get in the way of a good concert...!
Instead, we will be appearing 'at home' on Saturday 27th July 2019, as we have added in a Mile Cross Summer Concert date! So don't forget to change the Brochure if you have one: replace our 27 July invitation to Thompson with our own concert at Mile Cross Methodist Church, Norwich, and we hope to see you there. We don't 'name' guest invitations, because we try to fit into the theme of our hosts, so it's provisionally called "A Night with The Phoenix" for no better current reason than that is exactly what it will be!
Of course, even if you haven't got our 2019 Concert Season brochure (how did that happen???), you are very welcome to join us in Norwich that evening!
Reliving the Eggheads has been the appropriate thing to do this week.
On a particularly fine day yesterday, more than a dozen of our Members were able to say 'cheerio' on behalf of all of us at Phoenix to our singing pal and Tenor 2 Chris Hurst at a lovely church just north-west of Norwich. The service was very personally about Chris taking place in the church he was so familiar with and with the family he loved, the music he approved of and with all the gentleness that marked his character.
Among our number were the remaining members of 'Yes Sarah', our Eggheads Challengers Team: Philip, Jerry, Keith, Eddie and reserve Colin who, along with Chris had travelled to Glasgow to record the show. It was good for your scribe as a non-team member to listen to the memories and the stories of that 'telequizual' weekend... ...so much so that it felt quite fitting once home to watch the recording of the show again to see the lads in action, relive the Eggheads and inspire this piece.
Indeed, a fact not originally in our tribute to Chris is that in his head-to-head, he defeated no less an Egghead than Barry Simmons and did so in a round on History, one of Barry's passions. In fact, at the time of recording, Barry had only been defeated on that topic 4 times in 41 challenges, so no mean feat by Chris which, as said on a previous occasion, confirmed his place in Phoenix folklore.
So reliving the Eggheads yesterday was a natural thing to do on one of those days that you know, somehow, was appropriate to the friend we had lost.
Well, that's it... ...our Annual General Meeting is done and dusted, 2018 has been reflected upon, and now we look forward to our bumper 2019 programme and finalising our plans for our 10th Anniversary Year in 2020 (yes, folks, next year, we will be 10 years old!). The great news is we are expanding and growing, but it is important to remember that we are still very young in male voice choir terms, so we need to be careful not to get too carried away. Prudence is the key...!
That said, we are also very ambitious about our future and our mission to entertain and support the traditions of male voice choral song in Norwich and beyond (...as it says on our tin... ...well, actually, on the home page of our website!).
2019 CONCERT SEASON BROCHURES
We recently issued our very first Concert Season Brochure listing our concerts for 2019 for your diaries, with some background information about us. Intended to be a permanent annual feature to pin on your wall board or put under your fridge magnet at home, please look out for it and pick one up so you can see our forthcoming plans! A big thank you to Arts RoundUp at Norwich's historic Guild Hall for leading its distribution for us. We also 'wander the streets', as it were, looking for cafes, shops, bars, restaurants and other venues to put out a small stock of our Brochures all year and to display our A4 and A5 posters nearer 'concert time'! If you can help, and you already display local groups' brochures or posters, or would be happy to display ours for picking up by your customers, please let us know! You don't need to worry about keeping stocks up-to-date as we will drop by on occasion to keep you 'topped-up' with a modest supply! If you already display our brochures and posters, thank you for your continuing support for us and for male voice choral music!
2019 PROGRAMME CHANGE
We do need to tell you of a change in our 2019 programme though (issuing a 'year long' brochure is certainly a learning experience!). No sooner was our Concert Season Brochure released, than we heard that our Saturday 27 July invitation to Thompson will not now take place. This is a great shame, because we were looking forward to it very much, but rest assured everyone that circumstances beyond our control won't get in the way of a good concert...!
Instead, we will be appearing 'at home' on Saturday 27th July 2019, as we have added in a Mile Cross summer concert! So don't forget to change the Brochure: replace our 27 July invitation to Thompson with our own concert at Mile Cross Methodist Church, Norwich. We don't 'name' guest invitations, because we try to fit into the theme of our hosts, so it's provisionally called "A Night with The Phoenix" for no better current reason than that is what it will be!
There are a couple of people following the start of our new year who deserve huge thanks... Firstly, and sadly, Ron Colman has advised us that he will not be able to continue in membership. A Bass 1 with us since 2014, more recently Ron has continued his support for us as a non-Singing Member and for this valued gesture, he also has our most grateful thanks. He has said though that he will continue his support for us in our audience, so we look forward to seeing him again at one of our concerts soon! There is also a huge thank you to Philip Mariner who is responsible for setting up the Choir's publicity machine in such a focussed way. Your hard work then has certainly has made life easier for the current writer! Thank you, Philip!
Finally for this update, we can report on a very successful Open Rehearsal month! Not only do we have three visitors to our January rehearsals who have agreed to join us as Members, but the even better news is that we therefore have a new Tenor 1 and two new Bass 2's! You can certainly hear the difference at rehearsals, so we hope you can at our concerts this year. So welcome to Eddie, Geoff and Peter, and enjoy your time with us!
Three years' news in the same blog message, three things to tell you, and three new Members...??? Hello, hello, hello...?
Another week of reflection...
...our own footy fan Members (and there are a few who grace Carrow Road on match days brandishing their season tickets) will not fail to remember the 'Safest Hands in England' as tributes are paid to England's 1966 World Cup-winning Hero Gordon Banks. Still unique in the history of the tournament that prized the Jules Rimet Trophy (and now the FIFA World Cup Trophy), England's Winners have their place at the pinnacle of achievement and, nowadays, of aspiration - although now very encouraged by Gareth Southgate's Team's performance last Summer. It still remains remarkable that in the 1966 tournament, it took a penalty kick late in the Semi-Final from no less than the Portuguese 'Great' Eusebio to get anything 'between the sticks' past one of those who can truly be called the 'world's greatest goally'. Three things come to mind...
...in remembering 'that' save in 1970, Gordon will forever be linked with the name 'Pele'. Adversaries on the field, as a result of that wonder-save, the Brazilian maestro and the Safest Hands in England became friends off it. In footballing terms, that was a legacy in life, but there will be no difficulty for others to highlight how else this England's No.1 made the mark that others would do well to aspire to;
...in coming days, many will wonder why we are not mourning 'Sir' Gordon Banks and in a corner of someone's quite forgettable desk is 'just another' forgettable buff folder with 'just another' name on it, which may be familiar to the user of the desk, or not. Apparently, it is still there.... ...an administrative glitch... ...if you are the user of that desk, you have helped to give 'administration' the worst of names and the 'system' has treated - albeit unintentionally - an English national sporting hero with disdain;
...in a forthcoming week, as many of us who can, will attend our singing colleague Chris's funeral and we expect to hear from his family and others about his gentleness and cheerfulness, the characteristics we remember him by. With Gordon Banks, it is clear that he isn't to be just known as one of the great goalkeepers, but tribute after tribute talks of him as a great gentleman and a kind person. Nationally and locally, we may be poorer for the passing of these gentlemen, but we are richer for the memories and examples they have given us. May they both rest in peace.
(t)Witterings from the Choir's Webmaster, The Phoenix, but it's normally about what we are going to be or have been up to, something nice about someone we have sung with, or a gracious reply to one of your own wonderful comments.