Summer Course 2014
I don't believe there is an existing word which could quite represent the feelings of a YYC course. You could maybe go with emotional roller coaster, family or respect; although all are valid they don't quite feel to fully capture the pure bliss and excitement experienced by every choir member and associate throughout the week.
We all attend the residential courses first and for-most because of our mutual love of singing, a passion which was most certainly for filled this past week. An amazing repertoire helped to maintain a conscious choir in rehearsals despite a severe lack of sleep, especially among the 12 o'clockers who were all so desperate to spend every minute available laughing with friends until the team of Offords came to march us to our rooms.
An amazing yet difficult arrangement of Queen's Somebody to Love (not Justin Bieber's Somebody to Love which was so helpfully pointed out to us in rehearsals) was a highlight of the week for the senior girls. Sarah Moriarty bravely took on the top D whilst Katie Wilson sang the equally beautiful closing line.
As always our accompanist Paul Feehan brought possibly 2 of the most enjoyable pieces of the course, the wonderful arrangement of Drunken Sailor for senior choir, complete with comedy snoring and the brilliantly choreographed 'Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree' for Paul's group.
As usual we were given the opportunity to further our aural and sight reading skills in morning warm up sessions, although this course John began to become slightly suspicious that some people attending his grade 4-5 group should have in fact been in Alison's grade 6-8 group. Naturally we took it upon ourselves to explain the well known rule that you attend the group of your lowest current grade.
This course it was made compulsory to become familiar with the well loved kodaly hand signs as they were incorporated into 'Do Re Mi' from the Rogers and Hammerstein Medley.
Anyone who knows YYC will tell you that despite being a choir we set numerous alarms and drag ourselves out of bed at a time that I would describe as the middle of the night, for a lot more than singing! The daily social events are most definitely a high point of the week.
Monday night featured choir members charging from one side of a circle of chairs to the other in a bid not to be the one left standing in the center, thankfully this course with minimal injuries (I put this down to Jake Adams sitting out of the game to film it, he gets very competitive!) It is a chance for us to break the ice with new members and discover any common areas of interest. Some of my favourite facts of this course include: 2 members of the choir claiming to have been attacked by a shark (I can confirm that 1 was a false claim; Rhian Cairns, we all know your scar is from falling out of a window) and apparently half of the choir have dated Henry Smith, with many of the senior boys admitting to a relationship with him. I must say the cutest couple of this course was, without a doubt, Henry and Hal.
Tuesday night meant it was time for our traditional disco, or as John likes to call it 'the night when everyone belts out their favourite cheesy songs resulting in a diminished choir the next day due to voice loss and the rehearsal room floor becoming scattered with mugs of honey and lemon'. This course the mentor team decided to add a twist to the regular disco, and so it became the Masquerade Ball. Many people did not hold back on the mask front! Christopher Hemsley and Anna Marriott both won prizes for their home made masks and Theo Lordan received a mini trophy for his extravagant full faced mask. Everyone gave their all on the dance floor but nobody moved quite like Annabel Collier, Hannah Berry and Harriet Millichamp, their dancing was certainly something... let's call it unique?
With Wednesday came the newly established newspaper challenge. I'm not sure the Phoenix Center has ever been so tension filled as when Anne announced only 5 minutes were remaining. Each mentor group had been tasked with creating a costume for a character from a film using ONLY newspaper and sellotape (Emily Peace phone cases aren't acceptable!). There were 10 magnificent creations, I'm sure many members have a good future ahead of them in an art or construction based career. I must say the imaginations of some people astound me. The cat walk of the Harry Potter costume was a piece of art in itself, with a full quidditch match scene acted out down the runway. After much deliberation from our esteemed judges John and Alison, The Little Mermaid (complete with trident, crown, crab and 2 fish) was announced as the winner along with the rest of Team Carr; in my opinion the worthy winners (I'm not biased at all). A few hours later people gathered for the quiz, the time in the week for 2 people in particular to reveal their inner blonde. Firstly Katie Wilson who thought the definition of carpe diem was time flies and secondly Katherine Offord who, in a bid to gain extra points for her team, managed to reveal the answer to everyone else. The conversation went something like: Q-How many Von Trapp children were there? Kathrine-Do you get an extra 7 points if you can name all 7? *queue laughter and rapid answer scribbling from other teams*.
Thursday evening meant it was time to laugh cry and admire, of course it was talent night. This course presented with a group of budding young choreographers, a pair of emotional girls (myself and Rhian) who nearly managed to make it through 'For Good' without crying and a hilarious YYC themed song cycle from Emma Offord and Will Campbell-Burrell. This was followed by an interesting performance of the well known pantomime Frozen. Bertie Yates once again proved the YYC panto would not be complete without him as he took it upon himself to rewrite the character Elsa in the style of the popular youtuber Miranda sings. Molly, Lottie, Anna and Rachel were perfect as the young Anna and Elsa in 'Do you Wanna Build a Snowman?' providing the cute factor which was so desperately needed to balance out the traumatic sight of Jake Adams and Hal Laverty locked in a tight embrace!
With Friday came a first for the choir, social events were forgotten for the evening as we headed to the Joseph Rowntree Theatre for the first concert. Although on the coaches there may have been the odd panicked face trying to learn their liberties from their destinies in Hymn to Freedom once we arrived at the theatre a calm ambiance took over, well for the girls at least. For in our dressing rooms there were several mirrors! We have become so used to having to crowd around the one mirror in the bathroom at Dewsbury Town Hall it felt like such a luxury to not have to fight for space to do our hair and other pre-concert preparation! I'm not sure if the same relief was felt by the boys? The concert was a success and we were all given a much needed lie in on Saturday before our final concert which was filled with tears and John trying his best to tell a joke and make it funny.
We normally share the facilities at Queen Ethelburgas with another group of people, this course it happened to be the world's first Indian Orthodox Christian camp! Through the week we both sang for each other (I liked to think of it as a hymn off!)
The week was one I will remember for a long time to come and that is down to the people I spent it with. Every member of YYC feels like family, even if they have only been for 1 course. I don't think I will ever meet a group of people so accepting, respectful and genuinely interesting. To anyone who is reading and has not been a part of YYC, I can't tell you how much this choir means to everyone in it, people plan their years around the courses. There really isn't anywhere else I would rather be than at a YYC course.