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May Day, May Day

May 3, 2020 — 43 Comments

Preparing for rain,
Felt safe under the brolly.
Did not predict wind!
C. Hoather & G. Todica

As April was ending and Summer approaches, I find that under the current lock-down one day starts to merge with the next. For us, having our Friday Balcony Concerts for our friends and neighbours has helped to give George and me a definite end to each week and something to work towards, which has been so important for us both to remain focused.

Last Friday just before our concert, at around 17:20 we began our set-up.  We sellotaped our back-up camera to the plant pot frame because the live stream failed in week four and placed a stand ready to hold my iPhone to live-stream the 6th Balcony Concert, when the weather took an unexpected turn. I was in the kitchen at the time, cleaning dishes calmly, when George shouted from the other room “OH NO, RAIN!” We dashed out without a moment to spare, to protect the camera and keyboard at all costs! Within minutes we started to prepare for the worst and we dug out all of the brollies in our home. We experimented with different contraptions built from what we had in our flat, settling for the unlikely marriage of clothes hanger stands, graduation scroll holder (thanks RCS) and umbrellas (oh, the things you can create last minute when you apply a little improvisation and plenty of duct tape).

As the clocks struck 18:00, all seemed well. So, we began and managed to keep performing despite the weather’s mood swings. If you haven’t time to watch the full concert and you’d like a giggle, jump to my Mary Poppins wannabe moment around 13 minutes in!

Repertoire this week:

Let it Go (Disney – Frozen) a personal favourite of George’s young nephew Marcu

Nella Fantasia (Ennio Morricone)

Muttertändelei (R. Strauss)

Schlagende Herzen (R. Strauss)

Mein Herr Marquis – (J. Strauss – Die Fledermaus)

This was the first time I’d ever sung ‘Let It Go’ and ‘Mein Herr Marquis’ which I’ve been working on for a couple of weeks, so I hope that you enjoy them.

Just before the lock-down George’s friend helped us out by building a couple of IKEA flat-pack cupboards to help store all of our music books, sheet music and scores in.  However, the third cupboard which was due to be delivered just as we found ourselves entering lock-down, was put on hold.  This week it finally arrived and so we decided to try and put it up ourselves.  I discovered how to use a drill and the importance of following instructions (or not LOL).  Finally, the last cupboard is now up and attached safely to the wall even though I did have to unwind the screw and put in a raw plug – who even knew such a thing existed, thanks Dad, I even put in an automatic light and push to open thingymabobs and I am feeling very proud of my achievement (with a little help from George of course)!

I took inspiration this week from the videos of people sharing music on their balconies during the quarantine in Italy. I saw these videos on my Facebook newsfeed and I found them so moving and thought that they really celebrated community spirit.

On the Facebook group of our apartment block, there was a request to do something similar at our shared home. So, George and I said that we would be happy to get involved. One resident was worried that as everyone has different tastes in music that we should be careful not to disrupt the normally peaceful atmosphere. Our small community has families with young children, elderly residents and homeworkers so I thought this was a very thoughtful comment and so I suggested that we limit the live music time to after normal working hours and pick a date so that there is as little disruption to everyone as possible.

So last Friday, 27th March at 18:00 George and I were gearing ourselves up to take our electric piano onto the balcony and sing three songs:

  • Somewhere Over The Rainbow
  • Somewhere (West Side Story)
  • You’ll Never Walk Alone.

I must admit that I was a little nervous, I didn’t want to upset anyone so I tried to pick songs that I thought most people could connect with, whilst still sending a message of hope and togetherness. After all the people I would be singing to are my neighbours. But we thought it was time to be brave and try to do something nice for our community using the skills we have.

We set up and let rip. One by one, we saw windows open. People came out onto their balconies. One young woman in the courtyard who was on the phone began to share the experience with her loved one during their FaceTime call. There was a father dancing with his daughter. After we finished the first song, there was applause. It gave us the courage to continue and we started to perform our little hearts out. After the three songs, we were surprised to hear people ask for more and we said that we will try and perform again next Friday if the current situation doesn’t improve.

We were then surprised that our performance was filmed and shared by a few of our neighbours on our community Facebook group and this has allowed me to share this short video with you. Please continue to stay safe and healthy and know that you are each loved.

Keeping Calm and namaste greetings to you all from London, if you see me in person and wonder what the heck I’m doing I’ve adopted the new hands together bow of the head respectful gesture 🙏 – it’s called Añjali Mudrā.  I figured everyone has been told to cough and sneeze into their elbow if they don’t have a tissue rather than their hand so elbow bumping isn’t such a good idea.  My profession is very huggy and we often kiss on both cheeks but I’d hate the thought I’d passed on this flu virus to someone with a weak immune system, I’ve been boosting mine as singers often do whether there is a pandemic or not hehe.  If we get a bad cold with a sore throat we can’t work. It is fun to use this an opportunity to experiment with different greetings such as curtsying and saluting. Do you have any fun ways to say hello?

I’ve had two competitions canceled and a couple of bookings at risk so fingers crossed we get on top of this especially before our wedding in June! I’ve taken on some other work to pay the bills so for that I’m grateful! In my usual day today, I’m practicing and trying to maintain my coachings and lessons as usual.

I had a lovely weekend back up North staying with my family, whilst I performed in a concert in Skipton. I performed alongside Ben Crick as he conducted the Skipton Camerata. This orchestra was a great bunch, they knew how to create a relaxed atmosphere yet maintain a high level of quality and artistry. The theme of the concert centered around ancient stories and myths, which was well received by a friendly audience. My Dad, who was on camera duty at the back of the church, was particularly thrilled when people approached him just to say how much they’d enjoyed our performance, he was preening like a proud peacock all the way home.

Here are a few excerpts from the performance to give you a flavour of the concert.

Excerpt – Che farò senza Euridice – Christoph Williband Von Gluck

Excerpt – Ebben si vada, (Szene und Rondo) by J.C. Bach
Excerpt – Aria “Ah, t’invola” – Mozart

Excerpt – Cavatina “Deh, non varcar” – Mozart

I’m also celebrating this week as it’s my 7th WordPress blog anniversary. Thanks to WordPress for the reminder and to my blogger friends that have stayed the course with me over the years and to new joiners, welcome!

Have you learned any new tricks this past year on your blog or widgets that you think could be useful to me?

To close tonight I want to send you all my fondest wishes and hope that you all stay well, with coronavirus now running rampant all over the world remember don’t be scared be prepared and if you have to stay in keep in touch online 😊