The Mansfield MVC blog caught up with MD Ian Grice Just before the summer break. Ian gives us an insight in the work which goes on behind the scenes as well as looking forward to the busy autumn programme.
What are your thoughts generally at the end of term?
We have a 4 week break now. It’s important that people don’t slip in terms of learning. We should be coming back on the 4th of September and have 3 weeks of solid rehearsal ready for our first concert on the 22nd of September.
It’s so important that the guys do not slip in terms of learning the new pieces
I am pleased with development – we have made good progress. We’ve taken on some new songs since the Royal Albert Hall concert. Sailing is a song many people know and it’s important that the guys now learn their part properly and this takes time and effort. We’ll be singing this as a joint item with Beverely so it’s even more important to get things right. We have a brand new song for us called We Rise Again which we’ll be singing at the same concert. I think this song will be an anthem for the choir. It’s such an uplifting and stirring piece- a very special song. I’m pleased that we’ve managed to learn the song pretty much from scratch in about 4 weeks. The guys have worked really hard.
You mentioned learning – can we have a word about that?
I have to give a special mention for John Wakeland [bass] on this. His contribution to our choir has been huge in helping us make progress in this area. John has been creating various media files using Musescore software for a number of the new songs and was doing this before the Albert Hall. The files are in various media formats and have been made available to choristers to enable learning. The guys can listen to their individual parts separately or against the piano or other parts. Because they can do this repeatedly at home it helps us to learn the material quicker if the guys put the time in.
So massive thanks to John because he has put in an awful lot of time on this.
There are some other additions to the repertoire post London. Tell me a bit about Let It Be Me and Fields of Gold
Let It Be Me is an old Everley Brothers song which has been covered numerous times by some big-name artists. This arrangement for the song was given to us by Alwyn Humphrys for our efforts at the Albert Hall. We have given Alwyn a fee because its only right for us to do that but he has not charged his full fee. Its a very clever song but very simple and it will chime with a lot of our audience. Fields of Gold is a Sting song dating back to the early 90s. We were being asked by some of the guys in the choir to bring this one back. It was a big favourite from about 15 years ago when we sang it and some were a bit disappointed that we had dropped it.
Our first concert of the autumn programme will be the joint concert with Beverley MVC at QEA called “Autumnal Air”. Is it fair to say that the programme for this show will have a real freshness to it?
Definitely. Its been a while since we have performed for our own audience here in Mansfield. We’ve done a few private functions and we’ve had the big event in London which, as everyone knows, took a long time and a lot of effort to prepare for. Our audience will not have heard many of the London songs before as well some other new songs we’ve mentioned. So yes, our audience will be guaranteed some new songs and a really fresh feel to the programme.
Finally Ian. do you have a message for our friends up in East Yorkshire?
I know that Beverley are working hard to prepare for their tour to the area in September and to our joint show at QEA. It’s a great venue to sing in and we’re all excited here in Mansfield to welcome our guests. Martyn [Mellodew] from Beverley has been to see us a few times and joined in with rehearsal as has Dan [Hayes] been up to see the guys in Beverley. So greetings go to Liz and the guys – we really enjoyed singing with you last year. This show will be even better and we can’t wait to share the stage with you again.
Our audience will be guaranteed some new songs – there will be a really fresh feel to the autumn programme
Thanks go to Ian for his time once again.
There will be more to come on the blog regarding “Autumnal Air” next time but full details of this show and our autumn programme including ticket information are on the Events page.