Singing in Fort William

Yesterday was the annual choral concert in Fort William where our local singers join forces with a choir from Fort William and hold an evening concert there on the Saturday. They repay the compliment by coming down here this afternoon for a repeat performance in Argyll.
It’s a long haul up to Fort William. We took the coast road via Oban and made it in just under two hours. Stopped for a bite of lunch and then on to the Lochaber High School for a rehearsal. The Queen of the Chooks came too and was dispatched back into town, she not being a member of the choral society, to do the shopping. The usual hiatus ensued with trying to work out seating arrangements for two choirs on one stage as a single chorus and then we had a surprisingly-brief rehearsal, getting away a good hour earlier than we’d expected.
On these occasions, the visitors (ourselves) are taken home by members of the home team for hospitality. We were welcomed back by Jill and Jim, who had entertained us the year before, so I can’t have made too bad an impression. They live down in at the foot of Glen Coe near Loch Leven, so a good half-hour drive back down the road. A very pleasant afternoon spent in chat about water supplies, smoking, sewerage, education, new cars and all sorts, with views over fabulous mountains before an excellent mushroom lasagne and watching everyone else eat the strawberry pavlova – a bit of a no-no for a naughty diabetic like me. Showered and changed, we headed back up the road to Fort Bill for the concert.
Very warm in the hall at the school, we discarded jackets and shirt sleeves were the order of the evening. All went surprisingly well, with relatively few shaky cues, although there were certainly some. The men are outnumbered at least two to one by the ladies, but they stick us up high so we have a chance of being heard. I haven’t got the dots or the programme in front of me at the moment, but we performed extracts from Nabucco, Aida, Faust and, for the second half, a choral version of Carmen, sung in English (which sounds ridiculous). Personally, the story of Carmen doesn’t do it for me; a slapper comes to a bad end with some good tunes in between. The Verdi was great fun for the basses; all mostly in the middle of our range and nothing too complicated in terms of harmony or counting, just the way we like it.

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