Silent Surprises

Autumn has begun – and that means Community Choir is back! Tuesday 13th of September is the big day – and in an astonishing feat of organisation, your choir leaders have updated the choir Calendar up to the end of December, 2016. It has details of gigs and dates for half term and really helpful things like that… Don’t feel anxious – we’re just amazing.

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Anyway, before having a look at what’s to come this term, here’s an amazing pic of us courtesy of Tom Leighton from Organoke. If you want to see more, visit www.musicatstgiles.com where there’s more evidence of a truly awesome night. Thankfully, all photographs of the afterparty in the crypt bar seem to have mercifully disappeared.

blackmail1
So – on to the new term and this is the fourth year we’re going to be accompanying a silent film at St Giles’. This year’s film is Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Blackmail’ of 1929 – and it’s a cracker. It’s got oodles of Hitch’s signature themes, techniques and motifs running all the way through it – including the blonde in distress, a brilliant Hitch cameo on the tube and a thrilling foot chase set at the British Museum.

Blackmail is an especially important film as two versions of it were made – a silent version and Britain’s first ‘talkie’. Apparently the studio asked Hitchcock to convert the film to sound after silent shooting had already begun – but without informing them, Hitchcock decided to reshoot with some roles having different actors – and make two versions. Most cinemas at the time didn’t have the equipment to show the sound version so his justification was, well, sound. Both versions were a hit at the box office with critics favouring the silent version which we’ll be screening in November.

Apart from a few different actors, the two versions don’t vary from each other that much – the silent version had a length of 6740ft as appose to the 7136ft of the talkie. But one thing which was cut from the silent film was a song called ‘Miss Up-to-Date’ played and sung by actor Cyril Ritchard who appeared in last year’s film, ‘Piccadilly’. It’s only a short song and the music for it is about 80 years out of print and can’t be found anywhere! But we’ll try and include it back into the silent version, along with a few modern songs here and there. Here’s the original – let us know if you can make out any of the words!


After the silent film, we’ll be on the lead up to Christmas and as usual, December is looking hectic. But in the meantime, if you’re thinking about joining us for a rehearsal – do come. Singing in a choir is an amazing experience and it’s really, really good for you! We hope to see you soon. Ash, Matt & Aga.

One word – Organoke. *drops mic

Well – it’s been quite some time (6 months) since your choir leaders wrote a post on the website. Apologies. We move in mysterious (lethargic) ways and we prefer to think that our lack of contact has encouraged you to come to more rehearsals to find out what on earth we’ve got in store for you. Or you could just blame our organisational skills. (What skills?)

Moving on – this summer is going to be big. Usually, we do a summer concert, perform outside in the park, join a few other choirs for another concert and so on. This term we have all that and more. The ‘more’ being ‘Organoke’, a new concept exploring the age-old link between the church pipe organ and rock and roll…

Phantom of the Opera Organ
St Giles’ before organoke…
Weird organist in hat
…afterwards

 

 

 

 

 

Essentially, we’re going to join in and lead karaoke classics accompanied on the organ in St Giles’ Church, with the help of a band, a bar and some fancy dress outfits. Admittedly, this is not a normal combination and to the best of our knowledge this hasn’t been done before and probably for good reason. But as the opening night of Camberwell Arts Festival on the 11th of June it’s going to be great and definitely something different! We’re working out exactly how it will all work but come to choir to find out more – you never know when the next post will be.

In the meantime, check out the calendar which has upcoming rehearsals and concerts and see you at choir soon!

A Fright Night / Dead Day Choir

Day of the Dead
This weekend we’re singing at our first two gigs of the autumn term. And due to our amazing organisational skills, your choir leaders – and Carmel (so you know who to blame) – decided that to get an authentic performance on Sunday’s Day of the Dead celebrations we should have our annual silent film night the night before. Obviously this involves an after party in the crypt ’till late which should ensure that we all look and feel suitably dead for the next day. Or later on the same day in most cases if you think about it.

Still – it’s going to be an amazing weekend! Our silent film night on Saturday 31st is in it’s 3rd year and with the help of the Friends of St Giles’ Church and Camberwell Free Film Festival this year is going to be epic. Tickets are available on the door of the church for the film. And if you want to buy tickets for both the film and a ‘speakeasy’ theme night downstairs in the crypt afterwards, head on over to wegottickets.com where you can buy combined tickets for both events. The film starts at 7pm – and choir we’re warming up at 6pm in St Giles’ – see Calendar for more details.

Piccadilly Poster

Then on Sunday 1st November we’re heading over to Hackney for Día de Muertos. It’s being held at the RichMix Cinema, 35 – 47 Bethnal Green Road, E1 6LA and we’re on at 3pm.

Day of the Dead is a tradition spanning back thousands of years, where Mexicans honour their dead and celebrate life. And as well as all the celebrations it’s a chance to celebrate loved ones that have passed away. There’s a fully traditional altar, live music, arts & crafts and probably the most deliciously crafted Mexican food on this side of the pond! Check out the Facebook page here.

What a weekend – please join us if you can!

The Roaring 20’s are back

The roaring 20’s are back – and so are we!

Our new term starts on Tuesday 15th of September with Aga. You can see our schedule on the calendar page here. And like last year, we’re preparing music for a visit to 1920’s London with our silent film night, on Saturday 31st of October.

PiccadillyIn October 2014, we accompanied Alfred Hitchcock’s silent film,  ‘The Lodger: A tale of the London Fog’ with live music. We thought we’d stick to the same town and era so that we can encourage even more dressing up this time around. So dust off those fascinators and top hats!

