Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining

Over the past 12 months we have all seen our worlds turned upside down due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The changes that we have all had to adjust to have been challenging but have also presented opportunities.

For me looking back to last March when, as a musician, I found that all my work had been cancelled for 2020 it seemed so desperate that it was difficult to get my head around.  With no knowledge of when circumstances would allow for performance venues to reopen, I had to reappraise how to move forward and find new ways to find performance opportunities.

When I also found that my wedding had to be cancelled it seemed to be another disappointment to add everything else.  But I am not one to dwell on things I can not control, I much prefer to count my blessings and work hard on the things that I can control.

Using the time at home I decided to develop my singing technique with online lessons, improve my German language, take on new technical skills both in recording and editing my videos, and introduce new sales skills to allow me to earn an income whilst staying safe at home 😊.

Looking back on what I have been able to achieve I feel so happy as I can continue to use these skills moving forward.

Pictures Copyright Tugce Nelson

Following a series of 16 Balcony concerts that we performed during the Spring and Summer of 2020 we found that it encouraged a greater sense of neighbourly connections. We made so many new friends from within our complex during this time and it helped us to feel part of this fabulous community. The pictures for my blog post today were taken by one such friend, Tugce Nelson. These friendships are agreat example of a real silver lining to this Covid cloud that surrounds us all.

In July I took my B1 Goethe Institut German exams and was excited when I passed with high marks, including 93% in the speaking unit and 94% in writing unit. The preparation for the exam has really improved my understanding and interpretation of German Lieder and Opera’s.

I passed my online sales training and now feel much more confident on the phone when doing customer relations and sales calls.

George and I have been experimenting with using a greenscreen when recording videos at home and it was wonderful last weekend when we were asked by the Gustav Mahler Society to present a 60 minute online concert for their members and they were thrilled with our performances and the video production.

Believe it or not, this is recorded in our Kitchen !!

     “The Gustav Mahler Society was proud to sponsor Charlotte Hoather  (soprano) & George Todică’s (pianist)  captivating and successful online recital  “Die Liebe weckt Die Lieder!“  released  on 29th January.  The programme was well thought out and included a balanced selection of lieder by Franz Schubert, Gustav Mahler and Alma Mahler, which explored the theme of each composer’s interpretation of poets’ imagination of love. 

The technical presentation and quality of the recording is so realistic, that you feel that you are attending the performance in a Viennese palace, a perfect setting for Charlotte’s and George’s sublime performance of each set of lieder. Charlotte’s voice is so clear and her interpretation of each lied is so expressive that you are drawn into the feel of the music and text” 

Gustav Mahler Society

To close the week I received an email from the Odin International Music Online Competition to inform me that I was awarded 1st Prize in this year’s competition.  I was so pleased to see the hard work that I have been doing during lockdown begin to pay off.

Using these oportunities to help me focus has been very calming for me and bring a little normallity into a very surreal situation. I do hope that things will start to recover during 2021 as I do miss live performances but I will continue to pursue my new skills and look for ways to use them in the years to come.

Have you taken on any new hobbies or on-line training during the pandemic? Or found unusual ways to cope with lockdown to inspire me over the coming months?

83 thoughts on “Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining

    1. Thank you 🥰, I had to remind myself to be grateful for what I have rather than going to a dark place, working in an industry where so much has gone wrong and is continuing to go wrong I have to look for the positives, the silver linings or I can get swamped with negativity.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  1. Congratulations, Charlotte, and kudos for the positive approach you have adopted. That will stand you in good stead throughout your life. Like all of us, i wish you a swift, but safe, return to what is both your natural love and your natural metier. You have too much talent to be denied.

    And say congratulations to your neighbour for two such lovely photos, but with you as a subject, what else could they be?

    1. Thank you very much Martin. There is so much darkness right now with the lockdown continuing and no bookings for this year, George and I both being musicians sort of magnifies the situation although he is Romanian and can still work in the EU should those opportunities arise and the transport open back up.

      My new neighbours have been very supportive of us, with online chats, even joint cooking classes. I need that so home doesn’t feel like a prison with no outside work group to participate in. It is keeping my spirits up.

      Best wishes to you,
      Charlotte

    1. Thank you John, I had a big audition cancel because transport is not allowed. I’d spent weeks buoyed up by it with a reason to practice and I just had to remind myself it isn’t all just gloom. Thank goodness my Dad bought that green screen for a school project we did and didn’t chuck it out.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  2. That is all very exciting. Congratulations on your achievements. Green screens make a difference. You might want to add a blue screen to your inventory in case you need to wear green at some point.

