In July 2023, The Bridge Singers and their guests, Swarland Voices, presented a concert, “Night and Day” in which all the songs had something to do with a time of the day. We presented the songs in time-of-day order. Some of the arrangements were by me and here a list of them with clips, videos, programme notes, and photos. The full programme of the concert is at the end of the blog.
Bonny At Morn, Trad. Northumberland
A flowing folk song, with a very beautiful melody. From the programme notes: “This is a Northumberland folk song about the sleepy child of a farmer who finds it hard to get out of bed in the morning, and as a result ‘hinders thy mother at many a turn’. The bairn is canny and bonny though, which is probably why s/he gets away with it! We’ve sung this a few times before and it was one of our lockdown video projects. We love the tune…and it’s about the morning!“
Days, Ray Davies
An arrangement of The Kinks’ song. We sung this arrangement a few times in 2023, including at a funeral, on Ascension Day, and in this Night and Day concert. You can hear the Ascension Day recording on this video. The sheet music for the score is available from Sheet Music Plus: Days by The Kinks – Divisi – Digital Sheet Music | Sheet Music Plus
Lovely Day, Bill Withers
There are some vibrant rhythms in this arrangement, the scores of which are available from Sheet Music Plus Lovely Day by Bill Withers – 4-Part – Digital Sheet Music | Sheet Music Plus Here’s a snippet from Swarland Voices’ performance at this Night and Day concert. From the programme: “This is a 1977 song by the brilliant American songwriter and singer Bill Withers. It’s famous for some very long notes in the tune – the tenors and sopranos get to show off their breath control in our performance! Our soloist tonight is Richard.“
Misty Morning, Bob Marley
An 8-part arrangement of this song with much vocal percussion replacing the drums and lots of interlocking rhythms. This arrangement is available from Sheet Music Plus: Misty Morning by Bob Marley – Divisi – Digital Sheet Music | Sheet Music Plus . The Bridge Singers performed this again in November 2023 in The King’s Hall in Bamburgh Castle – this recording if from that occasion. You can hear a historic clock striking midday part way through, and also the castle guides sending messages to each other on their walkie-talkies! From the programme note: “This song is from Bob Marley’s 1978 album Kaya – have a listen to it! The accompaniment to Bob Marley’s singing is so intricate. We are singing it because one of our altos has been requesting some reggae for years, and this particular song lends itself so well to our theme!“
Northumberland, Gary Steward
Gary is a member of the tenor section of The Bridge Singers and a good friend of mine. He has written several songs for us during the last few years, and it my honour to be asked to turn his songs into choir arrangements. This is certainly one of the most popular. From the programme note: “We love singing Gary’s songs (you’ve just heard him singing if you want to put a face to the name!), and this is one of our favourites. We first sang it in our Magical Glass concert a few years ago, but it keeps finding its way into our programmes. This one tells of the loveliness of Northumberland and includes an evening drink in the pub at the end of a busy day. Listen out for the gentle breeze and rolling waves at the beginning and end of our arrangement!“
The Parting Glass, Trad.
Both choirs love singing this song. Sometimes the middle verse has the tenor and soprano parts switched for variety, but on this occasion when we performed the song as an encore, each choir took a verse, then combined for the third. This video shows photos of the entire concert as well as the live recording from this encore.
Rap Her Te Bank, Trad. Durham Coalfields
A dramatic mining song arranged for SATB choir. From the programme note: “We’ve been singing three songs from the Durham Coalfields this year. They’re full of coalfield pitmatic language, the gist of this one being that it’s the end of the day shift and the men in the cage at the bottom of the pit shaft signal to the men at the winding gear to bring them to the surface (bank).”
So Early In The Morning, Trad. Shanty
It’s a jolly song with all verses given the same music for ease of learning! From the programme note: “The sailors presumably have a hard life on the ocean, which in turn provides plentiful reasons for the dubious early morning habits they sing about in this song. The music is cheery as you might imagine. We’re singing it because it’s jolly and every verse is about the morning! We did start learning it once before for our glass-themed concert, but had too much music so parked it in the filing cabinet for a few years, and today’s its day!“
Sunny Afternoon, Ray Davies
Another hit from The Kinks in a lively arrangement. This one is also available from Sheet Music Plus: Sunny Afternoon by The Kinks – 4-Part – Digital Sheet Music | Sheet Music Plus
Sweet Suffolk Owl. Thomas Vautor
It’s not really an arrangement, but more of a transcription into 4 parts of his original madrigal in 5 parts. From the programme note: “Thomas Vautor’s madrigal from the early 1600s examines several aspects of the owl’s life, and could be considered a night time, or perhaps an early morning song. I don’t know about owls in Suffolk, but Northumberland owls can often be seen and heard early in the morning!“
Night and Day Repertoire: Night And Day - Cole Porter O Radiant Dawn - James MacMillan So Early In The Morning - Trad. Shanty The Three Ravens - Thomas Ravenscroft Bonny At Morn - Trad. Northumberland Misty Morning - Bob Marley One Day Like This - Guy Garvey, Craig Potter, Mark Potter, Pete Turner, Richard Jupp Days - Ray Davies Sunny Afternoon - Ray Davies Lovely Day - Bill Withers Sweet Suffolk Owl - Thomas Vautor Rap Her Te Bank - Trad. Durham Coalfields Hear The Voice And Prayer - Thomas Tallis Home Lads, Home - Cicely Fox Smith, Sarah Morgan Northumberland - Gary Steward Stand By Me - Ben E. King, Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller Abendlied - Josef Rheinberger Crossing The Bar - Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Rani Arbo Eli Jenkins’ Prayer - Dylan Thomas, Arthur Troyte All Through The Night - Trad. Wales, Harold Boulton Deep Purple - Mitchell Parish, Peter de Rose Blue Moon - Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart Night and Day - Cole Porter Encore: The Parting Glass, Trad.