Michael’s early recollections

I moved to Edinburgh in the Summer of 1995, and looked around for a choir to join. I looked in the Music Library and noted down one or two that looked interesting. I tried one, and then I rang up the number for Rudsambee….. Sheena suggested I listened to them at the Early Music Festival in the Museum, which I duly did. I don’t remember much about it except they sang “A Round of Three Country Dances” which sounded fantastic, and I knew I wanted to sing that, and the group seemed just what I was looking for.

I joined just when the Christmas rehearsals were starting in October. One of the first things we rehearsed was “Riu, Riu Chiu”, which was so difficult! I immediately felt at home among everyone there. I remember fellow basses Peter, John (Lucy’s boyfriend); tenors, Gerald and Paul; Altos, Frances and Jenny; Sopranos Lucy (or did she change later- I have a feeling she was alto then?), Janice, Sheena (of course), Mirren, Kaye, Shampa, and two doctors (whose names I can’t remember) who didn’t come every week and didn’t last after Christmas. There was also Teresa, who left soon to have a baby, and probably one or two more whom I have forgotten. As to the Christmas gigs, I remember all the ones mentioned by others, also another in the snow at Bruntsfield, singing outside Nipper’s shop and Oddbins (and getting really cold, wet music, etc…), and then being refused permission to sing in the Bruntsfield Hotel and the Golf Tavern. We ended up in some pub or other (where else?) having abandoned the attempt at singing carols.

I remember the first “real” concert I sang in was at Aberdour Church – I was incredibly nervous. I kept singing the wrong notes in the Pavane…. I, too, remember the concert in St John’s church in May that year: the audience was about 5, 3 of them were friends of mine! Margot’s vineyard was a disaster – Paul & I were supposed to do one verse as soloists, and somewhere there was a lack of communication as we were not singing the same verse! Who was wrong I can’t remember, but I think we were both doing something amiss. It was an experience to forget…

Other highlights that come to mind from the early days, are Janice reciting “Hairst the Licht of the Mune” before we sang Sheena’s moving arrangement; feeling overwhelmingly hot and stuffy in the lecture theatre at the Burrell; the performance of Tallis’s 40-part motet, where John & Susan joined us. It was good to have that extra support in the bass line!

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