Monday, June 7, 2010

Improvisation Choir

Ella’s mum Jilly is running an improvisation choir in London and they had their second rehearsal/meet up on Sunday so I went along. It’s been a while since I’ve done free improv with people and it was a lot of fun to do it again. Especially since I figured out how to belt in my lesson with Jilly on Wednesday so I can get LOUD now. Whee!

There were about 8 of us there, and I gather that there was only about a 50% overlap between this week and last time so the full group is a bit bigger than that. We spent the beginning playing with a lot of different sorts of sounds starting with things like growling and then moving that into pitched sound while keeping the same level of energy and tone colour. We did one free improvisation and discussed it afterwards, noticing that we felt like we wanted to move more. So that was the next aspect we added to it- each sound had to be associated with a movement. We then continued to do improvisations and change the parameters a bit each time to see what came out.

Once we relaxed into it and started playing with what we were doing it was really fun. One woman, a puppeteer, and I ended up trading places a bunch and the whole group was doing a great job of listening and joining in with what was being offered. At one point we were clearly in a jungle with a number of monkeys, some birds, and wind blowing through trees. At another point one woman crouched down into the middle of the circle and started intensely speaking the words “Once upon a time” and the group immediately hushed and created this spooky, magical soundscape.

The fun thing about voices is that there is nothing between you and the sound- so things can change instantly and you don’t need to worry about the right pitch or technique or anything like that. Voices are available and just there in a way that instruments are not necessarily.

People were being both bold and generous with their offerings to the group and it was a pleasure to work with them. Four of us went out for drinks and a snack after the rehearsal and chatted about the experience and what we were looking for/what Jilly was looking for out of the group. It was interesting and the sort of conversation that I haven’t had in a while.

Last week Meredith and I were discussing what it had been like to create my final project from last year and what we thought went well and how we would do things differently now. Again- I hadn’t talked like that in a long time, and it was nice. I miss talking analytically about artistic processes.

I need to make something soon...

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