Swedish Smorgasbord - deluxe!

Some Sing a cappella! members attended the most fantastic workshop on Sunday 9 May, organised by The Voice Festival UK and The London a Cappella Festival. For those of you that missed the Real Group workshop in Hammersmith, here is a review by Lee Robinson, who is a member of Sing a Cappella affiliate group Take Twenty. Four members of the Sing a cappella! NEC were also there, and stayed to watch the Real Group coach another affiliate group, In the Smoke.

If seeing and hearing The Real Group in action could be compared to a dining or movie-going experience, they’d get five-star reviews from me and my fellow Take Twenty member, Louise, who’ve just returned from their inspiring and immensely instructive workshop in west London earlier today.

In the company of a slowly expanding crowd of fans and students, we were delighted to find ourselves in a small but perfectly formed auditorium, which provided an intimate space to watch with wonder as the group went through its knock-out paces within touching distance, setting the joint jumping with a breath-takingly swinging performance of
Pass me the Jazz followed by their more angular arrangement of Ticket to Ride.  

So much vocal richness to revel in – and then the unparalleled opportunity to ask a host of thoughtfully answered questions and to find out so much more about this outstanding group’s history (4 of them have been singing together for 25 years!), as well as insightful detail about the ways they rehearse and perform. The intense way they work together (4 days a week taking songs apart and concentrating on issues like intonation, blend, pulse and rhythm) and their awareness of group dynamics in the psychological sense, has led to them developing positive short-hand methods of focussing on their inter-personal relationships in rehearsals and even after shows, to forestall the often  snarley emotional issues that can beset groups who work together a lot.

All in all a truly terrific afternoon – topped off with a virtuoso performance of classical-contemporary variations on Mozart’s memorable Symphony No 40. In the words of Carly Simon: ‘
Nobody does it better!’. The good news too, for those of you who missed this, is they’re in the process of launching an online Academy and will be flying round the world doing this sort of thing a lot in future - as well as big plans for a Real Vocal Festival in Västeras in Sweden in 2012.

Check out the Real Group at www.realgroup.se

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