Concert programme preparation can be a source of concern to any musical conductor. For any concert, the opening number is crucial.
Audiences are judgemental. They can make up their minds as soon as a performer walks onto the stage!
Concert Programme Preparation Sequence
Therefore, the first thirty seconds of any performance is critical. The audience will decide in that time, whether what they are looking at, and listening to, is to their liking.
Currently we enjoy singing Joseph Parry’s ‘Y Ddau Wladgarwr’ to set the scene.‘
The opening line of ‘Fy ngwlad, fy ngwlad’ (My country, my country) is a fervent choral fanfare. This immediately commands audience attention.
You can also sense a reaction in the audience. Sometimes, you can hear a collective sharp intake of breath after the opening line.
Click on the audio file below to hear the opening sequence.
Concert Programme Pacing
Pacing a concert is a skill. Just like a well orchestrated symphony. Or an Alfred Hitchcock film.
After the initial high energy opening, there usually follows a calm and reflective period.
This is the time to sing something in complete contrast to the grand opening. The Maori lullaby Hine E Hine is a perfect example.
This pattern continues for our opening set which generally consists of four songs.
Respite for the choristers is in the form of a guest artiste who will sing two or three songs.
The choir then sing three more. The last one with a rousing ending which brings us to the interval.
The second half also follows a similar pattern of songs and the timing is marginally less. This accounts for votes of thanks, presentations and a possible encore.
Concert Programme Preparation Finale
Of course, the final song in the concert programme should be climactic and memorable.
We have several in our Welsh repertoire. ‘Gwahoddiad,’ ‘Arwelfa’ and ‘Yn y Man’ all fall into this category.
Our repertoire is a safe one. A balance of traditional and contemporary songs in a variety of languages. All considered by the musical director in his concert programme preparation.
‘Something old, something new, something borrowed but never blue.’ This could well be the concert philosophy of Arwyn Roberts, our musical director.
In conclusion, it’s a tried and tested successful formula.