Saturday, July 15, 2006

LGMC at St David's Hall, Cardiff

St. David’s Hall in Cardiff is actually a really nice auditorium to sing in; it’s reasonably modern and it has a lovely acoustic that gives you some feedback and doesn’t leave you feeling like you’re singing out to an empty void. The backstage areas are well supplied with vending machines and water fountains to get you through all the hanging around, although they are a bit of a rabbit-warren.

We had a three o’clock call to stage for a two-hour tech-run and sound check which all went reasonably smoothly and then were free until the pre-show warm-up.

Brett and I grabbed a bite to eat at a nearby coffee shop, then had a bit of a wander through Cardiff’s early evening before meeting up with Jim to sort him out with his ticket for the show. Then it was backstage once again to get changed and warm up.

Charlie gave us a lovely peaceful warm-up that had me feeling really focussed as we went on stage to open the show with Va Pensiero; Verdi’s Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves.

The audience was not large (I think less than two hundred) but were sufficiently spread out through the stalls that it didn’t look like the place was empty. They were very enthusiastic though as we worked our way through the more classical side of our repertoire. Strangely there was pretty much no talk between songs; usually we at least introduce each piece, but tonight we just went straight from one number to the next. I think this might have had something to do with the hard deadline of when the coaches needed to leave to get back to London, but it made for a very short first half.

The second half was the more camp section of the show. For me though, the second half sounded like our heart wasn’t in it. It may have just been where I was standing (back row) meant I didn’t really get to hear anyone else singing, but to me it felt like we didn’t have enough energy to really sparkle.

We also had a local choir guesting in the second half; Only Men Aloud did four excellent numbers. After remarking earlier to someone that ‘Only Men Aloud’ sounded an even less inclusive name than our own, I subsequently heard that they weren’t even a gay choir. I wonder if that was just rumour-mongering, because at least one of the group of ten had his wife with him in the bar afterwards, or whether somebody at our end didn’t do their homework before offering to do a concert with them…

Either way, the audience seemed happy enough and gave us a standing ovation at the end. They went into positive raptures when we did the encore number; Teddy Bear’s Picnic!

After we had changed we all trooped down to the bar. Jim had gone back to the hotel (although he later said that he thought the show was fantastic, which I suspect is high praise from him.) We had a couple of drinks and did the usual mingling; I exchanged a few friendly insults with Marc D and got a tip on how to go to work with a hangover from Jerry H (apparently you just find the biggest document you can lay your hands on and sit in front of it all morning, occasionally turning pages or highlighting a line of text.) That topic came up because the Chorus’ big birthday party is on a Thursday night and I intend to get thoroughly trashed, but most of us have work in the morning…

The coaches left for London at 10:15 and those with local accommodation (a higher number than I’d expected) wandered to the nearest gay bar to continue the evening. We started at Kings Cross, but once we’d discovered that we couldn’t drink outside after 10:30 it wasn’t so attractive. Brett and I had one drink inside because he had already ordered, but it was smoky, crowded and noisy so we left as soon as we’d finished drinking.

The second place we tried was the Golden Cross (not sure why they have this ‘cross’ thing going with the name of gay pubs…?) which was much more pleasant; they had a saloon bar which was virtually smoke-free and quiet enough that you could hold a conversation easily. On the other side of the bar was the clubby section; crowded, dark and with a little stage at the far end, around the corner was another lounge bar section and out back was a terrace area where we eventually ended up with the familiar crowd of Chorus boys.

We were a bit of a hit with several of the locals; as I went through the club area, I had a shirtless teenager gyrating in my face for a while and later, on the terrace, one of Cardiff chaps was very keen to help us find our way around the gay scene in Cardiff which was nice, if a little bit ahead of himself. (I think he actually wanted to get inside John W’s trousers.) The other chap who hung around with us wasn’t quite so forward and later on he and I had an interesting chat about gay men, religion and singing sacred music. I spent some time teasing Nick B about the accuracy of his committee minutes (I discovered on Thursday that he’s been spelling Brett’s name wrong all year long!) and gave the lovely Tony C some hugs and kisses to make up for not really having spoken to him in ages.

It was a great night – reminded me how much I enjoy actually socialising with the guys, as opposed to just seeing them at rehearsals. (It also reminded me that we have several people we really must invite over for dinner!)

Taxi home and in bed by 1:30.


czechOUT said...

Hey fella

I've updated my blog with Cardiff Castle pics and my Dr Who tour pics too! Did you go to the Dr Who exhibition in the Red Dragon Centre?

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