‘ARS longa, vita brevis’ or ‘Art is long, life is short’. This was the Beethoven round we sang during the very first session of Rallentandos.

I don’t know if it was the lovely, open people who came that made this occasion feel special? In a small group there were people with wildly varying choral experience. The support these singers gave each other was beautiful to witness.

The acoustic is lovely in St Peter’s Church, so it was flattering and supportive for this group. We worked on technique, on listening, on timing and rhythm, and made a great start on a few potential pieces. I think my favourite was ‘Oh when the Saints go marching in’ although we haven’t even started on the well-known tune yet. Or maybe ‘Hill and gully rider’ with the rhythmic ostinato which gives it an almost Zen-like quality. The singers readily learned such a wide variety of songs and with each song practiced a different choral skill, (including breathing and support, rhythmic awareness, pitching accurately, harmonisation and maintaining tuning.

I already have a request for a Gregorian chant, so people are beginning to take ownership of the group. Everyone is enthusiastic to come back next week, and sing again. I have new sign ups from people who have heard feedback about the session and plan to join. It’s the beginning of a choral journey and and I looking forward to the ride. The choir comprises the singers. We hope that we will gain enough singers to be able to divide into parts with the support of each other, and that we have even more choral fun into the future. I feel grateful to the singers who turned up to the first rehearsal as well as to those who join in the future for allowing me to take this musical journey.

Art is long, love is short.

Don’t miss this opportunity to commune with others and to bring the art of singing to life at Rallentandos.