How did it all end up like this? La Nova Singers, making a spectacle of themselves once again, flinging their skirts around and doing the can-can while Christchurch and District Band play ‘The Stripper‘…?!
Well, dear readers, let me take you back; back to a sunny Saturday in late June. It is a picture-perfect morning, and very appropriate for La Nova Singers’ photoshoot with Nichola of Lemonade Pictures (note: most of the pictures in this blog post are behind-the-scenes shots taken by Nigel, our Official Photographer and Michelle’s husband. We’re waiting for the right moment to show you the fantastic pictures Nichola took – they’re worth the wait!).
The shoot begins well. All is serene and elegant in Christchurch Priory, as the singers pose up stairs, down side aisles and in front of stained glass windows. In the background, a tea trolley waits for an opportunity to get past. Unlike the previous photoshoot, nobody tells us off for scaring away the tourists…
Here is Liz, above left – as you can see, she is delighted to finally be appearing in some of our publicity photographs!
There then follows a bit of a malarkey getting heavily pregnant Mel up and down a very steep and possibly Medieval stone staircase. We all have to sit in some decidedly dodgy grass wearing our black frocks. Fortunately nobody falls down the hill and shatters their jewellery, although we have public liability insurance just in case.
After a brief interval of pretending to be in a Westlife music video, all windswept and staring wistfully into the middle-distance, we adjourn to The Regent Centre – where a dressing room has very kindly been provided for the all-important costume change! Then out we go for more photos…
Anne T and Rachel stand by some trees.
We all stand by some trees. Here we are, here are the trees.
This is getting a bit ridiculous.
Okay, so once we’d exhausted the photographic possibilities offered by trees, we decided to go down to Christchurch Quay and perhaps have our photos taken on the bandstand. This is something we’d been hoping to do at our previous photoshoot, but it had not happened because there was a band on the bandstand. But today, as it happened…
(video by Eric Montague of Netfora)
… The Christchurch and District Concert Band were opening celebrations for the 75th anniversary of the bandstand! As you can hear from the above video, they’re really rather brilliant (and you can also check them out on Facebook). Some very unwise person suggested to Michelle that we should go over and dance. Something to remember: you should never make a suggestion to Michelle Nova unless you’re prepared for her to take you seriously…!
Not content to have their performance hi-jacked by a group of giggly women in bridesmaid dresses, the band countered by giving an unrehearsed performance of ‘The Stripper‘ – an instrumental piece first recorded by David Rose And His Orchestra, which “evokes the feel of music used to accompany striptease artists”. Readers may, however, be more familiar with it in this guise…
In a world where the flashmob performance has become a knee-jerk marketing response, orchestrated by companies promoting any old product or service, it was refreshing to do something genuinely spontaneous and more than a bit silly! We even had a short piece published about it in the Bournemouth Echo.
At the end of the day, as well as having slightly embarrassed ourselves, we ended up with some really beautiful photographs and had an enormous amount of fun! So our thanks go to Nichola Rogers and her assistant Kristy (be sure to check out the Lemonade Pictures website for some gorgeous wedding photography!), and to the Christchurch and District Band and their conductor Steff Emmett (who you can see at The Regent Centre in November, at the Christchurch Festival of Remembrance) for being so tolerant of our dancing!
Something big hit the local singing scene this May – something big, bright and very uplifting!
The Mega Choir was a huge collaborative choral event, orchestrated by the From Knowhere team in aid of mental health charity Mind. The premise was that you often cannot tell, when you first meet someone, whether they are a singer.*
Likewise, you cannot tell from looking at a person whether they have a mental health issue. The positive effect that choral singing can have on a person’s thinking and emotional state has been seen time and again; so what better way to raise awareness and funds for Mind, than to put together a massive choir?! Here’s the view from the stage:
And thus it was that five fantastic forces of vocal virtuosity (that’s choirs, to the layperson) came together at Bournemouth’s O2 Academy to perform for a large and very appreciative audience. La Nova Singers performed alongside the Funky Little Choir; World Music Choir; Happy Heart Singers and the Chicken Soup Choir. The venue was rather impressive, and used to be called The Opera House: La Nova Singers approve.
