Archives For My Performances 2014

Concert Rehearsal

July 30, 2014 — 31 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. I hope the choir rehearsal in the evening went well also. I can’t wait to see all the choir and soloists again, I’m looking forward to catching up with everyone in the pre-show rehearsals at Gawsworth Hall 🙂

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Back At Work This Afternoon

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.

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 — 42 Comments

Today was 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 🙂

July In Song

July 2, 2014 — 41 Comments

It is the start of a new month and the summer is truly with us, I had a wonderful afternoon at St Mary In The Baum church in Rochdale, performing with flautist Elizabeth Lawton and accompanied by Russell Lomas.

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When we set off this morning it was a beautiful sunny July day, ideal for travelling to the church. My Nan and her two friends Barbara and Jean travelled with Gill and I to the recital.  It was a great way to start the day and we were all  in good spirits when we arrived.

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Jean, Barbara, My Nan, Me and Gill

The refreshments that the church make available to visitors were of there usual high standard and we were all very tempted to tuck in. I sang a selection of songs by composers such as Poulenc, Quilter, Handel and Schubert.

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Elizabeth Lawton performed pieces by Kohler, Clarke and Dring before we finished the recital with all three of us performing “Une Flute Invisible” by Saint-Saens.

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After the recital was over it was nice to catch up with old friends and discover new ones. My Nan and her friends enjoyed the performances and afterwards we all walked in the town where we found a great local market and had a good browse around the stalls.

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My Nan and Me

It is a busy week ahead for me as I am to compete in two categories this year at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod in North Wales. It is a beautiful town and I do so enjoy performing there. It is so interesting to wander around the festival stages and venues and watch performers from all over the world.

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I am looking forward to returning to Rochdale in Lancashire again this summer to perform in a lunch time recital with Russell Lomas. I love to perform in these recitals and I get a lovely warm reception from the audiences who attend. I have several others in the diary for over the summer break and will keep you all informed during the coming weeks.

One of the songs that I have been working on this year is “Endless Pleasure, Endless Love” from Handel’s opera Semele.  I was beautifully accompanied on the piano here by Russell Lomas in Warrington.

One date to keep free if you are in the Cheshire area is Sunday August the 10th. I have been asked, along with four other soloists, to join the Tideswell Male Voice Choir again this year for their Gawsworth Hall summer spectacular. Dennis Kay has asked me to sing two new songs from “The Phantom of The Opera” during the first half of the show and then perform the songs that I sang last year from “Les Miserables” in the second half.

It is a wonderful venue with large open gardens which make a beautiful backdrop for an afternoon picnic before the show starts at 18:30 pm. Having attended school in Knutsford, Cheshire I love to perform here as it is close enough to bump into old friends and catch up with them 🙂

If you want to book tickets they are available on Gawsworth Hall Website

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Mahler And Me

June 1, 2014 — 39 Comments

When members of the RCS choir were approached to take part in the season finale of the RSNO (Royal Scottish National Orchestra) ‘Symphony of a Thousand’ I knew that the experience was going to be amazing.  When these opportunities cross your path it is always best to grasp them tightly with both hands and enjoy every second of them.

The rehearsals took place every Wednesday 7:30-10pm at the RSNO centre in Glasgow. When the rehearsals first started earlier this year I would step out of the murky Glasgow evening into the converted church venue to find myself immersed in the most beautiful of music, I immediately knew that this was going to be a truly exhilarating experience.

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Inside the RSNO Centre

For each rehearsal the magnificently organised Christine Walker would have a seating plan set up and every chair perfectly positioned which made my life as chorus member of a large ensemble so much easier and I’m very grateful to her 🙂

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Christine Walker

The RSNO chorus were extremely friendly and welcoming of all the members from the RCS, it was a pleasure to work with them and hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to be part of their ensemble again should they ever need to boost their numbers for another production.  I would especially like to thank Heather Keating, a member of the RSNO chorus who provided me with chocolate which gave me real boost during rehearsals.

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During the rehearsals in Glasgow – photo taken by Stephen Fyfe

However the music truly came alive at the final rehearsals with the orchestra and the soloists at the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow.   During these final rehearsals I really got to experience what I was about to be a part of, the sheer scale of the production and the intricacy needed to bring it all together was just stunning. There were 252 choral singers, 8 soloists and the full RSNO orchestra.

The final night arrived, our performance at Usher Hall in Edinburgh the previous night had left me on a natural high and when I arrived at the concert hall in Glasgow I was still buzzing.

The concert started and when the chorus was combined with the huge orchestra and the children’s choir the sound exploded in the concert hall around us. It was such an amazing feeling and it set my love for music on fire! I knew in that instant this is definitely the life for me. I would love to sing the Soprano 1 part one day!

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Glasgow Concert Hall – The Final Night

The only downside to the event was that I missed my baby brother’s 18th birthday 🙁 I had to join in on FaceTime on my computer.

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Me, my brother Matt with Tom who is the baby of the family.

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Here Is a Throw Back Hug For You Tom

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Just To Prove That I Was Taller Than Him Once

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I wrote about being thrilled to be asked to join the rehearsals of La Rondine in “My First Opera” if you didn’t see it. It’s been my first opportunity to take part on the opera stage and I was cast as a ‘Party Girl’. Please excuse the bullet points below but as you can imagine I had a thousand different thoughts and emotions running through my head and it was the easiest way for me to share with you all how my first performance day went.