    1. I made the mistake of wearing a dress with a green leaf in it the first time I used the green screen and the result was holes in my body 😂 like Goldie Hawn in the film ‘Death Becomes Her’. I didn’t think about a blue screen so thanks for that advice, I do have a white one, well its more of a sheet lol.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

      1. You can subtract green and blue screens in the video programs. Removing a white background is more difficult.

    1. With so much uncertainty around it would be easy to become anxious so in order to overcome those feelings I have to keep very busy and make plans. Staying positive helps me to cope. Thank you for your encouragement and your informative blog.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. My Dad bought the green sheet and poles years ago second hand for a school project I did for my Drama A level. Two boys and I did a Brecht style play about an apocalyptic future war that we wrote ourselves. As part of the project we wanted to record a tv news report to announce the start of the war and to keep the public informed as the play progressed, as though it were a tv to the audience. We experimented with the green screen, I was a reporter in a tv studio and one of the boys was a field reporter with a war scene behind him. Happy memories and the screen and knowledge certainly has come in useful during lockdown.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. Thank you Jovina. Tugce the photographer 📸 has been on maternity leave and she is now taking bookings for headshots and portraits in London. I hope that she can resume her business successfully.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  3. Charlotte, I am so proud for you on many levels, not the least of which is your courage and determination in the face of overwhelming Covid odds. You remind me of one of my favorite quotes, “Turning to face my fear, I meet the warrior who lives within.” You are a warrior, my friend. Best wishes for better days.

    1. Thanks so much, Sheila 🌸. I am a warrior, but I wish I could just be a singer 🎶. Staying positive helps me to stay sane.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  4. Celebrating your joy! Just the title of your post was enough to make me smile, but as I read I became more convinced I was Divinely Guided to hear your message herein. Thank you and may you have an even happier 2021.

    1. It makes me happy to know you’re smiling. I love your angel messages and read them whenever I need a boost to my mood. My blog friends from across the globe have been a real positive aspect for me.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  5. Congratulations Charlotte. So thrilled to read this post and all you’ve achieved because to say this has been a difficult time for performers is an understatement but those who think and adapt will stay in the game. The very best to you both.

    1. Just by thinking of silver linings it makes me change my energy to cope with things that are difficult. Capturing every small moment helps us as we go into 2021. It would be so easy to go into a dark space where worry fills every corner but I refuse to go there. Thank you for your best wishes.

      All our best to you Shehanne,
      Charlotte & George

    1. Thank you, I had been wanting to take a higher level German examination for some time and by concentrating on that goal it helped me to stay focused. Having an online concert to plan for forced us to learn new material to a high level with a deadline, every little helps.

      All my best wishes
      Charlotte

  6. Wow, with such a bad beginning, it has been quite the year for you. Congratulations on the 1st prize in the Odin International Music Online Competition! The green screen sample you posted looks great, and I’m sure the concert was fantastic 🙂 I have enjoyed the CD you recently made. Living and learning – it doesn’t stop. Keep that attitude and keep going! I hope you have a wonderful 2021, even if the first few months will be more of the same as 2020 as far as lockdown, etc.

    1. Thank you, Trent. Something good has to be found in every bad situation for me. Being tied down isn’t usual for any of us but even if we’re just painting a wall I try to find the fun in it. I’m glad you’re optimistic that it is only going to be going on a couple more months, fingers crossed.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  7. Congratulations, Charlotte, in all your achievements during a pandemic and when most of the world is in lockdown mode! I admire your optimism, energy and resourcefulness! Thanks for sharing a most inspiring post!

    1. O and also, really interested in your green screen technique. Tell me more about how you do it, or, how they transpose a background on it. When u have time, that is. 🙂

      1. Thank you Arti, my Dad taught me how to use lights and a green screen for a school project. We use a program called Adobe Premiere to put the image on to the green screen after filming and my Dad and George help me with that. In our first recording we didn’t have enough lights and George was too dark. But we now have a low cost light on the floor to do that. George’s brothers are trained sound engineers, so they have taught him about microphones and audio recording, so we are muddling along as we have gone through the year. We don’t have fancy video recording we are just using our iPhones.

