Synergy represented by:

Micaela Haslam & Caroline Jaya-Ratnam

“Just over a week after our triumph in Amsterdam, it was nice to have a bit of personnel continuity for these two concerts.  Caroline and I met again – this time for her whistling debut!  Is there no end to this girl’s talents?

Drumming is impossible to rehearse alone.  It only starts to make sense when you hear all the mallet instruments live, throwing up the various combinations of notes that translate into our vocal patterns.  The other thing that comes to light only in situ is the level of foldback required.  It has to be pretty high otherwise we wouldn’t hear ourselves over the (up to) 9 people playing 3 marimbas at any one time, not to mention the final section when everyone is playing every instrument on stage!  As I know the piece very well, and Roland (the piccolo player) knows Section 3 – glockenspiels, piccolo & whistling – so well, I thought it would be easy for Caroline to slot into the proceedings.  What we hadn’t realised was that Roland was NA for these gigs, and his stand-in (Sandi Skipper) was also new to the piece.  Fortunately, Colin had allowed plenty of time at the soundcheck so everyone had time to make sure they knew what they were doing – more or less!

Joby, Richard & Sam in rehearsal

It’s always a thrill to hear the drummers rehearsing.  Colin, Sam, Joby and Richard have played the piece together a few times now, so they know it well.  It’s wonderful to see (and hear) the individual personalities coming to the fore as their confidence increases each time they play Part 1 in concert.  Quite honestly, I can’t imagine a better version of this piece now.  The Colin Currie Group plays with a wonderful vitality, which is still completely grounded and not flashy.  I hate watching performances of Drumming when you feel as though the players are just showing off.  Actually, I dislike performances of most things when that’s the case!

It was great to have Clark Rundell in the audience.  He was in town to conduct the premiere of James MacMillan’s new opera, so came along to support us, which was lovely.  He’s an old friend now, after our Asko collaboration last month.  Caroline and I thoroughly enjoyed a beer or two with him after the first show.  We even managed to sit outside, as it was so warm.  During the day, we’d had a coffee/chocolate/cake fair outside the artists’ entrance where I’d enjoyed “the best cappuccino in the world”.  Perfect day really!

As Synergy Vocals had done in Amsterdam, Colin’s agents took this opportunity to take some group shots for future publicity.  It’s a nightmare taking photos of this many people all together.  There’s always someone with their eyes shut, or pulling a daft face.  Can’t wait to see the pictures.  I think I know who the culprits might be…

Both shows were delightfully well-attended and mostly well-reviewed.  I took issue with one reviewer who said that the singers were a bit timid.  I don’t mind getting duff reviews if we’ve done a duff show (well actually I would mind, because I’d be gutted if we ever did a duff show!), but I wasn’t prepared to take the flack because we couldn’t be heard.  The sound in the front-of-house speakers (what the audience hears) is entirely down to the sound engineer.  We can’t begin to compete acoustically with the amount of noise on stage, so the volume out front is out of our hands.  I think our engineer had gone for the subtle approach, which is one way of doing of it.  I’m happy to report that, after an exchange of emails, the online reviewer revised his copy, which was good of him.  Next time, let’s jack it up – we’ll show ‘em!”


Leave a Reply