A day in the life of one of our Choirs For Good Youth Choir members at the Platinum Jubilee event in Cardiff Castle on 4th June 2022.
As I part walked, part jogged towards the rest of the choir about ten minutes late (to no fault of my own might I add) it was clear this was going to be an amazing day. Not only had our teacher Mr. Grimstead had a haircut (an unmistakable indication of a big event), but behind him stood the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, a building synonymous with talent and community that many of us dream of for future study or maybe even the chance to perform there. Upon entry, we were greeted by people who could only be described as theost energetic choir directors in Wales, Iori and Ruth, the beating hearts of this operation. Without missing a beat (as you'd expect from musicians) we were whisked away to the rehearsal room to begin our miniminimas and senwadedendes (technical terms I'm sure).
And so it began, the dreaded last-minute rehearsal. Except, it was fun? There was no pressure, no stress, they just wanted us to have an amazing day filled with laughter and music, we, of course, were happy to oblige. It was truly phenomenal. We got to talk to people with the same hobbies as us, make new friends, learn new skills, (personally I never knew I could avoid eye contact so well when they asked for volunteers). Rehearsals went amazingly, we sounded better than ever before even with complicated five-part harmony.
Soon enough we were making our way to the stage for the first time, to start, it was massive, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson massive. Secondly, Prince William and Princess Kate were there! Even if you're not a monarchy know-it-all, meeting the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the future King, is pretty cool to say the least (not bad for Miss Gronow’s first school trip either). Princess Charlotte loved the Encanto medley we performed, and Prince George nearly had the orchestra's conductors' job at one point. Nevertheless, even without the presence of royalty, even without a crowd, the feeling of being on that stage was one of a kind. Little did I know what was to come when they opened the gates (spoiler alert: many, many people).
Our five-minute call was nerve-racking. It was also the longest five minutes of my life I'm certain (although, I admit, that could have something to do with the twenty-minute delay after it). But my point stands it was utterly terrifying yet strangely exciting as we all stood in our matching t-shirts just waiting for the word “go”. I’m sure you can understand the tension we are now feeling, thinking, well this surely can’t become more dramatic? Haha. As Lil Nas X would say, ‘it’s the industry baby’. They of course had us walk on to the Phantom of the Opera, which if you’re unfamiliar with this piece, is one of the most dramatic and suspenseful pieces of music you could choose. As scary as it was, it was also one of the most amazing things I've ever done. Being able to proudly walk onto that stage with friends I've known for years and friends I met last week and have the time of my life in front of around two thousand people. Not to mention the part where we stood behind Aled Jones to sing Anfonaf Angel (NOT walking in the air) or when we decided to be off-stage backup singers for Bonnie Tyler.
There is nothing better than the feeling of adrenaline as you stand on stage performing something you did not know less than a week ago. The feelings of achievement and pride are unmatched. Being able to be a part of such a fantastic event is an experience of a lifetime and something that we will carry forever. I think I speak for all of us when I say how thankful we are for Choirs for Good inviting us to be a part of such a brilliant opportunity, but also to the school for supporting us in our extracurricular activities. And, of course, the biggest thank you to Mr Grimstead and Miss Gronow for their constant support and enthusiasm, being willing to give up so much of their time to help us and allow us to do extraordinary things.