        Best wishes
        Charlotte

      1. You’d have time to do online general knowledge tests to get prepared I think you’d be great.

  8. I’m so pleased with your continued success especially in the new areas you’ve progressed into. Well done👏👏 my hobby is card making but I have expanded that into making pictures for framing and using different mediums. I have been doing this whilst enjoying your latest CD I must admit. I love it🥰😘

    1. I’m excited to read you’re now making pictures Gill that’s a better use for your lovely art, you should put some on your blog and share them. I’m glad you’re enjoying the CD, I’ll be sharing what the words to Me Voglio fa ‘na Casa mean in English this weekend, you’ll remember it as the ‘Tralala le la’ song Mum nagged me to learn.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  9. Congratulations Charlotte.
    You are so inspirational, in a year that has been horrible..
    Keeping us all going with amazing posts, funny stories ,great photo’s.
    Well done winning awards,and everything you & George achieve together
    Keep up the good work, let’s hope you will be able to get married at some point too.🤞🤞😘

    1. Aw thank you and I was glad to hear you’ve both had your first jabs now, I hope they hurry along with everyone so we can get together again and finally have the wedding!

      All my best wishes,
      Charlotte xx

    1. Thank you, Michael, it’s weird I’ve spent years wishing for more time to practise and learn and now I guess I’ve had that time in an unusual way and we’ve used the donations we received to both have some online lessons so that has been very useful otherwise you can practise in the wrong way by yourself. I hope you’re also keeping well and staying busy.

      All my best wishes
      Charlotte

  10. Charlotte, you are the ultimate example of how to make lemonade from lemons. This past year I started learning Gaelic. I said ‘started’ because it is a most difficult language.

    1. I started learning Romanian it’s very tricky because I’m also learning Italian songs, in some ways it is close to Italian and I get mixed up and I’m trying to make time for more French. I don’t know where all the hours are just disappearing to. Good luck with your Gaelic try on online lesson with a Gaelic speaker to practice with and get useful sentences and how to answer typical questions.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  11. Congratulations, Charlotte! You have accomplished so much this past year, under extremely unprepossessing circumstances, and you are a total inspiration to the rest of us!

    Best regards,

    Cate

    1. Thanks Cate, lovely to hear from you I hope your New year has started well. The song ‘Popular’ just popped into my head because of ‘unprepossessing’. Are you and Allie still writing and baking? I can’t believe it was three years ago now that Allie and I went to Destination at this time of year.

      My best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. Thank you, Don. We’ve enjoyed spending so much time together. It makes me happier now the vaccine has started rolling out and I just hope it is the start of a better year.

      Best wishes to you and all your family,
      Charlotte

  12. Looks like your balcony concerts have paid dividends. Kudos to you and Tugce Nelson and all your new friends. I’m retired and write novels, etc., so life is not much different, other than a general “Sword of Damocles” atmosphere. I write every day. Currently I’m working on an alternate world SciFi story called, “Tales of the Guardienne.” I attend 2 or 3 virtual writing workshops weekly. I’ve already designed the cover. I love your “kitchen.”

    1. We really loved doing them and learning the new songs for them, the making contact was a total added bonus. I love that you have the motivation to write every day do you set yourself a time deadline or do you just let it flow. I love virtual workshops I’ve joined in as many as I can, the RCM allowed me to join in some of theirs as an alumni but my time has run out now sadly. The kitchen doubles up as the dining room, living room, working space, practice space lol we get a lot done in one room.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  13. Dear Charlotte, congratulations on your amazing accomplishments during this trying time. You are truly inventive as well as incredibly gifted! It’s a joy following you and George !

    1. Thank you Holly, I loved your poem this week you only have to read a few of your comments to see how much your words touch people.

      All our best wishes
      Charlotte and George xx

    1. Thanks for the link I’ll take a look. We’re getting better with practice 😊. I have enjoyed watching opera productions too.

      All my best wishes
      Charlotte

  14. This is a wonderful, life-affirming post, Charlotte! I am so excited for all of your accomplishments. In the midst of uncertainty, you chose creativity and music to be your guide. And in doing so, you have inspired me and many, many others. I had goosebumps reading your post!

    1. Thank you for your lovely message Rebecca. Music is our guide we met through music and it is an enormous part of our lives together George and I.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. I downloaded your new book last week Alex. I’m preparing for something just now but I am looking forward to reading it soon. Good luck to you with ‘Always Never, Rarely, Sometimes’.

      All my best wishes
      Charlotte

      1. Thank you so much Charlotte. I can’t wait for your take on it. You support means so much. I’ve been reading your blog for years and it’s been wonderful hearing your voice, seeing your continued success and the different ways you reach out to fans.

