|Type of post:||Choir news item|
|Posted By:||Simon Broad|
|Date Posted:||Sun, 7 Jun 2020|
By Tim Ashton
Telfordaires Barbershop Chorus
The Telfordaires missed out on the annual convention this year as the Harrogate venue was commandeered as a Nightingale Hospital. So we asked long-standing Telfordaire Tim Ashton to recall his first experience of Convention – in 2008 in Cheltenham
“The Friday allowed for a little relaxation, a couple of beers and general humour. Not too much beer though, I don’t sing Bass! My colleagues would not have noticed at this point that I was getting somewhat nervous, whilst also being very excited about the day ahead. They would have seen the usual guy with a mix of silliness and general tomfoolery. But underneath, the emotions were a jangle. I found myself running through the songs in my head, checking I knew them and that I wasn’t going to let anyone down. For two years, I had been building up to this. I’m sure the seasoned campaigners were now in a comfort zone, me, I was in new territory.
Saturday morning arrived and an early rehearsal. My god! What are these warm up exercises? Are they trying to kill me? Let’s just sing the songs….oh, hang on, I feel looser and lively. I don’t do lively in the mornings. Is my throat feeling sore? I’m not going to be able to sing! No, a drink of water has cleared it.
At this point my nerves are beginning to fray. I am not worried about the audience, but our song is so special and I don’t want to let the Chorus down by messing it up. A couple of people have asked me how I am feeling. I lie and put up the shell that says “fine no problem, what’s all the fuss about?”.
As we are ready early, and run through the first song. Other choruses also changing stop and listen, I could tell they were impressed. Now I’m feeling good. Seeing the positive reaction of my peers has given me a confidence boost, I know this is a good package and we can sing it. I can sing it!
We move through to the warm up room, a couple of more rehearsals and a practice getting on and off stage. I’m ready! Let me at them! Now the warmth and camaraderie that typifies our chorus shows again, as one member comes to me, realising it’s my first time, and takes me through what going on stage is likely to feel like. Top man! We move to the holding area and I focus on the story of the song we are about to sing. A great place for my mind to escape to, keeping away any anxiety. I just want to sing.
The Telfordaires at the Cheltenham Convention 2008
On to the stage, the marks are still being collected from the previous chorus. Couldn’t they do that before we came out! I want to get on and sing! They’re ready for us, there’s the pitch…sing! Where have all those nerves gone? It feels so natural; it’s supposed to be tough at Convention. This feels like a place I belong. Or is this a function of all the preparation? Is this why we take such pains running through every detail?
Off stage now, five minutes have passed in a flicker of an eye. I just want to do it again. I know we’ve done well, The MD’s face says so. Lots of mutual congratulations, damn I feel good! I’m sure if we could sell this Barbershop as a white powder we’d make a fortune on the streets. This buzz must be illegal.”
Tim's hard work paid off, as in 2008, the Telfordaires, under the direction of MD Dale Kynaston, were placed 6th in the Small Chorus Trophy. And Tim is now a stalwart of the Lead Section.