It was almost a year to the day since we had last performed at Sounds Sublime 2016 . On that occasion, our group made up the current Genesis Sixteen cohort; this time, we were delighted to be invited back to the festival with the same work ethic and group chemistry, only under a new name - echo .
The day began, as any productive musical day should, with tea, biscuits, and a much-needed catch-up! As we all currently live in various parts of the UK (Edinburgh, London, Norwich and Bristol to name but a few), we always have so much to talk about when we reunite for concerts. Nevertheless, we also had a fair few pieces to prepare, and so the chit-chat was soon replaced with siren sounds, lip trills, and other strange warm-up exercises.
One of the many things I love about singing with echo is that each project challenges me in different ways. We are always look to add new music to our repertoire, such as Howard Skempton ’s The Flight of Song , complete with graphic score, yet also performing more familiar music in a fresh way. One of my favourite pieces for this project was the divine ‘Music dei donum’ by Orlando Lassus. It’s an expressively subtle yet sonorous piece, where I think the biggest task is to help the audience indulge in its sound-world without seeming to wallow in it.
As always, the rehearsal flew by, and it was then time for us to travel to Central London for our first performance – a pop-up set at the National Gallery . Here we were based in Room 32, where amongst other pieces, we sang Bernard Rose's Feast Song for St Cecilia , the patron saint of music, whose portrait by Pietro da Cortona hung proudly upon the wall across from us. We drew a large and enthusiastic crowd, who were even willing to get involved with our performance of the folk song ‘ Pretty Little Horses ’!
Next up was our joint evening concert with the London International Gospel Choir at St Clement Danes on the Strand. Fresh from their appearance on BBC1’s Pitch Battle, the LIGC gave a fantastic performance, where we couldn’t resist joining in with their rendition of the 90s hit ‘Shackles’! The overall theme of this joint concert was ‘ Music Celebrating Music’ , and so we presented the audience with equally joyous pieces by the likes of Monteverdi, Purcell, Byrd, Palestrina and Part. There truly was something for everyone in this concert, and we got some great feedback from the audience afterwards.
Just as the day began with a drink, so it ended with another... of the alcoholic variety! We’d had a fantastic day, and couldn't wait to discuss plans for our next venture, echo presents: EXILE . Bring on September!
Written by Lindsey James