We met with Bethany Barber (a visiting singing tutor) this morning to go through the vocals for all the songs in the show, starting with ‘Bring on the Men’ which involves myself, Emma and Sian. This rehearsal was much needed as we hadn’t managed to find time to meet as a whole group before now and so have just been rehearsing our individual verses in our own time, however I was thankful we were able to have the support of Bethany to assist is an highlight any areas that need attention.
Emma starts of the song with the opening verse and although it was clear she had put in lots of effort to learn the lyrics and tune well, it became apparent that there were some pitching issues that needed to be worked on. As previously mentioned in past posts, I personally always find this difficult to deal with as basic pitching is something that comes naturally to me, so when others around me struggles with this I have to stop and remind myself that not everyone has awareness of tonality and has the ability to hear when singing in tune or not. As a friend it can be difficult to point this out as you don’t want to risk ruining friendships and causing upset, so having Bethany here to do this in a professional way was really helpful. I think part of the problem might be that she is almost over singing it, and trying to match the style of the vocalist in the show and by doing so she is dragging the notes out longer which is making her fall slightly under the notes as she does so. Nevertheless, Emma showed dedication to the song and had clearly put in a lot of effort to learn her part and why her character was saying each line.
Sian sings the second verse of the song, which suits her character really well as the lyrics have a seductive tone, mentioning ‘silk and lace’ and having ‘so many men’ and ‘want[ing] them all’. Sian appears to know what she is doing in regards to the melody and the lyrics and is singing these accurately and so I think the next stage for her is trying to capture her seductive character and portray this throughout the song rather than just going through the motions. Obviously I understand that this rehearsal was solely to focus on the singing and make sure we had learnt it accurately and so she was probably not focusing this rather than the performance side of this, however I think this is probably the next step for her. I was really impressed with how much Sian’s voice has come on and how much more confidence she has in comparison to last year and earlier on this year and felt really proud. This style of music really suits her voice too as she can use her speech sing quality and also use the jazzy tone she has to her advantage.
My voice was feeling quite ropey and I didn’t want to push it too much as I have Bonnie and Clyde performances coming up soon and couldn’t risk losing my voice, so I didn’t sing full out in this rehearsal. I was worried this might come across like I didn’t know what I was doing or didn’t have the capacity to sing these notes, however I know deep down that I can normally sing them cleanly and comfortably. As our performance is the week following Bonnie and Clyde I may need to factor in the possibility of my voice being tired and finding it harder than usual to project the higher notes, so this rehearsal was good practice using my head voice rather than my belt (where I would usually sing it).
There are moments where we sing in unison, however due to the jazzy feel of the song we were all singing slight variations on the tune and adding slides and twiddles at different times and so needed to spend time ironing these inconsistencies out. I naturally added some stylistic slides up to notes to make the phrase feel more legato and capture the free, jazzy style of song, however as we were all moving at different times it sounded quite clunky and we risked singing notes that clashed as a result. On the other hand Sian was singing the rhthyms straight and as written without any added embellishments and Emma was doing slightly different variations on the slides and turns I was doing, so it was essential we ironed these out and made a compromise. We decided that we would scoop up to the ‘so’ and ‘lets’ but control the notes that are decending as it just sounds messy and like not enough vocal support is being used. At the end of some of the phrases the singer on the cast recording adds a turn where she hits the note and then flicks up to one note above and then back down to the original note, which required us to practice when we would change notes to make sure we all did it at the same time. Although we managed this when we had Bethany there I am worried that in the show everyone will get carried away and forget to listen to each other and sing as one.