Monday, May 20Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

Interview with: AbHarm

What does a day-in-the-life of an Absolute Harmony member look like? 

So on a typical Monday we’ll have a rehearsal with our main choir and Hardcore Harmony together; this always starts the week off on a high note!’  (Pardon the pun!). The choir is genuinely so close that friends are always made. At rehearsal, the choir learns an amazing arrangement which one of our two brilliant Musical Directors will have arranged! As you walk in, the song selected for the arrangement will be playing and you automatically feel the buzz of excitement! Rehearsals always start together as a whole choir with our fun warm-ups. After, each vocal part goes off into different sections and rehearse their part with their teacher (someone selected from the choir). Once we’ve learnt our individual parts, we all come back together as a whole and go through the arrangement and recap to make sure it sounds amazing!

After Monday rehearsals we usually go to the local pub to catch up and generally have a really lovely night. It’s a nice place to socialise, whether you want an alcoholic beverage or not, and play music (normally old arranged songs come on and we have a good sing along!).

This summer your society toured in Malaga, what was the most memorable experience from this trip?

We all had such a good trip! There were so many good times on the beach, touring around the cultural sites and just hanging out all together, but the best experience has got to be getting to rehearse and perform with the amazing ‘The Choir Andaluz’. We performed with them outside the Picasso museum, the cathedral and (our personal favourite) the Roman theatre. Everyone in ‘The Choir Andaluz’ was so talented, lovely and welcoming to us and we all had so much fun singing together. Absolute Harmony is all about creating friendships that last a lifetime so the trip to Malaga was an amazing way to spend time with great people in a fabulous destination!

This past year your society celebrated its 20th anniversary, what are your plans for this year to continue the legacy of the society?

This year Absolute Harmony plan to include other alumni events such as singing past arrangements from previous Musical Directors and collaborating with choirs that have been formed by previous AbHarm members which we’re particularly excited about! Collaborating with alumni based choirs gives us the opportunity to connect with membership in a way we haven’t done before. This should lead to joint performances, events and gatherings to really solidify the different generations of Absolute Harmony. It is also great to celebrate the joy of A Cappella in different ways as each choir has their own style and focus.

For a fresher joining the society, how would you explain to them the difference between the non-auditioned choir and the auditioned choir, Hardcore Harmony?

We have our main choir which rehearses every Monday; this is for everyone who enjoys having a fun time singing with friends. Main choir has a big concert every term and will be invited to sing at other events throughout the year. Then we have our auditioned choir, Hardcore Harmony, which is much smaller (about 3 people to every voice part) where we learn more complex arrangements.

Hardcore rehearses with main choir on a Monday but also has a separate rehearsal with a different arrangement every Wednesday. They also perform in an additional concert in the autumn and spring term in London- one of the concerts we take part in is in the Brandenburg series- a series of concerts in many different locations which bring together choirs and acts from all over the country.

We may also have some extra performance opportunities such as entering a competition! We encourage anyone who has a passion for singing and wants to challenge themselves a bit more to come along and audition for Hardcore Harmony in October. They’re really fun and not as scary as you might think! This year we’re especially hoping to find a few talented beatboxers to join us in Hardcore Harmony!

What are some of the society’s highlights from last year?

We had so much fun this year! In first term we had our fantastic winter concert with Gospel choir which was such a good opportunity to showcase what arrangements both choirs had and also sing a Christmas song together. We also were able to perform at an ice-skating rink in Windsor which was such a good experience both for the confidence and the bonding of the choir. Further on in the year, one highlight definitely has to be the Golden Vinyl awards which this year had Karaoke and was so much fun! The awards ceremony acknowledges hard work, soloists, commitment and dedication in the choir and is again another way to say goodbye to leavers.

Last spring term you hosted Acapalooza (Absolute Harmony’s festival of acapella), do you intend on hosting this week again this year?

Yes! Last year’s Acapalooza was such a great success that we will definitely be doing it again this year. It will be a mixture of social gatherings, little performances, games and general acapella fun! Last year we did events such as an open mic night, a movie night, Hardcore Livestream and a purple party! This year we plan on widening the social essence of the events throughout and hope to include more open rehearsals and campus-wide events such as a sing-a-thon. It’s an opportunity for people who haven’t yet heard of Absolute Harmony to come along, see what we are all about, and hopefully be inspired to come and join us! Updates and details will be added to our Facebook page and around campus closer to the time so keep a look out!

If you could describe your society in three words what would they be? 

Family, Gifted and love.