For our second summer ‘Sunday in the Park’ concert with the BSO the “sun was shining in the sky” and there wasn’t “a cloud in sight.” After a month of higher than average rainfall in the south we sang, “it’s stopped raining” and, “Hey there Mr Blue, we’re so pleased to be with you.” And the crowds, not clouds, gathered to make the most of the “Something for Everyone” programme.
By the middle of the afternoon many wished they had brought their Ambre Solaire and in the lush green glade of Meyrick Park it was hard to “forget the sun in his jealous sky” while we were treated to displays of Modern Dance, Drumming and The Rochdale Coconut Dance – showcasing the BSO’s Participate Programme. Folk band Threepenny Bit got audience members from nought to ninety “dancin’ out there”, joining hands in hop-steps, jigs and reels, while further back in the crowd there were bubbles and ball games, handstands and hula-hoops.
Before lunch, during our rehearsal with the orchestra, I noticed a mother and child whirling in happy circles to our chorus of “I ain’t gonna study war no more” and thought, “how wonderful life is”. Even the bizarre sight of a tractor taking a trailer full of Portaloos across the back of the field didn’t lessen the loveliness of that special moment. (I was watching Pete too – honest!)
The fine weather held and for our Festival Finale there was no “wicked and wild wind”, no “low flying cloud” and no “cloud to rain on (our) parade.” As twilight fell we walked, two by two, past the audience and across the Park to the stage. I looked back to see that the back of the procession was only just starting to move – a black and red line of infinite Inspiration!
For our seventeen numbers it felt like we were “floating in”, and “singing through the sunshine” and choir and stunning soloists six-inch nailed it! The latest meeting of the mutual admiration society of Inspiration Southampton and the BSO produced some more amazing highlights. From the second row of the Basses I may be biased in picking the Bee Gees medley and Viva la Vida as my favourites but friends in the audience all went for that epic “special island” from South Pacific. Evidently the Bali hard work paid off and we “sounded mystical” and no longer “lost in the middle of a foggy sea”!
The sumptuous orchestrations – thanks to Gary, Pete and Teresa? for those – were once again performed with spine-tingling brilliance by the BSO. The quantum leap from just keyboard rehearsals to full orchestra never fails to amaze and overwhelm me and is such a big part of why we love to sing with Inspiration.
Have a great rest of summer and see you all in September.
Alan Matlock, Inspiration Southampton Choir member, 14 August 2017.