Achieving great results and
having fun in Southampton

27 July 2015

The advert in our local paper said, “Would you like to sing in a concert with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra? No experience required. Come to a free singing day at the city’s O2 Guildhall Southampton.” I showed Mandy, my wife, and we decided to give it a go. Good decision!

The day itself was socks-knocked-off superb. Over 200 members of the two choirs ‘up North’ travelled down to show what could be done and a select band of BSO players gave a foretaste of the sound we could make together. As they came back down from the Guildhall stage I heard one choir member say to another, “The last time we sang that was when we had a standing ovation in the Carnegie Hall.”

So, we signed up. Admittedly it helps to have the rehearsal venue, Richard Taunton’s College, just round the corner. But we were not alone: over 80 others from all over the area did the same and for the next ten weeks we got to know each other, and our parts, really well. The thought of performing all 14 songs from memory was initially daunting or even beyond belief but with the ever-patient Pete (Harrison), our lofty leader and Teresa (the one-woman ‘Barlow Symphony Orchestra’), his keyboard accomplice, coaching us through the many ‘corners’ as well as the not-quite-so-dire straits, we made it.

Help was there too in the pack of music for all the songs along with a CD with our own parts as well as the full mix of all voices and MP3 tracks downloadable from the Inspiration website. Every car journey of more than the length of the Hallelujah Chorus was accompanied by a blast from the repertoire and by the time we hit the weekend of the concert we were (almost) ready.

On the morning of the concert when we rehearsed for the first time with our BSO partners the Inspiration experience moved up another level; not just in volume but in jaw-dropping, nerve-tingling amazement at the beauty and power of the sound they produce as well as the sheer professionalism of the musicians we were performing alongside.

The audience was clearly impressed and the applause, standing ovations and post-concert plaudits all contributed to a great sense of achievement and pride for all of us in the choir. As Pete said, “Everyone has worked so hard and really joined in with the spirit of Inspiration – achieving great results and having fun.”

We will be back for the next Inspiration season in September and look forward to meeting up with all our friends from the first term as well as new recruits. So, if you would like to be part of this too visit the Southampton recruitment page or come along to our first rehearsal on Wednesday, 23rd September. It will be a taster session with Pete and Teresa taking us back over some of our concert highlights as well as introducing us to some of the songs for our Christmas concert. Can’t wait!

See you there!
Alan Matlock, Southampton Bass

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