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April 7 – less snow & more men

The temperature is hovering between zero and seven degrees, but the snow is disappearing fast. This picture is taken from the same place as the on April 2…

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Male choir day today. Akademen had an early rehearsal in the main hall of the Music Centre, the same place we have the concert in a weeks’ time. Initially, it was pretty dreadful. The acoustics of the hall are not completely unproblematic, even if the sound into the audience is quite pleasant. It’s the kind of place where the chorister hear themselves really well, and everything else less well. With most choirs this leads to the singers becoming insecure and singing with less energy and power than normal. And that pretty much does it: it all sounds cramped and stifled.

I tried just about everything from being calm and supporting to ridiculously active gestures. We changed the standing positions of the singers 3-4 times and nothing seemed to help. The choir hadn’t sung this poorly for ages. Not exactly what you want a week before the concert.

Fortunately, things improved towards the end and we could end on a more positive note. And, we do have four (!) more rehearsals before the concert. After today, I believe everyone understood why I wanted such a congested last week, even though we already know the music well.

There is also one strange factor on our side. For some reason, the hall uses sound reinforcement for choir concerts. It might mostly be due to the fact that there are seats behind the scene, and making sense of sung text from behind the choir is pretty difficult. But it seems to have become a bit of default setting even when the places behind the choir are not in use. Be that as it may, the good thing is that the reinforcement somewhat helps the acoustics on the scene.

I also have time to prepare the singers for the scene. This means I will make the singers sing quite far from each other to get used to hearing their own voice. And just emphasize that they need to trust the feeling they have when they sing, even when the auditive picture changes. I am confident it will be good in a weeks’ time.

The day closed with a short session with the festive choir of ca. 180 singers, singers of Akademen and alumni. The age range is between 18 and 80 and the big choir sounds much better than that would make you assume. It was fun to notice that I could change the way they were singing and make the sound a little lighter and less-pressed. The songs were pieces everyone knew by heart and it was all good fun. At the same time, it was a good reminder that maybe taking things a little easier might be good for my blood pressure – and my singers.

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