Archives For Balcony Concert

This week marks the 5th week since the lockdown in the UK on the 20th March and you can catch our 5th Balcony Concert at the bottom of this post. It has been great to see how my friends and inspirational sources have taken on these turbulent times and turn to creativity to stay positive and stay afloat financially. This week I have interviewed my friend and colleague Michael V. Jones, who has taken up inks instead of arpeggios to release his imagination and try to build a business.

Michael and Me In The Fire Of Olympus

I have worked with Michael on two different projects, ‘The Fire of Olympus’ with Radius Opera and ‘Christmas Elf’ with Northern Opera. He is a delight on and off stage and this week I received a special gift from him in the post! An intricate ink painting of one of my favourite streets in Greenwich! I love this street as it leads to the Historic Greenwich Market – a pleasant place to visit at the weekend – something to look forward to in a post-Covid19 World. I have immediately ordered a frame and I cannot wait to hang this ‘one of a kind’ piece in my music studio.

It was such a delight to connect with Michael virtually and I really enjoyed learning and discussing his process and I thought I would share it with you on my blog.

When did you first start creating these fantastic drawings?

Well I took GCSE and A Level Art in School, and before going to Music college to pursue Opera I had every intention to pursue an Art career, however music and singing won in the end and I haven’t painted seriously for about 10 years. Due to the Covid-19 lockdown I’ve had all my singing and teaching work postponed and so have had much more time on my hands. I started painting again a couple of weeks ago and have been pleasantly surprised at the response to my work.

What medium do you use to create these one of a kind pieces?

I mainly use Black Indian Ink and paint it on watercolour paper, using water to vary the tone.

How long do they take you to make?

It completely varies, but on average about 6 hours for an A4 piece and 10 hours for A3.

Do you listen to music whilst you are drawing?

I actually listen to audiobooks, usually something I’ve already read so I can ‘zone-out’ and get into the artwork. For your piece I was listening to Circe by Madeline Miller.

What is your personal experience of the Lockdown?

At first it was a massive adjustment as I’m used to working 6 days of the week with various teaching and singing jobs, so trying to find things to do with that massive amount of time was hard at first. Finding and using Art as a creative outlet has been a godsend, I actually feel calmer than I usually do!

Have you got any coping mechanisms to share?

Finding little tasks and completing them, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, really helps me. The feeling of having finished a job really makes me feel better. Baking has also helped.

Is this something you have always been interested in, or is this a newly acquired skill?

I’ve always been quite good at drawing and painting, however experimenting and using solely ink to create the effect is new and is definitely something I want to continue to pursue.

Have you found a platform, where people can see and purchase your art to help to get you through the Lockdown?

I’ve actually sold most of my work through social media. On Facebook I have an MVJones – Art page detailing prices and works that I’ve already sold, and on Instagram I also have an MVJones – Art page. I’m in the process of setting up a website for my art separate from my singing one, so watch this space! My email is m​ vjonesart@gmail.com​ for all art related queries.

Links:
https://www.facebook.com/mvjonesart/
https://www.instagram.com/mvjonesart/

Is there anything else you would like to mention?

As I mentioned before I’m also an opera singer, so please feel free to visit my website www.michaelvincentjones.com​ to see what else I can do 🙂

I wish Michael the best of luck with this new venture! I miss singing and performing with him and all my other colleagues. But in the meantime, here is our 5th Balcony Concert where we performed a musical cocktail featuring a little bit of Musical Theatre with a sprinkle of Rachmaninov and Dvorak.

Here’s our program:

Dream Valley (Roger Quilter)

I Dreamed A Dream (Claude-Michel Schönberg, Les Miserables)

Home (Maury Yeston, Phantom)

Сирень, Lilacs (Rachmaninov)

они отвечали,They Answered (Rachmaninov)

Pisen Rusalky O Mesiku, Song to the Moon (Dvořák, Rusalka)

Non ti Scordar di Me

This Friday marked our fourth balcony concert, and it has been a real joy to sing to my neighbours and friends online alongside George. Despite being limited to our own home for a few weeks now, it has been a breath of fresh air to feel close to the lovely people who live near me. I feel connected to a bigger community, a neighbourly relationship that reminded me of my childhood as we grew up with lovely neighbours and were in and out of each others homes, George also grew up in a really close community where all the neighbours knew each other

As a musician, who practises at home, I was nervous about upsetting my neighbours during the lockdown. I limited my singing hours to be conscious of those around me and I made adaptations to my home such as hanging homemade sound panels (created by George!) above our electric piano. After our first concert, we were overjoyed to feel the support and encouragement from our neighbours and the request for more music. We even received some chocolates, flowers and even beautiful drawings from our little neighbour upstairs.

On one of her art pieces, she told us that her favourite song was ‘Baby Shark’. So as our encore to four American Songs by Aaron Copland and Glitter and Be Gay by Bernstein George and I sang, (with all the actions) ‘Baby Shark’ for our little friend above us.

Unfortunately, our live stream dropped out during the concert cutting the recording short but one of our new friends filmed the encore on their phone. I hope you enjoy the clip.

The full program:

Four American Songs by Aaron Copland:

The Boatmen’s Dance

Little Horses

Long Time Ago

Ching-a-ring-Chaw!

Glitter and Be Gay – Bernstein

Encore – Baby Shark – PinkFong

Here is what was recorded from the concert 🙂

Following our short performance last week George and I performed our second balcony concert on Friday 3rd April for our neighbours as we all continue to come to terms with staying at home here in the U.K.

Our song selection this week included a mix of styles to try and please a wide audience of tastes. The pieces that George and I performed were:

      I Feel Pretty, from West Side Story, by Bernstein

      I Could Have Danced All Night, from My Fair Lady, by Loewe

      A Piper, by Head

      O Waly, Waly (folk song) – for my blog friend Hilary, who suggested it.

      O Luce Di Quest’anima, from Linda Di Chamounix, by Donizetti – for a sprinkling of Opera

However, after feedback from last week, we decided to trial live streaming on YouTube. The idea was suggested as our neighbours in our development, who do not face into our courtyard, got in touch and asked if there was a chance, we could share it with them online. So we researched how we could do this and decided to experiment with YouTube Live as I already had an account with them which I use on my blog from time to time.

We set up my phone to capture our performance in the corner of our balcony using a stand with a phone adapter screwed into the top – a little bit of repurposing with pieces that we already had at home. For this our first attempt at live streaming we decided to film live using the unlisted feature, which means people can only watch with a link. We copied and pasted this into our Neighbourhood Facebook page and then let rip.

Moving forwards we hope to share our third balcony concert with you all publicly via my YouTube Chanel. It will take place between 18:00-18:30, weather permitting (UK time) on Friday 10th April. We would love for you to tune in and celebrate music and people coming together during this difficult time.

I want to thank my YouTube subscribers as I wouldn’t have been able to live stream without their support. If you have a YouTube account you can find my channel by clicking on the link : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjMXKEEZ0Iu32vdQ_GyQXcQ

This is George’s YouTube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClNHb_M4FDh1gwl7h2oiuLw

Hope you can join us, stay at home and stay safe 🙂