Bristol Big Sing 2010


The Bristol Big Sing
Sunday 9 May 2010

Each year in April/May, community choirs from all over the south west region gather for a day of singing at St George’s Hall in Bristol. Nickomo, Nick Petts, Ali and Dee teach about six hundred of us several songs during the day. The sound of our combined voices resonating in that magnificent hall is moving, uplifting and fantastic! In the evening, each choir may perform two of their own songs on stage for all the others, and it is always a fabulously entertaining concert. This year, 2010, was the tenth anniversary of the Big Sing, and to celebrate, the organisers had arranged for ‘The B Naturals’ to entertain us with their upbeat barbershop-style harmony singing.


Company of Voices combined with Claire’s Tiverton choir to form ‘More Voices’, about 45 singers in total. We performed a Mauri song, Nga Iwi E, which had been adopted by Greenpeace when they were in New Zealand with the ‘Rainbow Warrior’ and a version of Under the Boardwalk.


Here is the enthusiastic response of one of our members:-


You might think that after twelve hours away from home – two hours on a coach, one in a car, mad dashes round a variety of Bristol eating establishments, trying to get served within a thirty-minutes’ timeframe – you would be worn out.

But oh no! Not if you have been taking part in the most wonderful singing event, with six hundred other people in St George’s Hall, Bristol. You will come home giddy with music, warmth and good humour - and find that singing in the car is just what you need.

We had been practising for weeks. We had thought that we would never get our heads round Maori words and might not be up to snuff! However, as the time drew near adrenalin focussed the mind. Our choir for Bristol was an amalgamation of two of Claire Anstee’s choirs. Having practiced separately, the energy and intensity dramatically improved when we joined forces and Claire’s final rehearsals tied us together with a great big bow! One last run-through in the garden of the hall at lunchtime gave us confidence.

The actual performance was a thrilling experience. When you have sung two songs the best you have ever done them and when six hundred people applaud with whooping and hollering – you feel brilliant. Big relief and proud grins all round.

Finishing off the evening with a collective, joyful rendering of one of the songs you have learnt during the day leaves you impatient for next year. Be there or be square!!

And thank you Claire.

Liz McGrath






9 May 2010