Once a year Spinnaker members get together for a coaching weekend. The retreat is an opportunity for the chorus to work hard on the songs we will perform at the annual Sweet Adelines Convention in May.

On the weekend of 16th/17th January we travelled to Guildford where we were thrilled to be joined by two outstanding chorus coaches. Diane Porsch and Pam Calveric are the Musical Director and Assistant Director and choreographer respectively of Buffalo Gateway Show Chorus. They are leading members of the international coaching faculty from the USA.

The venue for retreat this year was Guildford College. Having chosen one of the coldest weekends of the winter so far we were horrified to find the college boiler had broken down as we arrived. With enthusiasm unhampered we kept our coats, hats, gloves and scarves on then our exciting coaching session started with a full on physical warm up to get the blood pumping.

Diane and Pam totally compliment each other with their coaching techniques. They explained everything so well and their performance enhancing suggestions were so imaginatively genius and easy to implement.

These two wonderful ladies worked so hard with us during the two days, continually positive and encouraging. We have done fascinating things with pencils, discovered more effective breathing techniques, hydraulics, platforms and a host of other tips.

On Saturday evening we stayed at The Holiday Inn, Guildford. It certainly was a pleasure to have a warm, heated hotel to go to after such a chilly rehearsal day. The Spinnaker tradition is to entertain each other after dinner on Saturday night with singing, skits and a lot of dressing up! Hilarious entertainment followed by a lovely nights sleep.

Sunday we were all up early for breakfast and back to the college for day two coaching, revisiting our previous days progress, tips and also voice testing and restacking the chorus. Wow what a transformation so exciting.

Lovely Pam got to work sharpening our choreography, what a little firecracker she is and extremely talented. Simple little touches give huge impact, amazing!

All too soon the weekend was over and we had to say goodbye to our two newest, wonderful friends. We have so much to thank Diane and Pam for, we all had a fabulous time and we hope to see them again very soon.