Peter 2’s early recollections

I joined Rudsambee in Oct 1996 when the choir still had a strength of only 11 or 12. I learnt of the choir’s existence through a notice in the city’s Music Library. Several choirs were advertising there for new members, I rang them all but Rudsambee sounded by far the most interesting in everything, from the repertoire to Sheena’s welcoming voice!

There were supposed to be three tenors but at my first rehearsal I was the only one there, and all the music was new. Having survived that rehearsal I felt I’d had my rites of initiation! And I must have passed, as they asked if I’d come next week!

I had sung in choirs nearly all my life, but before finding Rudsambee I wondered if I’d come to the end of the road. I’d had surgery on my vocal chords in 1991, and never fully recovered the voice. I joined one of Edinburgh’s bigger choirs, where only those who can make a big noise can be heard – and not just that, but the works we did – Bach, Bruckner, Purcell, Handel – all have tenor lines high in the register, and consistently high, so the voice hardly gets a chance to relax. And of course there are always loads of basses, which makes it hard to change if you decide you can’t manage tenor any more.

I knew I had to find a small choir, but then the voice is more exposed and the demands are greater. Would any small choir want me? I had reached the choral equivalent of Groucho Marx: any choir that would have me, wouldn’t be worth joining! Luckily Rudsambee proved the exception!

Rudsambee’s repertoire suited me fine, as the tenor lines are much more in the middle of the range, and the occasional high notes are not a problem.

The other tenors at my time of joining – and they did turn up for subsequent rehearsals! – were Paul Carline and Peter Hill. As both Peters are Peter H, I became Peter 2. Rehearsals by this time were at the Wexlers, but the Small Group, which I joined when Paul left, still rehearsed at Sheena’s. When Sheena left we eventually moved to Anna’s because of the convenience for baby-sitting, though the impact of our sound on said babies has not always been favourable!

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