Welcome to the Cantus blog! This is where members of the choir reveal what goes on during (and after) rehearsals in preparation for our concerts. Let's start with me, Livvy, second alto and social secretary!
Alongside the singing, the social side is always a key part of being in a choir, and the Cantus Ensemble takes this particularly seriously. Last Saturday was a great example of 'work hard, play hard'. We kicked off with our first ever professional choir photo-shoot in full concert dress: it’s incredible how difficult it is to act naturally when the photographer asks you to ‘act naturally’. Still, we had great fun posing for the camera and the results can be seen on the Cantus Facebook page.
Once out of our concert gear, it was time to put our vocal chords to the test. This term, we’re singing ‘Chansons Francaises’. Yup, that means a whole hour and a half of singing in French! From an early age, foreign languages have not come naturally to me; I remember being singled out for my terrible pronunciation, aged 10, from a choir of thirty when we were rehearsing ‘Stille Nacht’ for the school carol concert. Thankfully, Cantus were recently sent an audio link by the lovely Ruth Hansford, pronouncing all the words correctly: that’s my commute sorted for the next four weeks!
Ooh-la-la-ed out, it was time to play. We have a tradition at the beginning of the year and on tour to undertake THE CANTUS CHALLENGE. As social sec, it was my responsibility to organise this epic event. The first task for the choir (split into four teams) was to cross London on the underground to Farringdon, recording a tube-inspired music video on the way. We had everything from Abba (Take a Chancery Lane On Me) to (K)night(sbridge) Fever, Robbie Williams’ Angel to Like a (London) Bridge Over (Canada) Troubled Water. We've certainly got a creative bunch o' singers!
Next up, a treasure hunt around and about Smithfield market. The teams had to text me the answer to several cryptic clues before getting the next one, and the fastest team won. This certainly warmed up the choir on a chilly October afternoon…
The flood-lit market also provided the perfect location for the third challenge: relay races.
These consisted of:
Passing an orange down the line from chin to chin – no hands allowed!
Picking a cereal box off the floor with your teeth – only feet allowed to touch the ground - and a layer of cardboard torn off in each round (Alto Katie Clay managed to pick the flat lid off the ground!)
The After Eight Challenge: getting the chocolate square from your forehead to your mouth by scrunching your face
The Mummy Challenge: each team had a roll of loo-paper to dress up one member as a Mummy – best coverage won!
By this point, the choir were in need of a strong drink, but there was one last challenge en route to our final destination: our teams had to find an unsuspecting member of the public, sing HAPPY BIRTHDAY to them and present them with a cupcake. Points were awarded for singing, surprise, spectacle… one team even found a pianist at the St. Pancras Station street piano to join in with their rendition!
An exhausted choir ended up at Bounce in Holborn for a well-deserved pizza, followed by more competition in the form of a table tennis tournament! Some quite impressive laps for Round the World shows that this choir has sports skills alongside the singing!