Competition time…

Reigate and Redhill Music and Drama Festival competition

In early May, Soundbytes entered the Reigate and Redhill Music and Drama Festival competition. Our 1st competition since 2014, so felt it was about time to get a competitive edge into our singing. What fun! We hired a coach, and Hazel, our choir leader found a new calling; the coach took 51 of us from Ashtead to Reigate and we had a rather enjoyable (if not slightly disturbing) running commentary en route. Anyway, it put us in a good mood and the right frame of mind for giving the competition a good go! As we assembled nervously in the warm-up room, the excitement was building with more than a few butterflies fluttering around.

We were then seated in the audience and listened to the other choirs performing their 2 pieces each. Could we possibly be any better? They were certainly good, and who knew how well we’d perform under pressure?

“Could Soundbytes please take to the stage…” called the organiser, and up we went, oh, no, it wasn’t how we’d imagined it would be, the stage was to small for us to get into the horse-shoe formation, some of us couldn’t see Hazel too well…I guess that is the fun of competition, everyone has to adapt and deal with these unknown and unforeseen factors, and perhaps enough to put fear into our bellies!

But Hazel gave us her winning smile, she looked across to the pianist, and we were off. An upbeat latin-style pop song, Under The Boardwalk. All felt good and rolled along without a hitch. Two and a half minutes of Boardwalk fun and it was over. Up next, King Of The Road, unaccompanied and in swing. One of Hazel’s more complicated arrangements, but technically shows us off at our best, so long as we don’t go wrong, of course. Three minutes later, finished. Looking across and around the room at the other choirs, politely watching felt great and we were determined to be the best…but was it enough?

After a few anxious minutes, the adjudicator took to the stage, trophy in hand…but who’s was it???

It’s not the winning, it’s the taking part, I said to myself as the young lady representing the other choir collected the trophy. But then the adjudicator turned to us, Soundbytes.

“To you, Soundbytes, I would like to offer you ‘Honours’ (the next prize below a trophy!) Your energy and commitment to your singing is written in your eyes. Technically, your timing was excellent and the diction and blend sounded clear and projected well. Well done.”

“Well,” Hazel was back on the mic on the coach for our ‘enjoyable’ commentary homeward bound, “she said nothing that we can’t fix. So who’s up for doing this again next year?”  The shouts of agreement and laughter was joyous. “And let’s bring home that trophy!!”  

We’ll be back.

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