Rehearsal Diary – Day 10

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BY ELLY HOCKING

What a nice day today!

We started this morning with warm-ups and singing. I think, out of all the songs we’ve been practicing so far, Abide With Me is probably my favourite. Liv has been amazing at teaching us all, I can barely sing in the first place, so how she manages to sing, teach us to sing, and play the piano all at the same time is a mystery to the likes of me.

We then went down to Bentley and visited some of our interviewees. The ladies were happy to see us, which was great, and we had a lovely time speaking with them. Bailey, George and I all went in to see Muriel, who was our very first interviewee. We have seen her quite a few times now. It was great to just sit and talk to her, and not have to worry about asking the right questions, or recording. She’s got such a gentle manner and is so funny, that it’s always nice to see her. I think we might have worn her out a bit today though, she was a bit tired after a while so we left her to rest and joined up with everyone else.

While we were there, we checked out the space we’ll be performing in and briefly ran through a couple of things, just to get a sense of how much room we’d have, entrances and exits, etc. I do wonder how it’ll feel on the day, when we have an audience in there too. Probably a bit scary, but audiences are a bit scary really!

Best bit of the day coming up, here….

When we’d finished, we went and sang the hymns we’ve been learning to a couple of the residents. Several of the ladies were very moved by our performance. We went to see Muriel first, which was nice as we already knew she really likes Abide With Me, and I was a bit shocked by how much she seemed to appreciate it…she welled up a little. And then we all welled up a little! It felt like it really meant something to her, and it’s a beautiful thing really, to share something with someone and have it mean something to them. I suppose I’ve never really been in that kind of situation before. I can’t recall having made anybody cry with anything I’ve performed. It’s an odd way of describing it, but I felt connected somehow. Like we’d sent out this transmission, and then she’d sent it back. It felt important. For everyone.

Having seen how much Muriel enjoyed the songs, we went and sang them to a handful of other residents, all of whom were so welcoming, enthusiastic, and appreciative in their own ways that it really was very hard not to get too choked up.

Art is important, really. But it’s only important because of the people who see it. Art can lift people up, or bring them down, and I think today made me realise that those who make it have a responsibility. I’d like to lift people up as much as I can from now on. It felt very special.

Now that I’ve gotten off of my soapbox – we then went back to HQ, all of us slightly emotional. We then had recorder practice with Lesly, which is always fun! We were practicing some new music she had brought in for us, which I think we’ll be using for our next project. It was all very ‘Greensleeves’, if you catch my drift. And then we broke for lunch. I have this awful habit of making the exact same thing for lunch every day, for weeks on end, until I can no longer physically stand it. But sandwiches are nice, and I hate eating cold leftovers for lunch. What’s a girl to do?

We finished off today with dance, which Malcolm joined us for. Dance is led by The Fabulous Kath. I’m usually always slightly nervous about it as I have a strong suspicion that my natural sense of rhythm was surgically removed at birth. Possibly so it could then be transplanted into a taller, shinier, more socially-adept baby. Most likely Louis, who has some serious rhythm. Specifically, MY RHYTHM. GIVE IT BACK, LOUIS.

Weird, uncomfortable jokes aside, dance was great fun today. Renaissance dance isn’t challenging physically, necessarily, but there’s often a lot to remember and so much of it hinges on style. I’m looking forward to doing more of it. All in all, today was a lovely end to the week.

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