First up the daughter’s Edudance concert – which was quite nice and brief – the way a school concert should be. In about 40 minutes we’d had seven numbers. My daughter was brilliant of course. Compliments to the ex-Moulin Rouge dance teacher who even choreographed the item segues so we weren’t left for too long without something to watch or do. (No, no topless dancing for the under-12s in case you were wondering.)
Then the son’s end of year Christmas concert. Grumpy Groover came along with the daughter and I to this one – hey I went to both so I wasn’t going alone – and we sat down to be entertained, only wincing slightly.
Now the thing with music concerts is that they are NOT choreographed. And of course the school wants to show off the range of musical instruction. It leads to a pretty tedious two hours.
We started with the Junior/Intermediate Band playing (for the seventh time this year) the theme to Pirates of the Carribean. They play it well. It’s familiar. I like it. A good start. I thought to myself “Hey this might be okay after all…”
But they only played ONE TRACK and then we had to wait while two people moved ALL THE CHAIRS for the next piece – a five piece recorder ensemble. The recorders are okay but do you really need to move 30 chairs especially as the band is COMING BACK ON! Goodwill only goes so far.
Then we heard a flute ensemble… meh. Haven’t we heard flutes already in the band? And then an electric guitar solo. Now I don’t mind an emo playing guitar but couldn’t they be directed to perform?! Sitting on your chair and playing along to an mp3 player we couldn’t hear. Oh the pain! I’d rather they play Stairway to Heaven – at least I know the tune. And STAND UP for goodness sake! You’re a guitar player!
Then the choir came on – this is my son. Belt buckle not done up properly but otherwise quite smart. Don’t you wish you could rush on stage and dress them properly!
First tune was Shackleton which they’ve been practicing all year. They are pretty good although the piano drowned out the soloist… a pity. Then Tora Ora, which was okay. Then they decided to showcase their year 9 vocal students. Plainly they hadn’t done a soundcheck with the mikes which were so loud the young performers were quite thrown. You couldn’t hear the choir backing singers at all. They chose some complicated song and most of them were out of tune, probably freaked out with how loud they were… also it looked as if they had had no microphone technique taught to them… singstar on playstation doesn’t count.
Anyway then we had two long boring tunes by the guitar ensemble – another long set change as they arranged chairs for them… then three short but pleasant tunes from the strings and finally another long set change as the intermediate band came back on… they played some woeful arrangement called Bugs and something else unremarkable. And finally FINALLY – everyone came on stage to sing Christmas carols.
A two hour program…
So here’s my advice if you are arranging a school concert:
- Plan your concert so you don’t have to continually re-arrange the furniture… that might mean solos and small ensembles first.
- If you are including solos/small ensembles – ONE ITEM ONLY.
- Song selection – familiar tunes work best with a mixed audience who are really only there to listen to one person. Short songs are also welcome.
- If planning to use microphones – do a soundcheck.
- If using a piano with a choir – put the choir in front of the piano – so we can hear them.
- Length – don’t feel you need to pad out to two hours. 60-90 minutes is enough for busy parents who possibly have several concerts to go to.
Finally, you may be sure that both my kids & Groover will be in attendence at MY concert this weekend as our choir sings in public for the first time. Mwah ha ha ha ha!!