The event was conducted by the very charismatic Mark De Lisser. Mr De Lisser has previously starred in BBC talent show ‘Last Choir Standing’ with his contemporary music choir, the ACM Gospel Choir and is a vocal coach on ‘The Voice’. But this time he had met his match…
It was a long day – all the singers arrived at the venue for 11.30 am, and we were there until about 10.30 when the concert finished. The From Knowhere team very kindly provided teas, coffee and a self-serve sandwich production line. There was also an additional brilliant way to raise funds for Mind, and that was through the power of cake. It was worth participating in this event just for the deliciously chocolatey Rocky Road, available in exchange for a modest charitable donation. My bit had about half a packet of Maltesers in it.
Here are La Nova Singers backstage, waiting to go on as part of the Mega Choir: for the first, and quite possibly last, time you will hear dramatic soprano Michelle Nova perform songs by Cheryl Cole and Katy Perry in public!!
As well as ‘Promise This’ and ‘Firework’, the massed choir performed the classic ‘Stand By Me’ in Mark De Lisser’s distinctive arrangement; and the show closed with a feel-good sing-a-long to ‘Higher and Higher’. La Nova Singers also opened the second half with a performance of our more usual repertoire, which went down really well with the audience.
All things considered, this was a really fantastic event and we were proud to be a part of it.
* unless it’s Michelle Nova, who radiates soprano-ness. People have been known to back away from her in supermarket checkout queues, fearing that a dramatic aria is imminent.
Follow the journey of La Nova Singers as they prepare to perform at historic Highcliffe Castle in December 2012.
Video filmed and edited by Sarita ‘Frit’ Tam : vimeo.com/saritafrit
You can read more about the making of the video on Frit’s blog.
This is our first professionally filmed and produced video and we think it’s rather brilliant! Even if it does feature some questionable dance moves. Do you like it? Let us know in the Comments!
An early concert tonight; 3pm in Dorchester, at a place we’ve performed in once before. This time – some three years later – the Church of St Mary the Virgin has some new staging with lovely plush carpeting.
Here we are in attack formation. Ready to attack… with song!
And here’s the view from the stage. This church has really lovely acoustics – in fact, quite a lot of our 2010 CD ‘DEBUT’ was recorded there. It is also replete with lovely Christmas tree, lights a-twinkle. I should mention that this concert featured that other festive favourite, the mince pie. Icing sugar didst fall like the snow. I may or may not have performed with crumbs on my chin…
These are just a few pics I managed to take during our rehearsal – hence the lack of posh frocks and serious bling. We may or may not have some video footage to post in future (and yes, I know I’m always promising video footage, I promise you it does exist! There are just a few technical issues that need to be worked out, i.e. getting the footage off the DVD and on to the blog)!
Meanwhile, you can read about the very good cause behind this concert in an article from the Dorset Echo. Holly Parkin, a health professional and mother of two from Dorchester, will be running the London Marathon in 2013 in aid of the British Heart Foundation and in memory of her cousin Jake. She organised this event and we wish her all the best with her fundraising!
Last Saturday. Picture the scene: it was raining, but at least this time we all knew where the car park was, as our motley group of singers converged on Bournemouth & Poole College’s North Road Music Centre for a second recording session. Already feeling like old pros as we greeted the canvas print of Jimi Hendrix in the foyer, we were ready to rock.
When I say ‘rock’ I don’t actually mean rock. Unless you count the Rocking Carol, which does feature the lyrics “and we will rock you, rock you, rock you, rock yoooou!”
With a group of perfectionists like La Nova Singers, recording was never going to be a very quick process – especially in this session, where an epidemic of chesty coughs within the group meant that we had to re-record a couple of tracks due to sneaky throat-clearing noises being picked up by the microphones (I admit nothing)! However, we did manage to get through enough songs to make up a full CD – so ‘The Magic of Christmas – THE ALBUM’ should be available in time for our Highcliffe Castle concert on 12 December!
We’ll have more details soon of the festive choral classics included on the album, as well as a sneak preview of the cover artwork by our own Anne T (as inspired by Garth Brooks…). This CD will feature the distinctive Bel Canto tones of LNS, the fabulous Celia Cologne on piano, a bit of flute, a few bells and a lot of twinkly Christmastime magic!
I know this is a cliché, but we hope you’ll enjoy listening to it as much as we enjoyed recording it. Here is photographic evidence our enjoyment (click for bigger version):
P.S. One of these pictures was ‘throw your arms up in the air!’ and the other was meant to be ‘jazz hands!!’ but really, they both kind of look the same. This is probably why we don’t put a lot of choreography in our concerts…!