All Ship-shape and Bristol Fashion

Here we are - all ship-shape and Bristol fashion* - at the end of our rehearsal for Sing for Water West yesterday morning. This is what a choir of 641 looks like - you'll have to imagine the foreground (and more) filled with the massive audience we had for the afternoon. Umbrellas were much in evidence during the day - as sunshades! I sang on the far right of the photo and it was quite hard to hear the choir's other parts apart from our own soprano one from that position. When I slipped out to take this photo during our encore rehearsal of Shine, I was amazed at the incredible wall of sound we were making. Just after we'd finished our morning's work, The Matthew (see yesterday's picture) sailed by, so we gave everyone aboard an impromptu rendition of Bristol Ho!

Sometimes we had a little taster of what it must be like for those whom we were fundraising for. There was a standpipe available for us to refill our water bottles - the steward smilingly informing everyone that no it's not drawn directly from the harbour and the little photo shows our toilets arriving for the day! Nothing like Africa of course, but it was good to have a little reminder of why we were there. The aim is to raise £24,000 from our performance.

* = one of my favourite phrases - meaning in perfect order - from Bristol port's reputation for efficiency in the days of sail. It's also rather fitting for yesterday in view of our location and being asked to wear blue or green tops for the performance.

Update - 30/6: We've made YouTube! Arabella has her wish and gets to listen to us sing Shine and there's a better recording of our finale, Imagine. The recording of Shine, not only shows us, but also our conductors for the day: Chris our regular choirmaster - the guy in the hat - and Ali who wrote the wonderful arrangement of Imagine. They both were instrumental putting the day together and were two of our teachers for Sing For Water last year. The total raised so far on Saturday is £20,000.

I've also just found a WaterAid promo of last year's Sing For Water in London. Some of you asked if it was possible to hear us at the time I blogged about it. Now's your chance to see and hear a little of most of the day's songs. Chris and Ali also feature as do Mouthfull, the group you'll see at the beginning performing the wonderful Lodore Falls.

Update - 9/7: Gill, my fellow Wiltshire Wailer found this blog recently and left a comment :) She's not only posted about our fabulous day, but her son also took a video of part of our opener Iqude. This is a Zulu song about there not being any water in the house and most apt for what we were doing on the day. It's well worth checking out her post.


  1. Congratualtions VP. That's quite a sight - it must have been amazing to hear.

  2. Wow! I had no idea your choir was so big 641 is huge. I'd love to hear a choir that size singing Shine.

  3. HM - I hope so - I was yelling my head off at the time, so it was hard to tell. Various friends who went thoroughly enjoyed it.

    Arabella - the choir's made up from loads of choirs across the south-west, plus Surrey. My choir's about 40-50 and when we get together with Chris' 2 other choirs to form The Wiltshire Wailers, it's 100-120 depending on who'd decided to take part in a particular performance.

    Shine sounded amazing, though I'd particularly like to hear us singing Imagine and a Georgian song from yesterday. Singing along to the rehearsal CD alone was enough to make me cry regularly because the arrangements were so beautiful

    The Sing For Water event in London on September will feature a 1000 strong choir!

  4. Oops - The Sing For Water event in London (at The Scoop as part of The Thames Festival)is on September 13th. I believe the songs will be different to our selection though as we were featuring the work of various choirmasters from the south west.

  5. PS 2 of my ex bosses live in the penthouse flat you can see on the top left of the picture. I bet they got a bit of a shock yesterday!

  6. My dear, It must have been magnificent with such a large choir...I wish i had the singing skills to join a choir. I am so glad it was successful and you had a grand time! gail

  7. wow-now that is a choir!! glad the weather shone for your performance.

  8. Hi VP, it must have been an amazing perfomance. Well done! My other half is singing at The Scoop in September.At last year's performance, which I know you sang at,the sound was amazing.

  9. Gail - you can now judge for yourself as a couple of songs have made it onto YouTube :)

    Petoskystone - it was a blazing hot day and the wall of sound was amazing when I popped out of the choir to take a very quick photo!

    Martyn - you heard us last year :) Presumably your other half was singing then as well - who knows I might have been next to her and not known!

  10. That's some choir ! I often have often wondered about the origins of 'All ship - shape and Bristol fashion - now I know :)

  11. Anna - we were massive weren't we? And isn't it a great phrase :)

  12. Hi from a fellow member of the Wiltshire Wailers, small world hey! I sing with the tenors. Thanks for posting the great photo. My son (11) took a recording of us singing Iqude although it stops rather abruptly I'm afraid, you can see it here - just need to scroll down the screen a little to find it. Unfortunatly I couldn't make it to the morning rehearsal, so it has been nice to hear us on these videos, I hope a few more make it on to YouTube...

  13. Gill - what a coincidence and welcome! I think you must belong to the BoA choir? I'll look out for you at the next Wiltshire Wailers rehearsal. I'm on my way over so I can link to your Iqude video. 3 out of 7 song's not bad - I'm hoping someone's recorded Tsmi Gerto as that was my favourite.


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