  15. Well done on all your achievements! I saw the Mahler Society was on YouTube but couldn’t watch it at the time, and now I can’t find it online :(. Oh dear, I learned and did hardly nothing to expand my horizons during the lockdowns. I need to get more drive in my being I think xx

    1. You know Christine it is also ok to have spent the year taking a break from the normal crazy busy life you have, you have regularly blogged, shared your book and film reviews and I’ve benefitted from that as I never make enough time for reading, I love the birds you attract to your garden honestly I never notice many but now I have started to try and identify them. I would never dare go wild swimming and I love your take on that and your new video edit is fab.

      All my best wishes
      Charlotte

  16. Quelle belle nouvelle !!! très fier de toi et George !!! Ravi de savoir ce que vous pouvez faire votre propre enregistrement. J’ai un problème pour avoir une connexion fibre pour mon lieu de travail et de magasin, mais, cette année, je vais essayer de développer un nouveau concept autour de la musique, de la voix et des images ….. J’essaye en français, mais dans peu mois, je me tournerai vers vous pour l’anglais. Et, je vais demander à mes amis du monde entier de faire en allemand, russe, italien, grec, japonais :-).
    Le meilleur pour toi, fais attention, XX

    1. Moi aussi, J’ai un problème pour avoir une connexion fibre pour mon lieu de travail et de magasin quellquefois surtout quand j’ai une leçon.

      Le meilleur pour toi,
      Charlotte x

      1. Très bon français Charlotte !!! J’espère que quand le problème fibre sera réglé, on pourra faire des conversations et du travail ensemble !
        Meilleurs pensées pour Toi !!

    1. Thank you, Jo. It was nice to receive it. Love and hugs back, stay safe.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte x

  17. Grandchildren are a welcome change of mindset. But it’s a bit early for you. 😉
    I’ve gone back to drawing and painting seriously after dropping it completely for more than 40 years. A nice exercise. Letting your hand do the work cleanses your mind. I’m sure Georges (with or w/o an S? We Frogs put an S) understands what I mean. letting your hands go freely.
    I meant to take the piano again. But haven’t yet for lack of time.
    The Goethe Institüt now? Congrats.
    Bon week-end.

  18. You are a shining beacon, Charlotte, working at the less exciting stuff – getting your German up to scratch as well as the maintenance and technical improvement of your voice. You well deserve your Odin prize and I am only sorry you and George are deprived of the live audiences which are the uplift of your profession.

  19. You’ve spent the lockdown time well, Charlotte and George! Congratulations on your achievements!

    I’ve been tied up researching and dealing with cat health issues among some of my senior cats. We lost our old Lucio in late January.

    1. Thank you, I’m truly sorry to hear about Lucio Lavinia. We’re looking forward to Spring and lighter nights.
      All our best wishes
      Charlotte & George

  20. Congratulations on your certificates, Charlotte. And, of course, to George too. 🙂

    I’ve been picking up my camera more, doing a few more commissions. If I lived closer to the UK, I probably would have asked if I could do your photowork, music in exchange for photos (LOL). 🙂 My regular consulting work (laboratory data validation & certification), that has been slow to pick up again. I’ve been writing more too. On the more personal side, I’ve reconnected with an old friend from high school days (secondary school in the UK?). We weren’t the BF/GF type, but just good friends who like each other a whole lot. She’s staying over for a few days when a trip to meet up with her husband fell through. My wife Laurie is working COVID critical care presently, and so we haven’t each other a whole bunch since March. The daughters, I’ve seen more but would like to have them around more. But, when you’re a medical student working on the fringe of the pandemic, it’s just like being a doc or a nurse – you don’t want to bring home an infection.

    Bassist Leland Sklar, who I have been following on YouTube, he just bought a green screen for a remote music project. It’s a “one-and-done” project. Soon as he finishes using the green screen, Leland said he’ll either squirrel away for another day or sell it on eBay. He, too, hopes to get back on tour. When everyone went on lockdown, he was on tour with Phil Collins. Phil was hoping to do some studio work, and Leland would have been likely doing his bass work with him. But the studio work has been pushed back to “who knows when.”

    You and George, take care. Stay well, stay extra safe.

  21. Congratulations, Charlotte! You are amazing.

    Kind of crazy, but someone in Toronto saw my Gown drawings on line. So, they commissioned me to draw a portrait of Frankenstein. Lol. They are so happy with it, they have commissioned me to draw a full body Dracula.
    I’m still laughing! From Gowns to Goons! 😀 x

    1. I love stories like that Resa 🙌, now there is a blog title if I heard heard from ‘From Gowns 💃 to Goons 🧛🏻‍♂️’. Or from Gowns to Goths lol.

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