Speech Night preparations have begun in earnest by the Primary Choir. So soon?…. I hear you ask! Each year all the choirs perform twice. The Infants Choir at Open Day and at the Christmas Celebration concert and nativity play. The Primary Choir and John Colet Choir both perform at Open Day and at Speech Night in December. We start the preparations for Open Day at the beginning of the year and for Speech Night at the beginning of term 3.
The first step is to learn all the notes and parts; just like learning lines for a play but it’s a musical part with notes. We take care at this crucial stage to ensure the notes are learnt accurately because music is so powerful that if notes are learnt incorrectly, they get in so deeply and quickly that it’s very difficult to fix it up at later rehearsals. The note learning stage is the foundation of the performance you hear and see on stage but it’s not that exciting to do. The primary children have been excellent in rehearsals. They bring a book or their Shakespeare script with them and if their part is not being taught, they read quietly or learn their play lines while they wait their turn a win win!
We aim to have all the notes and parts learnt by the end of term 3. This allows them to be completely absorbed in their Shakespeare play for the first half of term 4 without the stress (on the teacher’s side) of also trying to learn Speech Night parts. Once the Primary Shakespeare Festival is over at the end of week 4, the rest of the term’s choir rehearsals are given over to consolidating, refining and polishing for Speech Night since all the parts have been learnt. The performance always includes solo items by the Head Chorister and often other children too.
The Speech Night concert program aims to expose the children to some of the finest and greatest choral music. We rotate around a four year program of Purcell, Vivaldi, Handel and Mozart. Last year was Handel’s Messiah and this year is an all Mozart program.
Look out for the next blog post on the Primary Choir with more details on the program itself.