Meet… Ursula

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Name: Ursula

Section: 2nd alto

Any official choir function? I’m an ordinary member of the committee and the choir blogger.

Joined in: 2005, first time around; between 2006 and 2012 I was working in an assortment of specialties with crazy shift patterns, so I had to take a break to accommodate that. When I started training in microbiology in Glasgow in 2012, my working patterns finally allowed me to attend rehearsals regularly again.

Daylight job: I’m a doctor working in Microbiology – not one of the better known medical specialties! I grow bugs from clinical samples and give advice on antibiotic treatment of complicated infections to other clinicians.

Why did you join a choir? J.S. Bach’s choir pieces are something I have very much grown up with – in Germany Christmas without the Christmas Oratorio is unthinkable and I have some painful memories of sitting through St Matthew passions (yes, that’s a plural!) on a variety of very uncomfortable church pews… After doing a choir workshop in my late teens, I joined my local church choir in Germany for a few years during university. When I moved to Scotland in 2004, one of the things I did was look for a choir – and Glasgow Cathedral Society was singing just the kind of music I was interested in. Also – I actually don’t much like singing on my own. You won’t find me queuing for a solo!

What do you enjoy most about singing with us? There’s several things – I like that the choir as group is quite diverse across age groups and walks of life; I like that we’re not complacently recycling repertoire we’re all comfortable with, but keep moving and challenging ourselves… and yes, I do like the “spot the obscure pop cultural reference” thing that James has going on during rehearsals!

What is the most exciting piece you’ve ever sung? The Monteverdi Vespers – there’s just no other contenders for that category. It is fabulous stuff!!!!!

What’s the hardest piece you’ve ever sung? Doing Bach’s St John Passion in English was… different.

Which piece is your guilty pleasure? My husband is going to hate me for this, but I love “Jesus bleibet meine Freude” (“Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring”).

Do you also play an instrument and if so, which? I have learned to play the recorder and the flute, but I haven’t played for years as neither has a headphone jack – I would feel very awkward inflicting my rusty playing on the world at large.

What other music do you enjoy? I’m a big Nick Cave fan, but I also like a bit of Glenn Miller/big band/swing type music, heavy metal, folk… In terms of classical music anything post 1750-ish is a bit late for me. I’m a bit of an 18th century opera fan girl.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not singing? Reading – my kindle goes everywhere I go; knitting; sewing; cooking; arguments.

Tea break! What’s your favourite biscuit? If I could get my hands on them, just a nice plain Bahlsen Butterkeks – failing that I’ll have a Malted Milk.

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What’s your choir super-power? German pronunciation, natürlich.

Tell us something we don’t know about you. I like Enya. So there.

What would you say to anyone thinking of joining our choir? Surely they can’t have anything better to do on a Thursday night?!

In other words, you have no excuse not to come and see us for the rehearsal tomorrow night at 19.30 in Woodlands Methodist Church. Be there or be a rectangular thyng.

Ursula

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Meet… Gillian

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Name: Gillian

Section: Soprano

Any official choir function? I do my turn on the tea rota. ️

Joined in: January 2014

Daylight job: Art Teacher

Why did you join a choir? I love choral singing

What do you enjoy most about singing with us? When all those perfect harmonies come together and create choral magic, can’t beat it! Also James’ very knowledgeable direction and brilliant analogies as well as some cheese jokes I hadn’t already heard!

What is the most exciting piece you’ve ever sung? Loved the Poulenc Gloria, great dynamics and lovely crunchy harmonies!

What’s the hardest piece you’ve ever sung? Bach “Lobet den Herrn alle Heiden”…too many notes!!

Which piece is your guilty pleasure? Haven’t discovered it yet

Do you also play an instrument and if so, which? The guitar, strummy, singalongy style

What other music do you enjoy? Everything from Chopin to Nine Inch Nails, excluding hip hop, Russell Watson and Cliff Richards.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not singing? Cooking and painting (landscapes, not walls)

Tea break! What’s your favourite biscuit? Dark choccy digestive every time!

What’s your choir super-power? Occasionally being invisible

Tell us something we don’t know about you. When I was an art student the Clash stayed in my flat in Hyndland Rd while on busking tour in Glasgow

What would you say to anyone thinking of joining our choir? Most enjoyable 2 hours of my week, great fun, great challenge and greatly rewarding.

