I was so pleased to be invited to perform by the Bowdon Music Festival at their Christmas Spectacular held at St Mary’s Church in Bowdon on the 30th November. It was the first opportunity that I have had to perform with a brass band and I was excited about what to expect.  I knew that I needed to learn my cues and understand how the piece was to be performed with the band but due to the distance between Milnrow, where the band are from and Glasgow,  where I study,  there was no opportunity to rehearse together.

The Milnrow Brass Band

I arrived at 4pm on the Saturday to run through my songs and try and grab some time with the Milnrow Brass Band, at the beginning of this year the band qualified for the 2013 National Finals for the first time in its long history you can read more on their website here.  They set up their playing positions in the space available and along with the Tideswell Male Voice Choir, very dapper in their lovely gold suits, worked through the evenings running order.

The Tideswell Male Voice Choir

Kevin Gibbs, the Resident Conductor of the Milnrow Brass Band put me at ease and sensed that this was to be a new experience for me. We had about 15 to 20 minutes together, there were some timing issues to overcome as I got to grips with the new score.  I have sung ‘Rusalka’s Song To The Moon’ and ‘O Mio Babbino Caro’ before with piano accompaniment but never with a brass band.

Feeling the excitement grow as the time of the performance approached I went to get changed and focus on what was to come. I sat in the little changing room and went through new timing in my head.  Just before the start I went through to the Church and sat next to Madeline Osborne who was to sing “Castle On a Cloud” from the role of young Cosette in Les Miserables.

Here I am with Christopher Ellis( TMVC Principal Accompanist ), Dennis Kay ( TMVC Musical Director )and Madeline Osborne ( Soloist ).

Edwina Currie who was hosting the event introduced the programme and was wonderful at setting the mood for the evening.

The moment approached, I rose to my feet walked over to the side of Kevin; he smiled at me and I relaxed and he signalled to the band, the music started …

This is the recording of my first attempt and I hope that you enjoy it 🙂    I know I did, my parents said it was my best rendition of their favourite song and they loved the atmosphere that the band added to the song

The evening ended with a duet of “O Holy Night” that I performed with my first singing teacher, Miss Jayne Wilson.

At the end of the evening with Edwina Currie and Jayne Wilson.

I was so pleased that my Nan brought this gorgeous shrug to wear as it kept me lovely and warm all night.

74 thoughts on “A Touch Of Brass

  1. Sounds like an interesting experience, and I admire your determination to broaden your experience at every turn.

    And the unveiling of the new hair-style: very fetching.

    1. Hi Martin, I must admit after the first run through I thought Uh-Oh what have I let myself in for here but thanks to the fantastic conductor and band I ended up having a great time.
      I’ve been toying with having a fringe cut in for a while and I can still just about clip it up if I need to 🙂
      Best wishes

    1. Thanks Deanie, St Mary’s Church in Bowdon is a beautiful church, very large inside; a grade II listed building with gothic architecture. I’ve never been inside the church before. They were raising money in the raffle for the Bowdon music festival in January which was great to hear as just last week I got a letter to say that one of my favourite music festival competitions in Blackpool was closing and last year was their final year which I was sad to hear.

      Best wishes

    1. All of these experiences whilst I’m still training are especially helpful. I have a long way to go on these magnificent arias but if I can share them as I go along I can get my family and friends used to them 🙂
      Best wishes

    1. Thanks Don, I was so happy Nan had brought along the shrug as it was a bit chilly and I always feel a bit odd in church in off the shoulder dresses 🙂

      Best wishes

  2. Quelle plaisir de vous voir aussi rayonnante et votre voix est magique.
    It’ a pleasure to see you . You’re like a lovely sun and when you sing it’s a balm for the soul. Thank you Charlotte

    1. Yeah that was a bit nail biting but they were such good musicians they just followed along and the conductor was a real help to me, lovely man. Thank you.

      Best wishes

    1. I never thought of getting a clip-in fringe, if I re-grow it I’ll remember you can buy clip in fringes. My Dad says it makes my eyes look massive like they did when I was little.

