The start of another new year means the start of a new repertoire for Songbirds in Harmony. And we've been busy learning our new music since January.

Blimey, January seems like a couple of weeks ago, and it's April already! Time really does fly when you're having fun...or learning new music! And this year, every performance we do will be WITHOUT MUSIC!!!! Yes, that's right, no folders, no music!!! We are flying without wings...or something like that at least.

And that is always a little bit scary for us Birds. Those black folders with our music in it had become a comfort blanket, something to hide behind, to provide some kind of shelter or barrier from those watching eyes of the audience. I do the same with my microphone stand - no, I'm not that skinny, but somehow it just "protects" me I'm sure.

I recently started performing without a microphone stand, just holding my mic. It was liberating! I could move about more. I could interact with the audience more. I felt freer to really perform. And it's very much the same for the ladies in my choir. The first time we performed without music was pretty terrifying. But how much better was our performance!? How much more responsive was the choir!? No longer are eyes looking down - they are looking up, watching for instructions, listening to each other, intently watching my lips move to prompt them for the next line! Let's hope I get it right!!!!!

So now we have set ourselves a new precedent - no black folders. Ever. Because we are a better choir for it!

New music means hard work. New words to remember, new harmonies to perfect, new emotions to convey, a new performance to get right, more promotional appearances to do. It's no mean feat. It gets busy. It gets intense. I can get shouty. The ladies can get frustrated. But we all share the same common goal - to make fantastic music together and get it just right. And we usually do. That's team work.

It's always a tricky balance with a new repertoire - will the ladies like the music? Will the audience like the music? Well, if I never take the plunge we'll always just end up recycling our old music. And our audience definitely wouldn't like that. And now we have a fantastic band to consider too - how will it work with the brass section? Should we use the base line or go with guitar riffs? Is this song too keyboard heavy?

And then of course there are tickets to sell. And a raffle to organise. And the PA to sort out. And the stage blocks to arrange. And the marketing material to get printed. And is the music right? And the list goes on and on and on..... Hey come on, we've been doing this for five years! It's easy, right!? Errrr, actually, no. It's not flippin' easy. We all have to work together to get it right and done on time - that's what rehearsals are for. Plus, for all of the other "stuff" we have a checklist that we follow to make sure we don't miss anything which really helps. And we all have a job to do.

But the audience don't know about all of this hard work, and checklists and fetching and carrying of things. They only see the end result of all our hard work. Which of course is the best bit! The music, the lights, the sound, the action! And that's exactly how it should be. That's what we all do it for - to show everyone what we have achieved. The Performance is for all for you, you lovely people! It's all for you!

See you at the show xxx