Like last time, we’re combining period and new music. Whether we’ll be able to recreate one of the best chase scenes in cinema history to ‘Mad World’ is anyone’s guess, but we’ve certainly got some ideas. Piccadilly is a film about ambition, desire and jealousy set in the glamorous west end – it’s hugely stylish and we’ll be using the British Film Institute’s restored version to bring it all to life.

So definitely a date for your diaries – see you at a rehearsal soon!

Razzle Dazzle ’em

Community Choir returns on Tuesday 21st April
After learning 6 brand new songs last term we definitely needed to call it a day. And a night!

Night and Day PosterOur spring concert, with a night and day theme, was the finale to a great term of rehearsals. We had lots of new faces, lots of cheese and wine… and we tackled the most difficult music we’ve ever performed, much of it in four parts. We had a great attendance at the concert and we raised nearly £200 for Ronald McDonald House Charity in Camberwell. The choir leaders even got their act together and stuck to the theme… in the end!

We also contributed to a concert with two other choirs on Monday 13th of April – even with lots of people away for Easter we still did a great job.

So, what do we have planned for summer 2015?

The theme is songs from musicals and we already have lots to put in the diary. On Sunday 10th May we’ll be performing at a garden party at Ronald McDonald House in Camberwell. Then on 20th June we have Masters of Pop II in St Giles’ Church. And on the following weekend on Saturday 27th June we’ll be supporting a world record in Camberwell… more on that soon!

Check out the calendar for all details of rehearsals and concerts – and see you at choir soon!

Dates for the Diary

Happy New Year! Choir rehearsals start again on Tuesday 13th January at 7.45pm.

If you’ve never joined us before, why not try something new for 2015? Using your voice and singing with a choir has no end of health benefits. Really – you’d be surprised! As well as burning off over 200 calories per rehearsal – biscuits in the tea break not withstanding – singing in a choir is apparently better for you than yoga.

In 2013, Researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, found that singers heartbeats synchronise when they sing together, bringing about a calming effect that is as beneficial to our health as yoga. “Song is a form of regular, controlled breathing, since breathing out occurs on the song phrases and inhaling takes place between these,” says Dr Björn Vickhoff, who led the study. “It gives you pretty much the same effect as yoga breathing. It helps you relax, and there are indications that it does provide a heart benefit.”  So there you go!

To hell with the diet?
wineIf a New Year detox is not for you – come to our Wine & Cheese night on Tuesday 10th February. It’s basically a short choir rehearsal followed by your favourite tipples, creamy cheeses and a singalong round the Joanna – it’s now a choir tradition and you’ll love it!  We’ve got lots more to plan and arrange performance wise, so we’ll keep you posted and bring you more details later in the term.

In the meantime, have a great start to 2015!

Merry Christmas, Camberwell!

I think everyone in our choir would agree that 2014 has been a fabulous year for singing!

We’ve performed in a play at the Young Vic and sung with other choirs both in and outside of Camberwell. We’ve provided the soundtrack for a silent movie and redefined the definition of ‘wine and cheese’ night..!

Community CarolsTo finish the year off then, last week the choir performed at Kings’ College Hospital’s Community Carol Service. The chapel at the hospital was packed with doctors, nurses, patients and other members of the hospital and local community. We sang two solo items and led the congregational carols with some awesome descants. It was a perfect service with a historical perspective too; 2014 marking the 100th anniversary of the Christmas truce in WW1, a conflict which saw many of the staff from the hospital volunteer and consequently lose their lives in the fighting.

As a choir, we really enjoy singing at occasions you might not always expect a community choir to be singing at – our silent film night is a perfect example! But singing at events in Camberwell which bring local people together is a real privilege too and since ‘community’ is in our name – we hope to continue doing it for a long time time to come.

So our last event of the year is ‘Carols ’round Camberwell’ – the last word in community carol singing! It’s on Tuesday 16th December and we’ll be performing some carols in St Giles’ church from 7pm before heading out into Camberwell – if you’re in a local pub or restaurant along church street, keep your ears pealed as we may drop in and surprise you!

Have a Merry Christmas, Camberwell.

What’s next?!

Our Halloween / silent film / scary choir concert went so well!

matt 182315804711_nThe buzz about it is still going on and there’s been so much interest in our choir and music at St Giles’ since then. In fact, no one can remember the church so full for a concert! Awesome work by everyone involved – we just need to have a think now how we can beat it!

With Christmas coming, there’s at least another two opportunities to perform this year. First up on Wednesday 10th December at 6.30pm is Kings’ College Hospital’s Christmas Carol Service. It’s a service for all the staff and patients at the hospital and should be a really special occasion. It is a service as appose to a concert, so there’s obviously a religious element to it although if that’s not your thing, it’s still an opportunity to have a bit of quiet time to yourself before the onslaught of Christmas shopping and the like! Plus, some of the music choices will be really special and it’s important that as we’re called a ‘community’ choir, we perform all over our patch and share our music with everyone.

Then – the big one. Our Christmas concert is on Tuesday 16th December at 7pm in St Giles’ Church. ‘Christmas Concert’ doesn’t quite cover it though as it’s going to feature ‘Carols ’round Camberwell’ which basically involves donning a heavy winter jacket, scarf and the like and then walking around Camberwell singing Christmas Carols. It’s awfully good fun – last year a thunderstorm started just as we walked outside and the year before that was the ‘Great Wind’…. But we’ll take shelter in lots of pubs en route and hopefully it will descend into a choir party as well. So three events in one night – we never do anything by halves!

Find out more details on Facebook/camberwellcommunitychoir