The Final Countdown: Abracadabra

Last week, the Starling Arts community had an epic week of singing and dance rehearsals, concluding with our first full run of Abracadabra by our wonderful band, made up of bass guitar, drums and two keyboards. Find out how the magic is taking shape in this week's blog post. 


The Starling Singers rehearse a Whitney Houston number

Performance rehearsals continue with members of all three Starling Arts choirs, Corvida, Forte and the Starling Singers. The show pieces are coming together really well, and the choirs enjoyed watching snippets of each others' songs at our final combined rehearsal on Thursday evening.


On Friday came one of our favourite parts of the final preparations for our productions: band call, the first day our musicians get together to rehearse the music for a show. Having rehearsed with our singers for some months using only a piano or keyboard in a small hall, the introduction of the band is like the icing on the musical cake, bringing everything together. The instrumentation adds texture and personality to the songs, bringing them to life. 

Using 'patches' from a computer plugged into our 2nd keyboard, we can achieve an array of high quality sounds played through the keys. We have a strings section, electric guitar, 80s synth bass and a brass section at the flick of a switch! 

Jen Green plays keys 2

We think our Abracadabra band are rather special. The incredible musician Jen Green has worked with Starling Arts since our very first session back in January 2010, and Abracadabra marks her 7th show with us, incredibly!  The talented Dave Holden returns for a third time to play bass with us and we’re thrilled to welcome Sam Cooper to our line-up for the first time on drums! Starling Arts' co-director Anna Shields leads the band, and can be seen here on Keyboard 1. 

Forte rehearse 'High and Dry'

We can't wait to perform Abracadabra on 6th and 7th July 2013 at the John McIntosh Theatre, London, and hope you can join us! Tickets are available from our What's On page.


Coming soon... Abracadabra

Fri. 14th June 2013

Starling Arts' next show Abracadabra hits the stage at the John McIntosh Theatre in less than four weeks! This post is an excuse to tell you all about it and to use as many magic puns as possible...

I'm willing to bet that everyone reading this is familiar with the word 'Abracadabra'. A magical incantation used in magic tricks, conjuring images of rabbits pulled from hats and magic wands, the word is so closely associated with wonder that it seemed an obvious choice to provide the title to our evening of musical performance artistry on stage!

The etymology of the word 'Abracadabra' suggests it comes from the hebrew meaning "I create (A'bra) what (ca) I speak (dab'ra)." This struck a chord with us: through song we create different worlds on stage.

The Starling Singers get ready to Step in Time

It's been a year since our last show, having recorded our debut album Taking Flight at the end of last year, and we've lots to show! Plenty of new voices have since joined us, bringing some incredible talent to the already spell-binding Starling line up. We've more variety than ever, with rock, pop and show tunes from a range of acts like Rihanna to The Lumineers, plus songs from the musical Matilda and show-tune classics like 'One' from A Chorus Line, featuring some of our most ambitious dancing yet. This show is a bit like a tin of Roses - there is something for everyone!

Corvida love you, a Bushel & a Peck

All of our adult singers have been rehearsing with us for just 2 hours a week over the last few months, but with plenty of extra work going on outside of sessions, the singers have poured their hearts into making this show something they can be proud of, practicing dance moves in their kitchens, harmonies in the shower and even sewing costumes on their Sunday afternoons!

Forte welcome you to their wonderland...

Singing in a choir, particularly one with such an emphasis on performance, is hard work. Just when you think you've nailed a vocal harmony, a tricky dance step jumps in to confuse you, plus you sometimes have up to 60 other voices to blend with - but when it comes together, magic happens and we’re very proud of all our singers’ hard work!

Of course, the whole show will be spell-binging, but here are our top tips:

Our Abracadabra Highlights:

  • An epic medley of Meatloaf's hits arranged specially for the Starling Singers 
  • A Mary Poppins trilogy, with one number performed by each choir, with some of the catchiest tunes and trickiest dance routines yet!
  • Songs made famous by Elvis and the 'Rock 'n' Roll' era mashed up in a toe-tapping performance from Forte 
  • A punk-rock departure for our close-harmony Corvida ladies and a song made famous by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers...

We hope our singers will put a spell on you - just come on down and visit us on July 6 & 7th at the John McIntosh Theatre and see...

Tickets available via our What’s On page.

- Emily