At Voices of Birralee, our choristers are often involved in events which require a big day of rehearsing. One of these days can include lots of singing, or lots of waiting for your moment. Either way, it’s important to know how to best be prepared for both, with the ultimate goals being to keep happy and healthy, while delivering a wonderful performance.
Particularly in the lead up to Sunday’s Poppies & Poems, we thought we’d share some tips on how to get the most out of the day.
Make sure you rest up in the lead up to the day with lots of sleep, hydration and healthy food.
Birralee Blokes and Resonance of Birralee conductor Paul Holley OAM says drinking plenty of water is essential to a healthy voice.
“Continue to hydrate and save your voice, using it only when you have to. I’ve heard pineapple juice is good, but there’s no scientific evidence, so get to know what works best for your vocals – water is generally the safest,” Paul says.
Make a conscious effort to not speak too much during the day, including shouting to your friends on your breaks. Along with water, eat healthy snacks to keep up energy.
PREPARATION IS KEY
Being prepared with your music is important so you feel less pressure on the day. This includes ensuring you have the lyrics and music down prior to setting foot in the performance venue.
“If you do the work, thoroughly learning the music before the day, then you can focus on the new elements, like the venue and effects, and enjoy those experiences,” Paul says.
If you do all you can in your pre-preparation and still feel nervous, Birralee Recycled conductor Peter Ingram says you can use your downtime on the day wisely.
“Find a fellow chorister to run through your lyrics and music. You’ll be helping each other,” Peter says.
GIVE YOUR BEST AT SOUNDCHECK
A day like Poppies & Poems is full of activity, with one of the main goals prior to the concert being to soundcheck each choir to ensure their beautiful sound is amplified in the best way.
There is always a very well-thought out soundcheck schedule so it is important that choristers listen to their conductors, runners and managers, and be ready to move quickly and safely on and off the stage, when needed.
Once choristers are on the stage and ready for their soundcheck, Paul says focus is important.
“We urge our choristers to be as focused as possible. They’re usually only needed for a short period of time, so if they give their best and focus, it will allow for an efficient soundcheck, benefitting everyone,” Paul says.
Concert Hall QPAC can be an intimidating space for choristers both young and old and Birralee Piccolos conductor Katherine Ruhle says it’s important to remember to have fun.”It’s okay to feel nervous as it means you have something special to give,” she said.
“Remember, you have a wonderful support system around you! Your friends in your choir, your friends and family in the audience, along with the Birralee team.
“Nerves can sometimes make you feel a bit funny in the tummy which is totally normal. But if you don’t feel well, please chat with someone.”
No matter the choristers’ age, there are many ways they can contribute to the smooth running of the day.
“Look to help out wherever you can on the day – that might be practical help with moving gear or people – or just being silent as you move around and listening carefully to instructions rather than causing disruption. Look out for your mates as well – it’s a big day for everyone,” Paul says.
Katherine says when facing a big day it’s important to remember that we are all a part of a team and everyone is important.
“Remember why we’re doing this – to connect with the audience, to tell a story and in the case of Poppies & Poems, to remember the war,” she says.
“Enjoy the occasion – look at the amazing venue and take it all in. It’s pretty amazing!”
All the best to everyone for your upcoming choral performances!