Thrown in at the deep end!

Composer Shona Mackay on her first meeting with the Glasgow School of Art Choir

When I found out that I had been paired with the Glasgow School of Art Choir I was really excited by the many prospects and possibilities that the collaboration would allow.  I immediately had a feeling they would be outgoing, adventurous and creative and those suspicions were confirmed when I met them for the first time at their annual Open Rehearsal on 20 September. 

Their rehearsals take place within one of the School of Art’s buildings in Glasgow city centre (which is handy as it’s only a short walk from where I live!) and the rehearsal room itself is lovely – a big, spacious auditorium usually reserved for lectures. I was met with enthusiasm by a few of the choir members who were taking names and distributing music at the door and then spotted Jamie Sansbury, their Musical Director, who I had met at the Adopt a Composer launch day in London. He soon informed me that I’d be singing that night and I immediately became part of the choir. I hadn’t expected it but it was great to be thrown in at the deep end!

After a thorough warm-up, we jumped straight into some Christmas music, mustering all of the festive cheer possible on a rainy Glasgow night in September. Jamie is very good at keeping the energy levels high throughout rehearsals and his enthusiasm is contagious. We then moved onto an Eric Whitacre piece, A Boy and a Girl, which they sang in a hauntingly beautiful manner. It’s clear that this choir are experienced and skilled and I feel they will be able to cope well with any musical challenges which I might throw their way.

There was a chance to socialise with the choir afterwards which was great as I got to chat with quite a few different people. Everyone was so friendly and excited about the project and many were keen to know what I was planning to write for them. I do have a few initial ideas at the moment but they’re still forming quietly at the back of my mind so I’ll update more on those in the next blog.

I think this will be a really great partnership and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone again at the first workshop in a few weeks’ time!