Susan Bowden has been a member of the Edinburgh Festival Chorus since 1989. Here is an extract from “Confessions of a Chorus Member” pubished July 2010.
Festival Chorus member Susan Bowden talks about her nerve-racking first audition, the thrill of a standing ovation and wardrobe worries backstage.
The first piece I ever sang in the festival was the memorable Brahms Requiem, terrifying when you have never sung in German before. Over the years there have many memorable concerts,the large choral works, opera recordings, one great memory was the St Petersburg Phil and Yuri Teramakanov we rehearsed in the Meadowbank stadium and they wheeled in a Television at half time for the orchestra to watch what was unfolding in Russia as Communism fell. As the orchestra took to the stage the audience gave a standing ovation, the Mozart Requiem has never felt so emotional.
There is always a great anticipation as August approaches, the first piano rehearsal with the visiting conductor and the great day when the full orchestration comes to life! It is always fascinating to hear the music we have heard Sam Hutchings playing on the grand piano in rehearsal, filling the Usher Hall.
Over the years I have made many great friends, the chorus is a very friendly group, some people have been there for many years and some only a few. But we all share a common goal of making the best music we possibly can, helped by our chorus master Christopher Bell. He keeps us working hard throughout the year, and we share lots of funny moments.