I was back in Ruislip on Wednesday for my second coaching visit in quick succession to Capital Connection. We were continuing with the skills agendas we had started last time, but - given the time of year - we did so via Christmas repertoire.
It is a commonplace in groups that maintain a performing repertoire that the skill level you had when you first learn a piece tends to get embedded in the performance of that piece. And it can be hard, therefore, to develop the performance as the skill level improves. Sometimes the reason why music gets dropped from repertoire is less about the song itself than about shedding the traces of past habits that it still contains.
Christmas repertoire gives a strange variant on this process. You start in on rehearsing it each autumn for a relatively intensive period, perform it quite a lot, and then put it to one side for the next 9 months or so. When you come back to it, it gives you a snap-shot of where you were the previous year.