Ahead of their festive performance at The Stoller Hall on Saturday 12 December, we caught up with Sophie Procter, Soprano with The Apex Singers.
What’s it been like making music again following the lockdown?
On Saturday 28th November, the Apex Singers sang with each other in person at Stoller Hall for the first time in 9 months! This was a very exciting, yet nerve racking prospect. During lockdown we released a series of lockdown arrangements, all of which we recorded by ourselves in our home studios. For these arrangements it was very easy for me to record my part as many times as I wanted until I thought it was perfect. If I needed, I could read the music while I sang, and I got very used to singing alone with a backing track to record my parts. Therefore, on Saturday we were thrown in at the deep end, with one morning of rehearsal with each other, before recording the live concert the next day. We had to keep in time with each other without a backing track, record it perfectly in one take and not use any music!
How are the rehearsals going?
Before I arrived to the rehearsal on Saturday, I knew that I needed to get my part thoroughly memorised so that I did not need to use sheet music, and all I would have to do during the rehearsal was concentrate on getting used to singing with the group again (rather than remembering my part!). I spent hours trying to get my part perfect, however when I walked into Stoller Hall I was still worried that I didn’t know it well enough, as I would get some phrases in the wrong order. All my worries went away when we started to sing with each other, turns out I knew my part perfectly! I had forgotten how much easier it is to sing with people in person, how you take leads from different people’s parts to sing your own, which is so much harder to do with a backing track.
What was it like being back on-stage again with the band?
Despite the comfort of singing in person with The Apex Singers again (compared to singing in my home studio) there were a few new challenges that we all had to get used to before we recorded the concert. One of them being the 4-meter distance we had to stand away from the person we were next to, for safety reasons. This meant that the closest person to me was one of our altos, Niamh, a whole 4 meters away. Lydia, the other soprano, was miles away on the complete other side of the stage to me. The main challenge that this posed was making sure we were all in time and in tune with each other, as it was more difficult to hear each other’s parts. We always perform with microphones and in-ears, so this definitely helped us hear each other and stay together. We were so fortunate to perform at Stoller Hall, with their extended stage and amazing safe performance space with incredible acoustics (much better than my bedroom recording studio!).
Another challenge, for me at least, was stamina. I had forgotten how tiring singing was, having not done it for long periods of time in over 9 months. It was definitely a good type of tired, but by the end of two solid days of singing and performing, I was well and truly in need of another weekend!