Concert Rehearsal

July 30, 2014 — 10 Comments

I missed putting a post out on Sunday as I was cherishing a little family time and catching up with my Mum and Dad. My parents always tell me that they can tell when I’m back home, as the laundry has a pink wash :)

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I soon got back into my routine as I returned to work on Monday and managed to sort out my evening schedule to fit in my singing practice, yoga and make some time to catch up with all my friends on my blog and social media to relax.

Today I had arranged to take a couple of hours off work to meet with Christopher Ellis, the principal accompanist and assistant Director of Music for the Tideswell Male Voice Choir, to go over some of my songs for the concert at Gawsworth Hall on Sunday 10th August. Following the success of their concert at Gawsworth Hall last year the choir is to perform their medley of songs from the musical “Les Miserables” in the second half in which I will be singing Eponine’s songs.

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Christopher Ellis and Me

The concert is also to include some new songs from the choir and solo performances from Madeleine Osborne, Erin Alexander, Kieron-Connor Valentine, Matthew Mellor, Phil Rigley and myself. I will be performing two songs from “The Phantom Of The Opera” “Think Of Me” and “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again”. To add a little more atmosphere to the concert this year percussionist Derrick McGill will be joining us and I am looking forward to listening to his suggestions and working with him and Chris on the musical arrangements.

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My Good Friend Erin Alexander, Christopher Ellis and Me

The rehearsal went brilliantly and it was great to catch up with Chris. He is a fabulous pianist and I appreciate his creative and imaginative input whilst rehearsing, as it enables me to add a little sparkle to the songs ready for the performance. The time flew by and it was not long before I had to return to work. To arrange the time off I had offered to make up the time so unfortunately I could not join Chris, Dennis and the Choir for their rehearsal in Tideswell this evening. I can’t wait to see them all again and I am looking forward to catching up with everyone at Gawsworth Hall :)

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Back At Work This Afternoon

Trying Something New

July 23, 2014 — 45 Comments

Last weekend I was offered a chance to try my hand at archery and in the spirit of the commonwealth games I jumped at the chance to give a go.  The only archery I had ever seen was either in cartoons or when watching Robin Hood so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I had the impression that maybe there would be a nice round target in a very, very big field, after all would you want to stand anywhere near a complete beginner :)

We arrived at a secluded wooded area and there were no colourful targets in sight!  Instead there were large plastic bottles on sticks which we were to try and hit.  But having watched my friends have a go the competitor in me took over and I was determined to give it my very best.

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I shot the first arrow, it was not as easy as I had imagined but I was not going to let it get the better of me. I listened to the advice and my shots were getting closer to hitting the bottle.  I just could not find the strength to pull the bow back far enough to match my more experienced friends, but I was improving.

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Then finally I hit the bottle, the bottle moved on the stick and the arrow hit the ground behind it :)  I was over the moon and really pleased with my efforts, it was such good fun to try a new sport and though all you field archers out there won’t have any serious competition from me any time soon it is something that I would love to try again.

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So though I wont be in Glasgow for the start of the 2014 Commonwealth Games today I will be there in spirit. I believe that the opening ceremony at 2100 BST is expected to be fabulous so I will have to catch it on the BBC website when I get home. I hope that the games are a great success and that the competitors enjoy the experience and my new home City. Good luck to everyone involved :)

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Here is a link to a little test that the BBC have put on their website to see what Commonwealth Games sport may suit you :) Why not give it a go and let me know what it suggests. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-28062001

Shakespeare En Route

July 20, 2014 — 42 Comments

Last Saturday the 12th July I was due to leave on a late flight for a fortnights holiday. It was such a lovely day that my Mum decided that it would be great opportunity to make the most of the trip and stop somewhere nice for the afternoon. We decided on Stratford Upon Avon, it is a beautiful town with plenty of history and makes a great place to wander around on lovely summer’s day.

We arrived just after lunch and there was boating regatta taking place on the river so the town was bustling with extra visitors. My Dad dropped us in the town centre and went off to find somewhere to park the car. My Mum suggested that we take a walk down to the Royal Shakespeare Company theatre and have a look around. It was full of interesting displays and little gift shops. When my Dad caught up with us we decided to have a wander around and get a better feel for the place.

We had a lovely afternoon, enjoying the summer sunshine and taking in the history of the place. The time flew and before we knew it it was time to make a move and head off towards the airport so that i could catch my flight. It was a fabulous way to start my holiday and I was so pleased that my Mum suggested it :)

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Arriving in Stratford Upon Avon for the afternoon.

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We picked up a street map to help make the most of our time in the lovely town.

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We walked past the statue of William Shakespeare on the way in to the town centre.

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This display was inside the Royal Shakespeare Company theatre situated on the river bank.

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This was New Place and Nash’s House

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Tom could not resist one last photograph before we finally got back to the car park.

