When you wake up one morning and think ' I know I'll get a load of strangers together, of all different ages and abilities, in one room, for a whole day and teach them 5 songs in 2-5 part harmony' you'd think something in my brain would say no...
I am so glad it didn't.
The recent Singing In Harmony Workshop was amazing. We had singers from as young as 10 to as old as...(best not give away their ages but lets just say a lot older than 10)! The 25 people who came along to the day didn't know what to think when they hadn't had any information about what we were singing. So in the came, totally unaware what myself and Alex had in store for them.
We wanted to do songs of all different genres, so we started the day off with HO HEY by the Lumineers. This is a folk song and has also been cover by Nashville a popular television series, which looks at the song in a country style. Within 30 minutes we had covered the whole song. The main bulk of the song was formed with only two harmony parts but once into the bridge we had a four part harmony rolling! What a start to a day!
The next song we chose was SEASONS OF LOVE from the famous musical Rent. Its an amazing song from a beautiful yet heart wrenching musical. This is a really difficult song to sing in harmony especially for those who don't harmonise often. After a good 30 minutes of hard graft we were almost there. It then took a little longer once we had come back for the evening show to tighten it up but my goodness it was beautiful once everyone was singing together.
There were a few divas (in the best sense of the word) on the day so i wanted to give them the opportunity to shine out and get their buts wiggling. So...Aretha Franklin it had to be, SAY A LITTLE PRAYER. This song was originally a Dionne Warwick song but Aretha did a beautiful version of so I took her soulful influence and created some harmonies. The result was great. Not only did we have people singing in harmony but we also had shakers and movement! The best part of the song for me though was when the boys ended up with the line 'put on my make up'!
Just two more songs to go, so we stayed in the upbeat style and tackled the legendary Beach Boys. One of their most famous songs (they had a few!) I GET AROUND. The Beach Boys are known for their intricate harmonies and didn't the group feel it. However, after not to long we were tackling the hard phrasing and timing and had managed to get a beautiful rendition of the song out! This was definitely a crowd pleaser with the workshop team and the audience who came to watch us in the evening.
Finally, the last song for the day, an incredibly hard song, CHANDELIER by Sia. Anyone who has been watching the voice this year will have heard the winner sing this song for his blind audition. It is a grade 8 level song and hits some pretty high notes. Did this phase me when i added it to the mix of songs from the workshop? Not one bit....well maybe a little but everyone on the day loved it. The intricate and close harmonies were a struggle at first but as we were nearer the end of the day each of the sections had started understanding how to work as a team. The end result was stunning.
All in all, after a long hard day of learning songs, that the group hadn't know they were doing 5 hours previous, I think the results were incredible. The audience that came along to watch the songs later in the evening were clapping, singing along and couldn't believe what the group had managed to do in a day! They worked so hard and what a lot of fun was had by all.