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How to sing to an audience in darkness?

Northerner 04 Jul 12 - 10:06 AM
Midchuck 04 Jul 12 - 10:18 AM
GUEST 04 Jul 12 - 10:25 AM
Amos 04 Jul 12 - 11:05 AM
GUEST,leeneia 04 Jul 12 - 11:24 AM
Megan L 04 Jul 12 - 11:31 AM
Jack Campin 04 Jul 12 - 11:53 AM
Northerner 04 Jul 12 - 11:59 AM
Northerner 04 Jul 12 - 12:06 PM
Bert 05 Jul 12 - 11:50 AM
Jack the Sailor 05 Jul 12 - 12:51 PM
Deckman 05 Jul 12 - 01:23 PM
Northerner 05 Jul 12 - 05:23 PM
Bugsy 05 Jul 12 - 07:45 PM
Northerner 06 Jul 12 - 04:51 AM
Jack Campin 06 Jul 12 - 05:04 AM
GUEST 06 Jul 12 - 05:14 AM
Joe Offer 06 Jul 12 - 05:45 PM
Deckman 06 Jul 12 - 06:50 PM
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Subject: How to sing to an audience in darkness?
From: Northerner
Date: 04 Jul 12 - 10:06 AM

How do you sing to an audience when they are in darkness? I go to a live literature venue that has walls and ceiling painted black. The lighting is low as well, so it means that I can't see much of the audience. And yesterday I was singing at a concert; I was lit on stage but the audience were in darkness though I could see an emergency exit sign at the back of the auditorium. I suppose this is how actors see (or not!) their audience for much of their time but I am more used to performing in back rooms of pubs and being able to see the people I am performing to.


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Subject: RE: How to sing to an audience in darkness?
From: Midchuck
Date: 04 Jul 12 - 10:18 AM

Doc Watson could have answered the question, but we've lost him.

P.


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Subject: RE: How to sing to an audience in darkness?
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Jul 12 - 10:25 AM

I like to make eye contact. The presence of an audience encourages me. It's disconcerting not to see them.


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Subject: RE: How to sing to an audience in darkness?
From: Amos
Date: 04 Jul 12 - 11:05 AM

Just because it's dark does not mean you can't connect with them. Close your eyes and envision them. In any case the general answer is to sing to them as vividly and as well as you can.


A


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Subject: RE: How to sing to an audience in darkness?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 04 Jul 12 - 11:24 AM

As the performer, you have a certain amount of power. Ask management to leave some lights on.

Folk music is supposed to be social, to be friends and famiy sharing their heritage. Plunging the audience into blackness and highlighting you as if you were a butterfly in a box, is not appropriate.

Sounds dangerous, anyway...


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Subject: RE: How to sing to an audience in darkness?
From: Megan L
Date: 04 Jul 12 - 11:31 AM

My Uncle and his friends always played to an audiance they could not see all of them worked at what in those days was called the blind asylum and formed their own dance band. as the old paranoia joke goes just becuse you are paranoid doesnt mean they are not watching you. You were given more than one sence though hopefully you can give the smell a miss :)


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Subject: RE: How to sing to an audience in darkness?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 04 Jul 12 - 11:53 AM

I haven't done that often but I rather liked it.

You *listen* for the response.


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Subject: RE: How to sing to an audience in darkness?
From: Northerner
Date: 04 Jul 12 - 11:59 AM

Thank you all. I have a go performing at a variety of events and venues. This recent one was a concert at an arts centre and it wasn't a folk evening; I had no control over the environment. I'll just have to imagine my audience members when I can't see them. The organiser of one of the other events (in the room with black walls etc) has decided she doesn't like the venue so we are changing to another. I have glaucoma and hate having to negotiate steps etc in darkened environments.


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Subject: RE: How to sing to an audience in darkness?
From: Northerner
Date: 04 Jul 12 - 12:06 PM

Thank you Jack. My audience were as quiet as mice when I sang, very attentive, but went wild when I finished. It was actually a talent contest and although I didn't win I got through to the final. All good broadening of experience.


