I do some stealth barbershopJuly 2, 2015 at 7:16 pm | Posted in barbershop, music | Leave a comment
Tags: 2015, a capella, Arts Festival, barbershop, busking, HBAF, Hebden Bridge, ladies, music, remingtons, sextet, singing, Street Sundae, women
Well, all right. Donning red jackets and boaters isn’t exactly inconspicuous. The ‘stealth’ aspect was because we were barberbombing the Street Sundae, when a glorious riot of street performers takes over Hebden Bridge as part of the annual Arts Festival. An Arts Festival volunteer approached us with a clipboard at one point. I feared a ticking-off, but she just said, ‘If you’d let us know, we’d’ve put you on the programme!’ Oops. We did mean to. Sorry.
My fellow Remingtons and I had met an hour or so earlier to drink tea and run through bits of repertoire. We ended up with a short list of songs that a) we all knew b) we could do without the sheet music and c) we felt were appropriate in style. (Liz: We can’t do that one, it’s not barbershop. Chrissie: I don’t think anyone’s going to wave the Trades Descriptions Act at us. Me: MR SANDMAN! Everyone else: No. NO*.)
Then we headed out (via the chippy) to scope out potential sites. We started off under the clock opposite the Town Hall. It was a bit windy, and our advertising sign (The Remingtons! Hebden’s very own Ladies’ Barbershop Sextet!) kept blowing over, but a few people stopped to listen, and someone tried to get us to come and sing at his event for free, which was encouraging. Excitingly, the Arts Festival volunteer bounced up and said she had an ACTUAL SLOT for us in the PROPER PROGRAMME at the Marina, as someone had dropped out. Gosh! A quick move into the Town Hall itself, where we serenaded the coffee-drinkers on the terrace with Ain’t She Sweet? and Don’t Fence Me In. We were getting into our stride now, adding choreo to Five Foot Two, Eyes Of Blue and hamming it up outrageously in Wait ‘Til The Sun Shines, Nellie.
On to the Marina, via the Wavy Steps where we did a quick couple of numbers before being moved along politely by another volunteer who was waiting for a proper act to show up. The Marina was occupied by a bluegrass group who looked very settled. The volunteer came up to us again: ‘I’m really sorry, but they’re running over.’ Hmm. It was VERY windy, and there was nothing to reflect the sound. They were amplified, and we (of course) are not, because a capella, so we decided to cut our losses and ambled off to the park.
This, our last barberbomb of the day, was the most successful. At the end of the canal bridge, with lots of stone to reflect the sound and trees to cut the wind, we could hear ourselves, and so could our little audience (which included the boyf, our boiz, Liz’s husband and their son, a chap with a grin, a woman who recorded some of it on her phone, several dogs and toddlers and a couple of mountain bikers). And you know what? We didn’t sound at all bad. Some audience reactions:
10yo: Mummy, I LOVED it! That was AMAZING.
7yo: Can we go to the playground yet?
Boyf: There are some good voices in your group.
Liz’s husband: It sounded crisper when there were only four of you.
Woman I know from school: That was LOVELY! I didn’t know you sang! It was beautiful!
N.B. We’re available for weddings, private functions, parties in wine bars, etc. Go on. Give us a call.
* This is because all the parts are fiendishly difficult apart from the lead, which is me.