Bristol’s Harbour Festival is one of the many reasons I love this city so it was great for some of our members from both the North and South Bristol Community Choirs to come together and perform this year on Saturday 18th July, opening up the day’s proceedings on the main stage in Queen Square.
The previous day I had been on the local Bristol Radio Station, Ujima 98fm with North Bristol choir member – Ian Shedden – to talk about our upcoming performance at the festival. I wasn’t feeling too worried about stepping out in front of thousands of people in Queen Square to direct the choir from the piano the next day, but I must say going on live radio to do an interview was a little nerve-wracking at first! The interview went well though and got me excited about the performance the following day, particularly given the good weather forecast!
There weren’t too many people in Queen Square as we were setting up on Saturday morning for our sound check but an hour later after the choir had hit the stage, the crowd had grown significantly. We kicked off with ‘Sing’ – a rather appropriate way to start! – before launching into Nina Simone’s ‘I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free’. I thought this was a good time to have a look behind me and I was pleased to see a lot more people had gathered to listen, most of whom seemed to be enjoying themselves in the good weather we had been blessed with! After the energetic start, we changed the mood of the set with some Emeli Sande and Sam Smith’s ‘Stay With Me’. There was time for some fun with ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ before we launched into our four song finale of ‘Something Inside So Strong’, Mika’s ‘Happy Ending’, ‘Rather Be’ by Clean Bandit before closing with ‘Dancing Queen’ complete with a few dance moves for good measure!
The audience which seemed even bigger by the end reacted really positively to the choir and there was lots of great feedback from audience members afterwards, both from friends and family but also from plenty of people who had never seen the choir before. All in all a good day’s work and it meant I could go off and enjoy the festival for the rest of the day and not feel too guilty about having a burger and a large bag off deep-fried donuts as I felt like I had earned it! A great way to round off OTMB’s year and hopefully we’ll be back at the festival again in the future…
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