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Subject: RE: How to sing to an audience in darkness?
From: Bert
Date: 05 Jul 12 - 11:50 AM

You could say "Turn the house lights up a bit"

What is worse though, is when you can't hear the monitor as well. It is like singing into a black hole.


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Subject: RE: How to sing to an audience in darkness?
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 05 Jul 12 - 12:51 PM

There are inexpensive, light LED headlamps now that cast a pretty tight beam. There is nothing more riveting for the performer than to stand on the stage of a dark room as you have described and throw a small spotlight, one by one, on stunned face of each audience member, making eye contact and moving on.

Though I do find the sound of the toppling chairs, and overturning tables, as they rush in their light blinded frenzy to the exit, rather disconcerting.


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Subject: RE: How to sing to an audience in darkness?
From: Deckman
Date: 05 Jul 12 - 01:23 PM

I do a fair amount of performance coaching these days, especially to youngsters getting into performing. I drill them, a lot, on how to "look" at each audience member in such a way that the audience member believes you are singing ONLY TO THEM. It's just simple stage craft, but it does take practice, some mental attitude, and acting.

When you pull it off ... it really works well. bob(deckman)nelson


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Subject: RE: How to sing to an audience in darkness?
From: Northerner
Date: 05 Jul 12 - 05:23 PM

Thank you all. I have just come back from a guitar lesson. My guitar teacher told me he had performed in similar venues; he told me to listen for the audience and react to their responses. Also, as a folk singer I can choose chorus songs.


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Subject: RE: How to sing to an audience in darkness?
From: Bugsy
Date: 05 Jul 12 - 07:45 PM

I'd go a long with Bert on this one. It's not unkown for an artist to say, "let's have a look at you then" and ask for the house lights to be turned up.

Good luck

Bugsy


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Subject: RE: How to sing to an audience in darkness?
From: Northerner
Date: 06 Jul 12 - 04:51 AM

I'm a bit too low in the pecking order at the moment really to request changes in stage lighting but I'll bear that in mind when I am rich and famous! Thank you Bert and Bugsy!


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Subject: RE: How to sing to an audience in darkness?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 06 Jul 12 - 05:04 AM

There are inexpensive, light LED headlamps now that cast a pretty tight beam. There is nothing more riveting for the performer than to stand on the stage of a dark room as you have described and throw a small spotlight, one by one, on stunned face of each audience member, making eye contact and moving on.

You could get even more entertainment value out of waving an LED torch beam around the auditorium. With a cat let loose in it.


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Subject: RE: How to sing to an audience in darkness?
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Jul 12 - 05:14 AM

I have harpist friends who practice in the dark to really listen to what they are playing without distraction - maybe its a good idea, especially for those who get stage fright

Pat


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Subject: RE: How to sing to an audience in darkness?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 06 Jul 12 - 05:45 PM

I sing a lot better when I "connect" with my audience, but I don't really know what that "connection" is - is it visual, audial, a combination of the two, or something else? On Tuesday and Thursday, we sang at "memory care" (Alzheimer's) units, and I could tell we were connecting because the people were making great eye contact and many were singing along. When I sing at campfires, I see the eyes of people watching me and see and hear them singing along. When I led other pilgrims singing at Santa Maria Maggiore and San Pietro in Vinculi in Rome a couple weeks ago, the "connection" was the wonderful sound we made with the great acoustics - and the hush as the talk of the tourists disappeared. I like to think the tourists thought we sounded as terrific as WE thought we sounded...

There's a great power rush when you sing in a place with great acoustics, and everybody else shuts up. But is it all an illusion? Could it be shock that shuts them up?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: How to sing to an audience in darkness?
From: Deckman
Date: 06 Jul 12 - 06:50 PM

Interesting thoughts and comments Joe. I've got two, perhaps opposite ideas:

Many years ago, in Sausilito, I watched as Bob Gibson walked up on stage in a very noisy crowd, and silenced the crowd instantly by playing a very quiet banjo chord. Then he started singing very softly, and in moments he had the crowd in his hands.

Going back to your comments, sometimes it's as simple as a SUPERB SONG will capture the crowd (Amazing Grace, Who Will Sing For Me, etc). bob


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