Last week saw our first gig outside Surrey. The Brandenburg Fringe is an off-shoot of the more choral Brandenburg Festival (@brandenburgfest). At Fringe events, a cappella enthusiasts come for an evening of unaccompanied singing without knowing who will be singing or even what style will be heard.
Our appearance was at The Cheshire Cheese, just off The Strand. (One of three Cheshire Cheese pubs in London, and not the most famous, so some care is needed finding the venue!)
First on the bill were the London City Singers, a barbershop chorus of about 20 ladies. Their 30 minute set ranged from traditional barbershop through show tunes and more contemporary pop. They were followed by Morrigan, an entertaining quartet of folk singers who introduced each song with a little story about it’s origins. The performance area was next to the bar, and at the end of each song they had an endearing habit of returning to lean on the bar for a minute. This is not a practice Academix will be introducing. (Let them get to the bar and I might never get them back again.)
The final set was ours, and had been re-structured since our SATRO charity concert in Epsom because the small performance space meant that there was no space for mics and speakers and therefore any songs requiring looping or pedals was ruled out. We started with some Pharrell and Kim Wilde, slowed things down a bit with Blackbird and Fix You, and then wound things up again with our third performance of The Real Group‘s “Pass Me The Jazz”. (We are very proud of this one.) We finished up with our own “Why Do Fools Fall In Love” arrangement, which is rapidly becoming a signature tune.
After the performances the audience and performers met and mingled, and we were blown away by the kind comments. An Australian couple told us we were the highlight of their trip to England. (They then revealed that they were over here for the birth of their second grandchild. We were rather honoured!). We were able to exchange ideas and tips with singers from the barbershop and jazz worlds. It just goes to show, as the sainted Ed Randell of The Swingle Singers says, “a cappella is not a genre, it’s an arranging choice”.