A Suburban Serenade (2013)

Peripatetic choral performance by Sine Nomine
Broadfields, Exeter
3pm on 22 September 2013

Part of Unexpected Exeter 2013

Just before 3pm on a warm and muggy Sunday afternoon in September, the twelve members of Sine Nomine arrived at Elgar Close in Broadfields, east Exeter, wondering whether we would find any audience waiting for us. We did. And as we walked around the streets named after English composers,* singing music by each on their street corner, we gathered more and more. A group of about 30-40 aged between 2 and 72 travelled with us all the way round, some responding to the leaflets through their doors, others walking past and spontaneously joining us. Many stopped what they were doing to listen, popping out of their front doors and garden gates, and appearing at windows.

As we sang and walked and sang, Sunday afternoon was happening around us: lawnmowers, cars apologetically making their way between choir and audience, planes overhead. Between corners, the audience and choir chatted about the music, the estate, being brought up in the area, or never having been to this bit of Exeter before. Not quite the Lord of Misrule and the overturning of all ordinary behaviour, but permission still given for conversation and overt curtain twitching.

* Starting at Elgar Close, then moving to Purcell Close, Delius Crescent, Walton Road, Sullivan Road, Stanford Road, Grainger Close, Coates Road and finishing at Britten Drive with a centenary performance.

More reflections and photos »

Possibly not one of the daftest ideas I’ve had, but must be one of the dafter ideas I’ve made happen.

Big thanks to Chris and Josie for getting the choir and music together, to all the members of the choir, to Councillors Henson and Leadbetter and Exeter City Council for supporting the venture financially, to the Council again for letting us gatecrash the Unexpected Exeter Festival and providing a bit of publicity, and of course to the audience!