      Best wishes

  3. Hi Charlotte. You look lovely in your photo.

    I remember in the summer you posted pictures of some of the art work you were doing with flowers and collage ect. I am really keen to experiment with this. Could you send me the link to the page and do you have any technique guides and ideas by any chance? I am starting up a visual art journal and just loved the art you were creating.

    May thanks


    1. Thank you, I love singing this song and it’s definitely a work in progress but it’s nice to see it recorded now as a first marker. It sounds very different to me with a band. I thoroughly enjoyed myself 😉
      Best wishes

    1. Thanks Cate, I hope your doing well. It was a great idea of my Nana to buy it and a lovely surprise. She’d come to watch me in the church in Grindleford where it was a little chilly and she thought I could do with a shrug and she wanted me to have it before Christmas so I could wear it to my Christmas performances 😉
      Best wishes

  4. Stellar performance. Simply and purely talent on all levels –from your vocals to the dress to the excellence of the musicians.

    I’m again astounded.

    1. Hi Jim, what a lovely compliment thank you 😉 . This song grows on you the more you hear it. One day I have a vision of recording it near a lake in the moonlight.
      Best wishes

    1. Thank you ;).
      My Dads trying to sort me out a booking system because I can’t resist saying yes to every opportunity even when the logistics and transport get really difficult, like no trains back to Glasgow to get me back before 13:15 and a booking for 2pm!
      I love living on the edge he he, adds to the excitement.
      Best wishes

  5. Good gracious! How do you fit all of that voice inside of you? I’m sorry. It’s like I’m looking at a little girl standing up there, then WHAM! Like I said, “good gracious!” 😀 There was a band! Did they have a French Horn?

    1. Hi Eric, it must be like Dr Who’s tardis lol.
      It was a big band such a shame you couldn’t see them all on the video, there were tenor horns instead of French horns but pitched in Eb and look like mini tubas.
      Best wishes

  6. Loved your performance, its commendable that you performed so well during your first attempt with the band, you totally deserve the applause that you got in the end 🙂 , I think after hearing your song I was applauding here as well 🙂

    1. Thank you Gaurab 😉 and thanks again for the inspiration you gave me for my karate post tonight. I must start thinking about my New Years resolution for 2014!
      Best wishes

  7. Hello,

    I wish this year is already over. Everything is getting into tension, in my next life I want to be a singer, not a IT guy. So, I finally made it to check the pronunciation:)

    ( I have found explanation of czech alphabet and its pronunciation – in English ) its not exactly how these letters are used in words, but it can give basic understanding.

    In first part “Měsíčku na nebi hlubokém,” I believe i hear you sing ” M N I S I Č K U ” – basically its pronounced as [ mňe ], there is oversoft accent on N instead of E, open recording on page on word “mě” it has same pronunciation as beggining of word “měsíčku”.

    Same thing in “světlo” tvé daleko vidí, i hear ” S V I T L O ” but the rest of the sentence is absolutely correct!

    As above po “světě” bloudíš širokém, I hear ” S V I T Ě ” , rest of the sentence is corrrect! ( I love your precious ŠIROKÉM, oh my god, that was native Czech)

    “díváš se v příbytky lidí.” I am not even certan what I hear in word “díváš” it seems like you accidentaly put here R instead of š. Some people even say that Czech “š” is more like soft “sch”

    In “Měsíčku, postůj chvíli,” I believe i hear “k” in “chvíli” its incorrect, its more like “ch”

    In “řekni mi, kde je můj milý” I hear “ržekni” its very difficult to say Ř, kids have to learn it and it takes them a period of time. So Roll down, on page, there is a record of “Měsíčku na nebi hlubokém” You can hear very clear pronunciation of Ř Š Ě etc.

    Repetion as above.

    Btw, You sing word ” Milý” so correctly and softly that even feel love from that word (meaning is “lover” or in modern language “boyfriend”)

    Oh its so long, I can only hope it will help!

    1. Thanks so much Lukas I really appreciate the time you spent on this. That’s sad you want this year to hurry to end :/

      I wish I could help with your IT but I’m not good enough 😉

      Hope you have a fabulous New Year, sending you some energy 🙂

      Best wishes and thanks again

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