Deke Sharon Workshop
Fascinating Rhythm enjoyed a live, in-person coaching session with ‘The Father of Contemporary a cappella’, Deke Sharon, as part of a workshop on a cappella singing. More than 120 delegates attended the event held at Christ Church Downend on Monday, 21 March 2022.
The workshop saw Fascinating Rhythm put through their paces, focusing on getting in the groove and singing from the heart. The choir worked on two of Deke Sharon’s musical arrangements: ‘Good Old A Cappella’ (first released by The Persuasions) and ‘Seasons of Love’ from the Broadway musical Rent.
“It was amazing to hear how quickly the songs took shape; we certainly filled the rafters with some amazing harmonies! Deke interspersed the learning process with amazing stories, great humour and fantastic demonstrations – it’s fair to say this part of the evening was uplifting and joyous.”Fascinating Rhythm’s Musical Director, Jo
This was followed by coaching under glass experience, through which Deke helped the chorus work on two signature tunes from their repertoire: Billy Joel’s ‘And So It Goes’ and the Doobie Brothers ‘Listen To The Music’. Deke took Fascinating Rhythm on a journey from singing with great emotion to being comfortable engaging wholly with the audience.
“It was an absolute thrill to work under glass with Deke Sharon. He was really sweet and asked if he could play in the sandpit with us and try a few things. We spent some time getting some sadness into ‘And So It Goes’ and reducing the volume so you could hardly hear us sing. Then Deke got us to try and make eye contact with the audience and with each other as we sang Listen To The Music, which was great fun. The audience seemed to really enjoy the performance more when we looked at them rather than our Musical Director.”Fascinating Rhythm’s Assistant Musical Director, Wendy
“It was such a thrill to sing to a live, very appreciative audience (mostly of our peers) and to be in Deke’s very safe hands – he masterly managed us and our audience in this unique, live coaching experience.”Jo said
Reflecting on his experience working with the chorus, Deke said, “Fascinating Rhythm is the best kind of barbershop chorus: technically spectacular yet sings with undeniable presence and heart. Go change the world!”
The evening was shared with other choirs from the Bristol area, and Deke Sharon also coached Bristol Fashion on two of their repertoire songs. It was lovely to see and hear Bristol Fashion sing ‘live’ after two years; their songs were breath-taking and beautifully delivered. The workshop finished off with Fascinating Rhythm joining Bristol Fashion on stage, alongside Black Sheep Harmony and Cleeve Harmony members for an incredible and emotional rendition of ‘Anthem’ from the musical Chess.
“It was fantastic! What a hugely enjoyable and inspiring evening. Singing and learning new songs with singers from other Bristol choruses, making new friends and meeting up with old ones – such an amazing way for the singing community to get back together after the last two years!”Lead Section Leader Karen
Looking back on an incredible evening, Jo said
“What an absolute treat this was for us. We live to sing to an audience, and this was Fascinating Rhythm’s first opportunity post-Covid. To be put through our paces by the master himself, Deke Sharon, was sheer joy! Deke fully understands the power of music: how it heals, brings communities together, and brings strength and courage at times of need. I love his ethos and approach. This evening served as a very timely reminder of why we do this amazing hobby of ours. As Deke says – it can literally save a life….”
Deke Sharon is a renowned singer, arranger, musical director and producer and is responsible for the current sound of modern a cappella singing. Deke is an honorary member of the Barbershop Harmony Society and an honorary member of Brigham Young University’s Vocal Point a cappella singing group.
The workshop was initially planned for January 2022 but was postponed due to coronavirus restrictions. Fascinating Rhythm was invited to take part by Beth Morgan, who runs The Creative Choir Leader and directs The Great Day Choir.