Top Ten Tuesday: Things I’ve performed in front of a crowd
What? Where’d this idea come from? Oh well… here goes anyway… I guess it’s worth stating that it’s the top ten from my perspective – if any audiences thought differently they’re more than welcome to keep it to themselves. So, in no particular order, but definitely the top 10:
Don’t Worry, Be Happy – Flinders University Choral Society, “Clunk” concert
The Clunk concert was a bit of a collection of amusing material – in as far as choral stuff ever is – which was put together as a Christmas concert. Every single piece was great fun to sing: we processed in to an a capella rendition of the Doctor Who theme. But for me the highlight was singing Bobby McFerrin’s most famous piece, Don’t Worry Be Happy. It was a nice funky bassline, and I liked the inane sustained “t’coo-coo, t’coo-coo”s that the tenors had to sing for a change rather than them always getting the good bits. I wasn’t so sure about the conductor solo’ing the spoken part – clad as he was in tails and boxer shorts (for added hilarity). Top sing though, and lots of fun.
Arnold Schoenberg’s “Gurrelieder” – Perth International Arts Festival, Gurrelieder Festival Chorus, 2003
Fortuitously between-jobs at the time, an APB went out for male singers to participate in this project, with the organisers paying airfares for people to attend. The choir called for 400 voices; I think we got about 190, but it was an almighty racket – the first time in the southern hemisphere Gurrelieder had been performed, and conducted by Maestro Diego Masson. It was a splendidly bombastic German bit of noise (prior to Schoenberg’s movement into atonalism), but featured some stirring choral sections. During the performance I was seated in the dead centre of the choir balcony, and somehow managed to drift off to sleep during the first half. Wide awake during our bits though. Truly staggering stuff, and judging by the extended ovation, the crowd dug it a bit too.
Don’t Tell The Abbott – Adelaide Gang Show, 2003
A profoundly silly song for the lads in the cast, and one which I’d seen my heroes perform years earlier. The rush here was mainly from having the chance to do it, rather than what anyone thought, though it does have a nice build to the silliness, so by the end of the song we had the audience laughing raucously every night. Plus we got to dress up in monk outfits.
Everybody Needs Somebody – Jamboree Opening Ceremony, 2003
Performing in front of around 12,000 people is always going to be a buzz – in this case we tried not to think too much about the fact it was more than likely a hostage audience – and what better way to go about it than don the jackets, ties, hats, and shades of Jake & Elwood. Dylan was Elwood, and man did we give it plenty. Thanks to some shocking under-rehearsal and a lack of chemistry between us and the orchestra, there was an “extended bridge section” where Dylan and I were looking nervously at each other while the band kept playing the 8 bar refrain, and as it turned out were waiting for one of us to belt out “Sometimes I feeeeeeeel…..” as their signal to carry on. But we just kept dancing around for a bit. Knackering.
Seeing as I just found the photo and it’s sort of relevant, we also performed the Monty Python sketch, sometimes entitled “Comedy for Beginners”. You’ve never felt the sinking feeling of standing in front of 12,000 adolescents and speaking from a lectern, and they suddenly think that you’re giving a speech. Thankfully, Amy strutted out in her lab coat at the correct moment, and they realised that it was comedy. And then started shouting “show us your tits”. Yes, these kids were about 11 or 12.
There’s A Light At The End Of The Tunnel – Comedy Capers, 1996
My first ever solo lead – complete with awesome light-up costumey bits. Good fun song, right in the guts of my vocal register, and there were dancing girls. It was a song from Starlight Express, but you can’t have everything.
The Roadkill Song, and The Sailors Arms – FUCS Camp Revue, 1995
Bruce, Benno and I decided to hop up at camp revue and sing a charming little number we’d borrowed from Marty, Richie and Jamie on the topic of the joy of roadkill, and followup with The Doug Anthony All Stars’ infamous paean to lusty transvestite romance. Top shelf comedy, 3 blokes and a guitar – what more could you ask for? Admittedly we didn’t do so well on the 3 part close harmony or raw sex appeal part of emulating DAAS, but we had a damn good time.
Morris Dancing, Trafalgar Square, 2005
I don’t want to go on too much about it in light of my previous blog entry, but to be able to get dressed up in a vaguely silly costume and dance in Trafalgar Square to an appreciative crowd of a couple of thousand was a memory which will stay with me for a long, long time.
Theatresports contest, as part of DNA (The National Dyslexics Association) – PASSPORT performing arts camp, 1993
We were pretty much forced into being in the Theatresports contest, but our little team of Lee, Richie, Jamie and I did alright and made it into the final 8. We were knocked out in the first round, but it didn’t matter – we’d proved to ourselves that we could fly by the seats of our pants in front of a few hundred people and be entertaining about it.
Aladdin Medley – Cantabile Singers, Norwood Town Hall, December 2000
How exactly I came to be part of a predominantly septagenarian choir doesn’t leap readily to mind, but it did mean getting a decent whack at any solo that called for a young male voice, in this case, that of the titular Aladdin – “Gotta keep, one jump ahead of the breadline, one sweep ahead of the sword”, etc. Plus the venue was the Norwood Town Hall, so there were a few punters in. And I was in love with an amazing girl at the time. AND we were all wearing Hawaiian shirts on stage at the time! I mean seriously, life doesn’t get much better.
Old MacDonald song – Adelaide Gang Show, 2003
As a farewell gift, almost, the producers of Adelaide Gang Show let Marty & I write and then perform in our own sketch – and again, what’s not to love about putting a self-confessed pair of chronic hams in tuxedos and straw hats, and then sing a comedic version of a childish song based around some quasi-amusing animal impressions, and an awful, awful punchline?
So… there you have it!
Of course, if you can think of anything else I’ve done that was particularly excellent, feel free to mention it in the comments below. And having said that, I’m now counting the seconds until someone mentions the “Splish splash, I was taking a bath!” incident.