At Home Preparation:
• I was counting down the minutes excitedly, planning every five minutes so I could fit everything in, I had an essay to finish for my arts leadership and fund raising module. I’d been working on it during downtime in rehearsals so I had to put all my notes together.
• Cooked my dinner – chicken and mushroom and green beans as I required lots of energy.

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• Put my hair into curlers so I looked like Medusa, quite scary but definitely worth it. However next time I think I will sleep with the rollers in so the curls stay in my hair for longer.

Warm – Up:
• The chorus came together in the AGOS opera studio at the RCS and we sang through the opening of the Act. It was fabulous to hear everyone have fun and mime through their own stage actions. The atmosphere was on fire and everyone was electric ready for the show. Our conductor Ollie Rundell was fabulous and very excited too.

 

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Svetlina Stoyanova and me

Backstage (Changing Rooms):
• The ladies chorus changing rooms received a good luck card from Jonathan Cooke (Ruggero), which lifted everyone’s spirits and as a group we were feeling very appreciated by the main cast and by the conductor.
• The room smelt of hot curling tongues mixed with hairspray and a collage of perfumes.
• The walls have a banner of mirrors with light bulb borders to add to the changing room finesse. However we had to turn these off as they produce some mighty heat!
• Two fabulous hair and make-up ladies were at hand to give the chorus finger waves in our hair and advice.
• At the end of the room were our costumes neatly racked and each dress flew off the rail as time reached closer to curtain call. Our costumes covered all the colours of the rainbow and multiple fabric textures. Each member had a personal flavour to the costume to inspire creativity and personality to the acting.
• As the first act began we began an excited chatter, which covered various areas of the act as well as the plan for the evening’s celebrations.

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Thanks to the production staff for all their help

 

Backstage (Rehearsal Room):
• Like ants in a line, we entered the backstage rehearsal room, trying to be as quiet as mice as this room lead straight to the stage.
• We stood there in suspense knowing that we were about to go on!
• When the curtain went down for Act 1, the stage crew whooshed onto the stage like Tasmanian devils and cleared and re-assembled the stage in two minutes. The efficacy and quietness of their work was outstanding.
• Then we got our call to take our places.
• I crept on stage, fast paced, but on the tips of my toes. And reached my chair. Double checked my prop and I got into starting position. There was a ‘buzz’ in the air.
• My tummy started to have butterflies and I knew it was only a matter of seconds before the curtain went up and the ‘Party Girl’ took over me.

Then the orchestra began and as we’d rehearsed I let out a huge stage cackle and the performance began! Oh how I love this 🙂

Audience and Onstage connection:

• I will tell you more about this after the last show, I don’t want to spoil it for people who will see it later (examples being my parents, which makes me very excited!)

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I have just found this great interview with Tim Dean who is talking about La Rondine with Opera Scotland.

Back on the 30th January 2014 I participated in a concert celebrating music from different cultures. It was part of the Celtic Connections series of concerts and we performed alongside the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, students form the Chennai Conservatory and AR Rahman himself.  I found some photographs taken by Saravanan Elayappan on his Facebook page and wanted to share them with you.

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We had a great time with the students who came from the Chennai Conservatory who recently celebrated the Hindu festival Holi, the festival of colour which takes part in spring each year. You can read more about this festival on my blog friend Gaurab’s blog

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In a reciprocal arrangement and as part of an Indian tour the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra will visit Chennai on the Saturday 29th March 2014 to perform in a concert featuring 20 students from the RCS, violinist Nicola Benedetti and composer James MacMillan. Nicola Benedetti is an accomplished violinist who in 2012 won the  Best Female Artist at the 2012 Classical BRIT Awards. James MacMillan is a Scottish composer whose music is said to combine “rhythmic excitement, raw emotional power and spiritual meditation”.

( update by the 25th March the event sold out )

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Violinist Nicola Benedetti

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Performing with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Chamber Choir at Paisley Abbey last night was a fabulous experience. The music was inspiring and the audience, who were magnificent, kept the energy of pieces flowing throughout the evening. The organ was a beautiful imposing instrument which created truly delicate phrases against powerful forte chordal passages. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and hope that those of you that were in the audience did so too.

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Me and Chelsea

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Alex, Jess, Me, Susannah, Inkeri and Davidona.

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Davidona, Katie, Claire, Jess, Me and Alex

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During the concert in Paisley Abbey

The Laird O’Cockpen

February 23, 2014 — 57 Comments

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I have just got back in after spending a lovely weekend with my brother in London.  He thought that it would give me a break and a chance to catch up with what he has been up to since Christmas. I had a great time but my plane was delayed by an hour getting in to Glasgow airport ( that is the trouble when you have to find the cheapest flights ) , so tonight I am a little late with my post 🙂

I have chosen to share with you one of the songs that I performed in the Scots song competition that I entered at the RCS last November.  This version is from the recital that I performed in Southport on the 12th February 2014.  It is a Scottish folk song and it always makes me smile when I sing it 🙂 I hope that you enjoy it.

I have just checked Artist Signal  and I have discovered that with all your votes I have made it in to top 50, which is great news. Thanks to everyone that is voting and especially those of you have managed to vote several times as I really appreciate your continued support.

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