For our third attempt at a Virtual Choir, we wanted to up the game a little bit. Let’s face it, since we produced our first virtual choir video back in April, lots of other choirs had caught up and joined the trend.
So out went the concept of lots of singers staring out of boxes on screen, and in came the idea to recreate an entire movie in 3 minutes.
In order to do this we needed a song from a film. And luckily we know one. ‘She’ is the main title track from the film Notting Hill and currently in our repertoire. However a downside of rehearsing on zoom is that neither Jules nor Anne Marie could actually hear what the men were singing. Mostly therefore, we play a choir track that we made earlier and then drink gin whilst the men sing silently at us!
None of us profess to be even amateur film makers, and ultimately this was only meant to be a bit of fun so the choir were told to sing the song to camera in the way we did for the other videos, but then include snippets in their video which related to Notting Hill. No rules, not really much guidance. Perhaps there should have been more!
If nothing else it was going to be fun just seeing what the men came up with. They certainly didn’t disappoint.
Successful films need publicity – so we decided put together a poster. Aided by Anne-Marie’s keen eye for detail, we produced something vaguely related to the film promo poster and this seemed to set up the Music Team for playing the roles of ‘Will and Anna’. Not that we had really thought that through.
The Music Team
Having set the men a challenge, Anne-Marie and I figured that rather than just conduct and play the piano we would produce and record our own bespoke backing track based loosely on the original.
This left us free to ‘recreate’ a few scenes from the film. With a little help from Corsham Bookshop, we filmed the scene where she’s “just a girl standing in front of a boy asking him to love her”….
Our dialogue wasn’t quite as good as that, though. More like:
AM “what am I supposed to be saying? Are you sure the camera is actually running and where are you going to be standing?…”
J “Just smile at the camera and all will be well….”
This whole debacle seemed to greatly amuse the lady who owns the bookshop who it turns out isn’t actually that keen on the film Notting Hill!
And of course, we couldn’t finish without the iconic bench scene at the end. That caused more hilarity as despite many takes, an ‘acceptable’ camera angle eluded us. We therefore adapted the scene a bit… (I learnt from a brief foray into location sound for films that it is always best to keep the female talent happy….).
Eagle eyed viewers will spot that I am not reading the correct book. After several filming debacles I felt that ‘Men are from Venus and Woman are From Mars’ was more appropriate!
There are of course, many out takes from all of these scenes that AM and I filmed, but if you look at the end result you’ll see that the outtakes should not be inflicted on any audience.
That aside we also wanted to feature AM playing her cello as this proved very popular in our version of ‘I Believe’. Since the men aren’t always as tuneful as they could be during the ‘Oooh’ section we decided this would work better on the Cello. Just don’t tell the men they were virtually muted at that point.
There were also some notable performances from the men. Andy Wyatt, produced an outstanding rendition of Spike eating breakfast – almost too true to reality. It was Leigh Harrison who perhaps stole the show with his attempt at the ‘climbing into the garden scene’ using a gate outside Cirencester Parish Church. Again it’s very amusing, so well worth watching for that!
We also received a great video from Mark who actually left the choir a couple of years ago to return to Canada. But since this is all virtual we have been inviting him along to our zoom rehearsals and we were delighted with his unique take on the bench scene.