Archives For Alderley Edge Music Festival

It was such a delight to visit Alderley Edge in Cheshire to perform alongside George Todica on Wednesday this week. I used to visit this town annually to participate in the Alderley Edge Festival of Music, Speech, and Drama. This week-long platform hosted many different competitions where performers could showcase their skills as musicians, public speakers, singers, and actors. The festival has been running for over a hundred years and I was fortunate to celebrate their centennial year in 2016 by performing in their gala concert. If you are interested in building up experience and showcasing your skills within the UK. Then check out the Festival Directory by clicking on the link and see if there is a festival near you that you can apply to. I learnt so much from these experiences when I was younger and can’t recommend them enough!

George and I performed at Alderley Edge Methodist Church, which is one of the venues now associated with the festival. The team who organise the lunchtime recitals here were so warm and welcoming and created a relaxing atmosphere – just perfect for our performance. I was thrilled to see some new faces as well as some from my childhood friends.

On Tuesday 18th February I attended a talk held in the Caversham Room at Cadogan Hall. The event was organised by Opera Prelude, an organisation who is passionate about opera and the professional development of young singers. They specialise in lecture-recitals and masterclasses. The event that I attended was called: The Key to Audition Success. The guest speaker was Sarah Playfair, who is a renowned Casting Director who previously held artistic administrative positions at Scottish Opera, Welsh National Opera and Glyndebourne Festival for many years before becoming a freelance arts consultant. Playfair spoke precisely and honestly about her work. It was very helpful to hear a voice from the panel, which so often in auditions only says “Hello” and “Thank you”.

She offered advice across a range of topics but I found it a little disheartening when she discussed the volume of sopranos (my voice type) that apply for each audition. The amount is much greater than all the other voice types put together and often represents over two-thirds of all applications received. An example she gave: there were 220 sopranos who auditioned for five chorus spots, and that wasn’t including the number of applicants who didn’t pass to live audition! Playfair discussed that certain training programs would tip the odds in your favour, such as opera school. I haven’t completed an OS program, and as a freelance artist, the odds seem a little steep. But I shall keep swimming and hopefully, I will be one of the fishes that slips through the net.

For those of you who may have missed my most recent video release I have included it below:

A Week Of Ups And Downs

April 24, 2016 — 97 Comments

This week we have celebrated some wonderful anniversaries. On Thursday 21st, celebrations took place for the Queen’s 90th Birthday and on St. George’s Day (Saturday 23rd) I had the pleasure to celebrate the anniversary of the 100th Alderley Edge Music Festival by performing in their fabulous gala concert.

Festival-Brochure

It was a wonderful event and celebrated the hard work and the success of the festival over the years and took place in the newly renovated Festival Hall. The hall was fantastically decorated with red, white and blue balloons and the stage had a star-lit back curtain which provided a beautiful setting for the concert and helped create a fabulous atmosphere! The full-house audience were neatly sat in lines of long tables that reached the length of the hall, ornamented with tremendous hors d’oeuvres and little British flags for everyone. The event was organised by the very talented Anna Meadmore who also compared the evening with her witty and reminiscent introductions. It was quite a party atmosphere!

Charlotte-and-Natashia

Natasha Agarwal and Me

The performers were from across the disciplines of music, speech and drama and showcased some of the talented individuals that participated in the festivals over the years and who have gone on to study or work professionally in their chosen fields. It was wonderful to see people that I watched when I was younger grow into very talented young men and women. It was lovely be reunited with the fabulous volunteers without whom the festival couldn’t take place and who were still so enthusiastic about the event, not forgetting the wonderful accompanists who were able to take centre stage for a change with two pieces for eight hands. I was also able meet some new faces who’s careers are beginning to take off. I wish everyone the best of luck with their future successes.

Matthew-and-Charlotte

Matthew Thistleton and Me

I had the pleasure of performing with Matthew Thistleton “La Ci Darem La Mano” from Mozart’s “Don Giovanni”. We both arrived at the event without previously ever meeting and we only had a 20 minute slot to spontaneously create the romantic and cheeky staging that we devised between us in a short rehearsal.  It was wonderful to perform alongside him as he was so easy to work with and gave me lots of actions to react to, especially when he dropped to one knee and grabbed me at my waist! I hope we can share the stage again in the future.

The whole evening went tremendously well and I wish the festival another 100 successful years as I have many fond memories of entering numerous classes, photocopying and sellotaping reams of music scores for the accompanists, running from room to room (and even building to building!) singing my heart out and enjoying picnics in the middle of it all. But mostly I will be thankful for the musical lessons it taught me like how to pick yourself up after mistakes, gave advice on what to work on and how to deal with losses, how to work with accompanists and give your tempi and most importantly the friendships made along the way!

I would definitely recommend anyone interested in singing, instrumental playing or acting to look at the federation of music festivals and consider applying!

Rule-Brittannia

Performers:
Adam Slater – Clarinet
Sophie Roberts – Special Composition
Oliver Rushton – Speech and Drama
Rosie Lomas – Soprano
Simeon Evans – Saxophone
Charlotte Deams – Speech and Drama
Charlotte Heaven – Cornet
Natasha Agarwal – Soprano
David Schofield – Piano
Marie Dixon – Music Hall
Dan Parr – Speech and Drama
Paul Exton McGuiness – Trombone
Helen Meadmore – Speech and Drama
Laurence Jeffcoate – Tenor
Emma Rushworth – Violin
Charlotte Hoather – Soprano
Matthew Thistleton – Bass
William Jeys – Trumpet

The Accompanists:
Tim Kennedy
Catherine Hall Smith
Kathleen Hesford
Stewart Death

Grandma

Me, Matt and Tom with our Pepa and Mema

Grandma-2

Me with my Mema

Sadly this week I also lost my Mema (Grandma), a loving woman whose life we will continue to celebrate through the memories that we have of her. Last night I dedicated my performance to her and I chose to sing in red dress as it was her favourite colour and though she will be missed it is comforting to know that I have another angel in heaven watching over me. God Bless Mema.