Gig with The Voices of Yorkshire

Xybil Bass Guitar Theory, blog 5 Comments

Today I thought I’d give you a quick glimpse behind the scenes of my last gig...where I performed with over 250 singers…

I also thought it would be fun to share the process of learning the songs and some exclusive video clips of me playing the songs from the show

On my birthday this year I decided to drive a 600 mile round trip to perform at a theatre in Halifax in the north of the UK.

Back in 2018 my good friend, band buddy  and vocalist Nick moved to the North of England and ‘accidentally’ started a community choir called ‘The Voices of Yorkshire’.

He’s a gregarious, outgoing character and as result the choir has grown and grown.

To give the singers an experience they’ll never forget he booked a renowned theatre (The Halifax Grand) and also the Metropolis (our band) rhythm section.

Nick created all the vocal arrangements himself… so thought I’d share the process of how the band learned the songs.

Lean On Me | Lovely Day | Ain’t No Sunshine (Bill Withers)

Human (The Killers)

A few weeks before Nick sent through some demos of himself singing the all choir parts backed by a simple guitar part.

About a week before I thought I better start writing the songs out… just in case there was anything crazy and unexpected.

All I found was a guitar that wasn’t at concert pitch and very low in the mix… which made it very tricky to decide what key certain songs were in.

One tune I wrote out in the key of ‘Bb’ and the keys player Rick wrote out in ‘B’.

I took the form, structure and approximate key (haha!) from Nick’s demo.

I then cross referenced to the original recording to get an idea of a bass line or groove.

Can’t Fight This Feeling (REO Speedwagon)

Don’t Stop Me Now (Queen)

We had a rehearsal at 10 am on the day of the show with the choir.

This was the moment to check that everything held together… and most importantly nothing was going to ‘car crash’ either us or the choir.

Thankfully, most of the songs worked for the first time… which shows how important good preparation is.

There were still a few areas where  more rehearsal time was needed… but we also knew where things could go wrong and where it was important to concentrate that extra little bit harder.

The Flood (Take That)

This Is Me (The Greatest Showman)

After a 2 hour rehearsal, we broke for lunch… and found a TGI Fridays restaurant and I had a birthday steak and generally ate far too much!

The show was relaxed because the 4 of us in the band had worked together many times before…  but there was still that element of danger where anything could happen.

Thankfully the show went smoothly...



Comments 5

  1. Thanks for sharing, James! The power of your music really gave the singers an experience. Their voices, harmonies, soared – most likely to new heights. Wish I could have heard this spontaneous JOY as it happened. Their smiles, rising vocal power, tell it all.

  2. Jos Van Wassenhove

    How supported the bass the choir,One mùoment I thaught You were playing alone and than I heard the other band members. A late Happy Birthday and great work, not me alone bud everyone who heard this will be having a good feel

  3. Your bass playing inspires me, effective, on time and simple. If you’re ever in the Chicago area I will treat you to a great steak. ( not a chain restaurant )

  4. I loved seeing you play. It was inspirational and instructive. I wish I could see more of your right hand. Great music choices by your friend. Thanks.

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