|The B Naturals leading an Abba workshop in Leamington Spa 3 Nov 2018|
A large number of us gathered in a church hall in Leamington Spa and the B Naturals, a fantastic A Capella Quartet, taught us some gorgeous community choir arrangements of four Abba songs.
The members of the quartet, each taking on the task of training a different part – soprano, alto, tenor and bass – taught us: Does Your Mother Know, Eagle, Name of the Game and SOS. When you sing Abba songs you realise how complex they are, and also how discerning and often very moving the lyrics are, relating to so many different life experiences.
The four workshop leaders – Nick Petts, Guy Wilson, Dave King and Jon Conway - worked together, interweaving with each other as they taught the parts. What a joy it was, along with a great sense of accomplishment, as we mastered the rich harmonies, and sang the songs all the way through.
As a singer who belongs to two very different local choirs, a traditional choir and a community choir, I have often marvelled at the precious gift of music in our lives. The experience of singing in harmony with others is pure joy and one of the nearest things to heaven I can possibly imagine.
Quite apart from the immense resources of classical choral music sung by traditional choirs, there is a vast repertoire of music suitable for arrangement for A Capella Quartets and community choirs, and so many gifted composers and musicians who have created glorious music for us – the music of the Beach Boys, of Abba, of the Beatles among many, along with a wealth of songs of different types and genres from around the planet.
In the midst of a world where there is so much disharmony, tragedy and grief, let us uphold and celebrate one of the greatest and most spiritual gifts of all – joyous and uplifting music.