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I am on holiday this week and my Mum has told me to put my iPad and phone away and enjoy a break! So in preparation before I left I sent my Dad some pictures taken in Llangollen, North Wales last Wednesday and Thursday for my blog post tonight along with the text which he promised he would upload for me.

http://llangollen.tv/en/clip/c1-2/

My programme included:
Endless Pleasure, Endless Love by Handel
Gretchen am Spinnrade
by Schubert
Zueignung by Strauss
And finally my parents favourite
Song to the Moo
n by Dvorak

Here are the pictures

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Outside the venue for the first round of the “Over 18’s Vocal Solo” competition.

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The view across the river from my hotel room.

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There is a lovely steam railway that runs along the valley from Llangollen.

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My Nana and Grandad who came to watch and cheer us on.

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George Todica at the piano for me in the final of the “Voice Of The Future”.

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Enjoying the moment

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I know that I do not usually publish a post on a Thursday but I have some news that I just wanted to share with you all :)

After missing out on a place in the over 18’s vocal solo yesterday I got up this morning full of anticipation for today’s competition.

Today’s category was the “Voice Of The Future” and looking over the entrants I knew that that I would face some fabulous singers in the preliminary round.

I was on second in my round and after composing myself I started my programme, I thought it went well but you never quite know in a competition.  George wasn’t able to have a run through on the piano so we both had to jump in at the deep end.

I was thrilled when they announced that I had been selected as one of the four finalists.  I was so excited to get the opportunity to perform on the pavilion main stage and best of all it was to be filmed which means I could share my performance with all my friends here on my blog.

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George Todica accompanied me on the pavilion stage

The link below will take you to the main website for the TV company that filmed the event and you should be able to watch my programme which I do hope that you enjoy :)

http://llangollen.tv/en/clip/c1-2/

Quando M’en Vo

July 9, 2014 — 41 Comments

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This picture was taken at 9:00 am just before making my way to the venue for the first of the two competitions that I participated in at this year’s International Eisteddfod in Llangollen.  The music festival has taken place every summer since 1947 and gathers entrants from all over the world to take part in a variety of traditional dance, choral and solo voice competitions.

This morning was the vocal solo over 18’s category and I was on first thing. I took to the stage about 9;15 am and the competition ran until about 12:00 noon.

The two songs that I performed were “Scotsong” by James MacMillan which is a beautiful contemporary song and “Quando M’en Vo” which is Musetta’s aria from the opera La Bohème by Giacomo Puccini. I think this is a cheeky little number which she directs at Marcello, in front of her bohemian friends, in order to make him feel jealous.

Unfortunately I did not get through to the final where they film the contestants so instead I thought I would share the recording of “Quando M’en Vo” from my recent recital in Rochdale accompanied by Russell Lomas.

Here is the recording of my performance of the “Scotsong” from the Kathleen Ferrier Society competition last year.

Tomorrow  I will be performing in the category “The Voice Of The Future” with another early start :)

Cooking On The Go

July 7, 2014 — 48 Comments
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Merci beaucoup to Pascal Barnier for creating this wonderful image.

During term time I find myself keeping odd hours due to lectures and practice sessions for choir and ensemble work, so finding meals that are nutritious, simple to prepare and easy to cook are so important to me.

When I am at home during the summer break I gather up all the recipes and suggestions that I have found during term time and try them out on my family. This helps me pick out the ones that that I can add to my culinary repertoire ready for next year.  So here are a couple that I have been sent by friends on the internet which seemed to go down well after cooking them :)

Chicken Stir Fry

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I cut the chicken into small cubes and placed it in the pan to brown.

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Whilst the chicken is cooking I roughly sliced peppers, carrots, onions, spring cabbage, baby sweet corns and added some broad beans.

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Because my pan was not big enough to add the veg all in one go I had to cook it whilst I added the sweet and sour sauce to the chicken for about 10 minutes.

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I added the veg to the chicken and sauce.

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I added some fresh chives as I let the pan simmer for another two to three minutes.

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The finished meal, chicken stir fry prepared and cooked in about 20 minutes.

Another meal I attempted to cook last week in the small kitchen at work was minced beef and veg. I wasn’t sure about this when it was suggested to me but I must admit it was very tasty and quite filling.

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My ingredients from the local store, minced beef, onions, carrots, garden peas, new potatoes and seasoning.

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Soften the onions in the pan and add the minced beef to brown it off.

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I had to cook the potatoes and the carrots in the microwave.

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I drained the veg and added them to the minced beef and onions.

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I mixed the peas in with the other ingredients and added some beef stock and seasoning.

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After a further two to three minutes in the microwave and a good stir it was ready to eat.

So these are a couple of ideas but I need some more so if any of you can suggest other recipes to try out I would really appreciate it :) I have quite simple tastes but will have a go at anything that looks appetizing and is simple to prepare, but I’m no “Master Chef” contestant just a hungry student without much time and a tight budget :)