The Fellows rehearse in Hall One at Kings Place


Plosive 'chucka' or resonant 'jhuga'? Just one of many things to get right for a sell-out London A Cappella Festival crowd.

ELEANOR PARTRIDGE

The Fellowship started 2018 on a high, spending a day rehearsing together before performing to a sold-out audience at Kings Place. We were fortunate to have been asked to be the warm-up act for The Tallis Scholars as a part of the London A Cappella Festival, a festival co-curated by Ikon Arts and The Swingles.

We started our day at Cecil Sharp House, working on our four pieces; Hubert Parry’s ‘I know my soul hath power’ from his gorgeous ‘Songs of Farewell’, Margaret Rizza’s ethereal ‘Mary slept’, Peter Knight’s King’s Singers arrangement of ‘I’m a Train’ - and a rather special arrangement of ‘The blooming heather’ by our very own Jacob Ewens!

We were joined for the day by Ben Parry and Dominic Ellis-Peckham, who gave us the most helpful guidance. Dom started our rehearsal by introducing us to the importance of a moment of stillness, a moment of self-reflection and appreciation before diving headlong into the busyness of a concert-day. He then went on to absolutely transform our performance of ‘I’m a train’. As can be so easy for a group of singers to do, we were intent on taking the piece as fast as is humanly possible, to show of our incredible ability to fit in as many ‘chucka chuckas’ as we could. However, Dom encouraged us to take it slower, to substitute the tricky plosive ‘chucka chuckas’ with more resonant ‘jhuga jhugas’, resulting in a far more chilled, enjoyable performance to sing, and hopefully more enjoyable to listen to!

Performing in Kings Place was a brand new experience for most of us, and the rehearsal time was a real taster of what its like performing as professionals. Backstage it gave us quite a thrill to be brushing shoulders with The Tallis Scholars and The Swingle Singers! With only enough time to run the music in the concert hall - have a look at the video below - there was no time for any faffing or last-minute changes. The performance gave a number of us the opportunity to speak to our audience, introducing the music and many votes of thanks, which was a daunting prospect before a packed audience.

For the group, it was amazing to reflect that this was only our third time performing together in front of an audience. We rose to the occasion, and we all agreed that as a group, we sang the best we ever have. We have so many thanks to give, but especially to LACF for hosting such a fantastic festival, and to Peter Philips and The Tallis Scholars for giving us such an outstanding showcase.

We have a busy month coming up with performances at Gresham’s School with their Schola Cantorum on 19th February, at Cadogan Hall as a part of the National Youth Chamber Choir on 20th February and at St John’s, Smith Square with the European Union Chamber Orchestra and Gresham’s Schola Cantorum on 21st February. Please do have a look at our calendar and see if you can make any of our concerts - we'd love to see you!