Monday, 22 August 2011

Feeling a little (Radio)GAGA

Rock with Queen Workshop was much harder than I thought it would be. I expected difficulties learning the parts because of the 'brain fog' and lack of stamina. What I didn't expect was just how difficult the Bass Part would be.

About 50 people turned up for the workshop and only five (two men, three women) opted for the bass part - no surprise there. Unfortunately, one of the men turned out to be 'tone deaf' and a bit of a slow learner. That made things even more difficult for the rest of us.

I want to break free - still from music video

The first song was 'I want to break free'. Those of you familiar with Queen's music will know that it's a solo. The arrangement shared the tune between the four part; i.e. sometimes the sopranos had the tune, sometimes the altos or tenors, less frequently, the basses.We mainly followed the bass guitar line. Difficult intervals and changes of rhythm made it an extremely difficult piece to learn - and it was taught at breakneck speed. One poor woman in the bass section was new to acapella siinging and also didn't know any of Queen's music - talk about a baptism of fire. . She changed to the tenor section after the lunch break.

Having sorted out a mild asthma attack at the beginning of the morning session with many puffs of inhaler and sips of water, I was surprised when I suffered a sudden and severe bout of neuralgia in my face. That brought on a migraine and I sat out the last 10 minutes of the morning session massaging my head.

Click through for video

Copious cups of tea and an hour's rest later and the headache had subsided sufficiently to start the afternoon session. By then I was feeling quite fatigued but really wanted to learn the second song of the day, 'Radio Gaga'. The harmonies were pure Queen and were glorious (I left the room for a 'comfort break' and could hear them on my return), but the bass part, once again, was complicated with tricky intervals and changes of tempo.

Yes, we did the 'clapping' on the 'chorus' but nobody stripped to the waist.

MWNN asked me would I attend again next year and I'm not sure. I know a lot of my difficulty was fatigue but the three other members of Singing Aloud who atended said they found it really hard work too. Despite this, we'll ask our Director if we can do the arrangement of 'Radio Gaga'.