“People who make music together cannot be enemies, at least while the music lasts”
Our belief is that any bunch of people can make music if they really get on well; and – conversely – any group that sings together happily is very likely to get on well. Without doubt it’s the social aspect that keeps Rapsquillion together and we want to mirror that in our workshops.
At a deeper level, we believe that making music, and singing in particular, provides a direct route to those bits of us that are usually subdued, muted and discouraged by the day-to-day hurly-burly. Remembering how to get in touch with these things is, in our view, a very healthy way of spending a couple of hours.
The other big feature of our singing workshops is that we actually try to get everyone singing as much as possible as quickly as possible: more music and less natter is our aim. We get through quite a few songs, and do our best to ‘teach’ them using all our expertly honed skills, (including hand-signals, remembering parts, and enthusiasm). We guarantee that we can have groups singing in harmony, making a fairly acceptable racket, within about twenty minutes.
The sessions are accompanied by a workbook, a response to a number of requests for written music. Our hope is that it will help participants remember the songs they learn with us, and maybe sing them out with friends at a local singaround, party, church service or on the way home from the pub. Since Gareth Stackly has had at least one finger – and in some cases both elbows – in all these arrangements, he claims he is entitled to say that you’re welcome to sing them wherever and whenever you want. A mention of the Raps name would be nice, and if you have a Number One hit, we’d like a nice bottle of Shiraz to share please.
We also try, where possible, to give our workshop victi – err – participants, a chance to have a sing with us, either as part of a concert tied in with the workshop, or in some cases a more improvised, ‘flashmob’ attack on unsuspecting members of the public. It’s not compulsory, but it does make for a good story in the pub afterwards.
To give potential participants some idea of what they’re letting themselves in for, here are a couple of short clips from our workshop over the Whitsun Bank Holiday, 2014 (just click on the red clicky thing). The first is taken about ten minutes in to the workshop and shows a group of about twenty (who had never met each other, or us, before) singing a short piece which acts as a warm-up but also shows how quickly it’s possible to make a pleasant, harmonious sound. The second is about forty five minutes later and shows the group having their first run-through of the chorus of an arrangement of Sarah Morgan’s tune for ‘Homeward’. The fact that this is their first attempt explains the slow-ish tempo, and the fact that they are seated. A few minutes later they were giving it the full beans (although singing more quietly), as they did later in a singing session at one of the festival venues.
If you’re interested in organising a workshop, or attending one as an individual or with friends, please let us know by contacting us at one of the addresses on our ‘Contact Us’ page.
We’ve finally found a way of uploading our workshop books and you will be able to find one here if you fancy having a go at some of the music we share at workshops.
The next one will be here after Festival at the Edge in July 2021, so please come back and have another look then.