Sunday, 3 June 2012

One to remember, for a very long time

This week has been enormous for me, in all aspects.  Work has been crazy busy recently and this week was the apex of the workload that I was not looking forward to.  In parallel, this week has seen the end of the greatest thing I have been apart of in France, and quite possibly, ever.  This week was the last week of the Gospel Challenge and our concert.

Wednesday we went into the town centre to sing in the street to drum up some interest in the concert.  It was a mixed bag - we sang well in front of the bar terraces and absolutely terribly outside the restaurant terraces.  We left on a low note, and I was pretty disappointed.  How were we going to pull off a concert in front of 400 people if 3 day before we were terrible?

Thursday night was our last rehearsal and it was like night and day.  There was a moment where we were going through a song that was so strong in emotion that I honestly don't think I'll forget that moment.  It was just so special.  Everyone was so happy, singing brilliantly and 'in the moment' and the choir master knew it.

I was called on Tuesday to say that I had been picked to do a solo!  I was really happy but as I had never ever done one, I was obviously quite intimidated.  I've already been in a gospel choir at uni, so I've got some experience but the Challenge really is open to everyone, with no experience required and the organiser said that she felt I really 'got' the idea of the Challenge - how could I refuse?  It's not everyday you get to sing a solo in a Church, and singing a Kirk Franklin song too.  Here's the great man singing 'my' song.

I only found out which song I was going to sing on Thursday at half past midnight, Friday morning.  ha!  What a challenge!  Work was so busy on Friday but I managed to find the solo lyrics and I practised just enough to feel ok with it.  I've learnt through this challenge that you shouldn't practice too much as spontaneity is a big pat of gospel.

Saturday, we were at the Church at 4pm.  The concert started at 8.30pm.  Bizarrely, I was not nervous at all.  In fact, I think most of the choir was quite relaxed.  I think the biggest stress was with the choir master and whether or not we'd follow his directions and be concentrated enough at all times.  I've been in choirs before but for others it was their first time.  If the choir isn't watching the director at all times, the performance can really go to pieces

As often is the case, we pulled it out the bag on the night, everyone was watching him like a hawk.  There was just my solo to contend with.  I'd written the first two words of my solo on my hand in case I got stage fright.  We didn't know what the song order would be so I was listening out for the song cue to be played by the musicians.....and when it arrived, I knew it was my turn to step forward.  I started singing and thought that the microphone was turned off, I looked at the director in panic but he just smiled!!  So, I thought it must be ok, I just really tried to sing right out...I did the same solo twice throughout the song and I was much more prepared for the second time round, dare I say it, I almost enjoyed myself!  It was the first time we'd had the musicians - we'd always practised acapella and it was weird realising that I had to listen to the music in order to get the timing right!

My solo over, I rejoined the choir and felt instantly euphoric!  I did it!  I've come such a long way these past 3 months, in all aspects of my life and this just shows it.  The rest of the concert was just as amazing as the first part, but I got to enjoy even more, my moment in the spotlight now in the past.

At the end of the concert, we left the stage singing and got a standing ovation.  It was just incredible.  The whole 10 week challenge was just incredible.

I met J, a colleague and J's parents who had come to see the concert and we went home.  I was buzzing and I definitely wasn't going to sleep any time soon.

J and I drank champagne and then when that was finished, we drank beer.  I texted a friend who I met a mere 10 weeks ago at the choir, who I didn't get to see at the end and we both agreed, sleeping was going to be difficult.

Last night, J dreamed of my favourite song from the concert, and I woke up humming another.  I think the concert's going to be there for a very long time to come.

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