It was cold and windy when we arrived at St Mary’s Church in Rotterdam on Saturday morning: a small but dedicated group of singers interested in singing, RSCM awards and getting together.
There were several folks from the Haarlem bunch, a dedicated singer from The Hague and one from Antwerp, and even a lady from Kent, England, who had come over on the ferry for a musical daytrip! Martin had brought along Matthew Beetschen, who was going to play for, conduct and inform us.
Of course we started with coffee and tea, and an abundance of Easter eggs, which the Rotterdam people apparently wanted to get rid of, and many of us were glad to oblige.
Then it was on to the church itself, where we installed ourselves in the choir stalls and Matthew behind the electric piano, and attacked several of the pieces in the 2009 festival book. During these pieces Matthew often digressed from the singing itself by giving us pointers on what to expect during a Bronze medal exam, information that was very helpful.
After having received compliments on our psalm-singing we went through the syllabus, receiving information from Matthew and asking him questions. On top of that we also did some practical exercises: training our aural skills by clapping rhythms and singing lines we had only heard played twice. We also did some sight-reading exercises.
In between we had lunch, more coffee and tea and Easter eggs, and we talked. The day ended with firing up the organ and singing a hearty Ye Choirs of New Jerusalem, which was enjoyed by all.