So many songs and so little time! And yet, timing is everything when it comes to concert or gig preparation – much like cooking a Sunday dinner.

Careful selection of songs is essential – you want a variety of colour and texture. For example, imagine a Sunday dinner with peas, broccoli and green beans as the vegetables. Where are the colourful carrots? Where are the roast potatoes? A balance of loveliness is key. I try for a mixture of fast and slow songs (depending on the occasion and the event) as well as old songs, new songs, classic Liberty Bangers and a few risky new things. The set list needs to look and sound as appealing as a balanced dinner. You’ll always get someone who doesn’t like parsnips or one particular song, but the more balance you have, the better the chance of over all enjoyment!

Of course, once everything is selected, I then need to make sure it’s all cooked at the same time. That’s it all equally ready/hot. No good having the mashed potatoes piping hot half an hour before the chicken is ready then trying to serve up. A warming drawer is an excellent option but you can’t fit everything in it can you?

Preparing the songs is much like preparing the dinner. I need to know roughly how many people I’ve got singing, where they all stand and then I can prep the songs. This involves note bashing, intonation, dynamics and then much nearer the concert date, volume balancing amongst the actual singers. Choir directors the world over will tell you that they would love it if everyone came to rehearsals and then everyone sang at concerts, but the reality is this is unrealistic so adjustments have to be made. Much like two extra people turning up for dinner unexpectedly!

So, the songs need appropriate preparation so that they are ready and then need to simmer gently to keep them at the right temperature. I might have a classic songs from years ago that we sing a couple of times pre-gig as well as brand new material that needs more attention. I might have an old song which I think is ready but then I check it’s temperature it appears to have gone right off the boil. This may need extensive re-heating….. or….. just shove it in the bin.

Inviting people over for dinner or getting them along to a gig (whether this be ticket sales or social media advertising) is important. Nobody wants to cook a beautiful meal and nobody turns up to eat it. Our singers have worked hard to perfect their sound and to be the best they can be and they want to share it. I want to share it. So a good, appreciative audience is something we work hard for.

And once we have finished our singing (or eating the dinner) a rousing thank you  in the form of applause is all we need to know that we nailed it. That our hungry audience have been fed well with the sounds from our souls and they will surely come for dinner again.

**Reader, I have never cooked Sunday dinner…….but I do now how to prepare a bloody good gig!