More practice aids

I just received this via email from Brian, and thought I’d turn in into a follow-up blog post to my last one. So, here’s Brian on where to find note bashing tracks for our current material:

“For those of you who, like me, are mere mortals that don’t sight sing and generally need help learning the voice part, here is a list of where I found helpful audio files. There may well be other sites available of course, but here are the links I use. You can download what you want…

Ding Dong Merrily on High, Willcocks
A Spotless Rose, Howell
I Saw Three Ships, Willcocks
We Wish You A Merry Christmas, Warrell
Music, When Soft Voices Die, Parry
Glory to the Christ Child, Bullard

Right click on the file you want and click “save link as” and save it to your computer or to your phone if connected, and hey presto, sorted. If you don’t want to or cannot download, you can always just listen on line, of course.

Hodie Christus Natus Est, Carter: I drew a blank on voice part files, but there are You Tube videos.

On Christmas Night, Chilcott
To download, use a similar method to the one outlined above for the John Fletcher site.

Lobet den Herrn, alle Heiden, JS Bach: Available on John Fletcher site, but if you don’t know how to use midi software to slow down the speed, you might find you tube vids helpful – there are slowed down versions on you tube.

Hope this helps.

Brian”

Meet…Bob

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Name: Bob

Section: Tenor

Any official choir function? No.

Joined in: 1997

Daylight job: Retired (I’m not telling you about my night-time one….)

Why did you join a choir? I love singing in choirs, especially unaccompanied stuff

What do you enjoy most about singing with us? The music and the friendliness of other members. About the friendliest I’ve been in – and I’ve been in quite a few.

What is the most exciting piece you’ve ever sung? Rachmaninov Vespers

What’s the hardest piece you’ve ever sung? Monteverdi Vespers

Which piece is your guilty pleasure? Josquin – Nymphes des Bois, though I have never sung it

Do you also play an instrument and if so, which? None

What other music do you enjoy? Solo piano – mostly classical, Scott Joplin and flamenco guitar

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not singing? I’m Mr Fixit in our house. I fix mobile phones and flog them on eBay

Tea break! What’s your favourite biscuit? Plain Hobnobs

What’s your choir super-power? Eh?

Tell us something we don’t know about you.  I’m a licensed amateur radio operator, callsign MM0RKT. I’m also a member of a Belgian Confrèrie.

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What would you say to anyone thinking of joining our choir? Come along for a try – you’ll like it! If you’re a tenor, brilliant!

Feel like taking Bob up on his invitation? We rehearse every Thursday at 19.30 in Woodlands Methodist Church – do come and join us!

Ursula

Blessed Are the Tea-makers

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Now, to the casual observer it may seem that we do rather more tea-drinking than we do singing…. but let me tell you,  Bach really liked to use a lot of notes, often quite close together too, and Lobet den Herrn is no exception!  We needed that cuppa!

Anyway, just to prove that we do actually sing during our rehearsals, here are some pictures of us…

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…laughing!  ….er, and…

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…absorbing some very important information….

…er, well, if you want the singing part, you’ll just have to come along and hear for yourself!

Meet… a Brian (we have more than one)

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Name: Brian

Section: Bass

Any official choir function? Erstwhile tea-maker

Joined in: 2011 ish

Daylight job: Small business owner (gardener)

Why did you join a choir? To sing and meet new folk.

What do you enjoy most about singing with us? The singing and meeting of new folk! 🙂 Best of all, I like learning and mastering (after a fashion) the classic repertoire. Performance as such doesn’t give me a huge buzz – I just like the challenge of learning new pieces and learning to sing better. And the second best thing is getting to know some fantastic music that I would never otherwise have come across.

What is the most exciting piece you’ve ever sung? Probably the Grand March in Verdi’s opera Aida. It’s like skiing down a mountain full-pelt on the verge of losing control but not quite!

What’s the hardest piece you’ve ever sung? Probably Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem.

Which piece is your guilty pleasure? I really enjoy a jammy piece, failing which….have been known to wallow in the exceedingly lush Mass in Eb for double choir by Reinberger. Also thoroughly enjoy “Three Craws Sat upon a Wa’” (Scottish Trad.). But for truly decadent melodies and downright debauched rhythms I turn to Fat Boy Slim.

Do you also play an instrument and if so, which? Piano (v badly)

What other music do you enjoy? Most kinds – world music, jazz, folk, rock, pop, country etc etc

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not singing? Spending time outdoors – hiking, biking, kayaking, eating sausages on a stick.

Tea break! What’s your favourite biscuit? Ritter Sport, albeit the choir budget tends not to support such excesses.

What’s your choir super-power? The ability to ignore all extraneous distractions, e.g. the conductor furiously signalling bass entries.

Tell us something we don’t know about you. I’ve got a boil on my….No, no, no. I speak French.

What would you say to anyone thinking of joining our choir? Do it. Have fun. Open a door….

If you’d like to join Brian in the bass section – or join any of the other sections, for that matter, why not drop by for our rehearsal tomorrow night at 19.30 in Woodlands Methodist Church?

See you there!

Ursula