Archives For Education

This week I have had such a wonderful time! Continuous blue skies with a sprinkling of sun rays and the opportunity to perform for a variety of audiences.

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On Monday morning, before taking ‘The Little White Town of Never Weary’ on tour we performed the show at the Scottish Opera Studios in Glasgow, for staff of the institution and a local primary school. My lovely teacher Judith Howarth also came along to support me and gave me some great pointers to aid my singing.

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Francis Thorburn, Me, Stuart Semple and John Kielty ( copyright Tim Morozzo )

This was very exciting as it was our first public practise in costume to iron out any wrinkles, but more importantly to make sure it was entertaining for the target audience of 5-8 year old children. To add to the nerves, it was recorded for Scottish Opera records and the wonderful photographer Tim Morozzo took some snaps of it for promotion. The piece ran smoothly and the children were really enthusiastic and enjoyed the jokes which was very exciting ahead of our first public performances. As a company we were able to relax into the characters and take more risks during the later run. After the performance we stayed in costume and created this short video to advertise the show. It was fun to work with camera! A new experience for me.

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Iain Piercy ( one of the set designers )

On Wednesday morning at 10:00 I performed my final recital of my undergraduate degree at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. It took place in the Stephenson Hall and some of my family were able to come and watch, along with some friends and staff from the school. Who all gave me lovely feedback afterwards. I performed alongside George Todica, who did an amazing job of the accompaniment. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and I will always remember the lessons I have learnt during my time at the RCS.

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After this I got changed quickly and made a mad dash to the Scottish Opera Building and I travelled to Kirkcudbright with Jane and Ian who very kindly took me with them so I didn’t have to drive after my adrenaline filled morning. We had a lovely trip in the most beautiful countryside. After lunch I went straight into a rehearsal in the new performance space so that the company and I were ready for our opening performance on Thursday morning.

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In between performances we were able to relax in the beautiful town, everyone was wonderful company. We took some lovely walks around the town and I visited the toll booth clock and Jessie M King’s house which both inspired the stage design for the opera.

By Saturday lunchtime we had performed five shows and then my family and George and Alex came and watched the public show in the afternoon. It was such a treat to perform for them and they got stuck in and helped the young children with the art workshop that takes place during the performance. After that the company and I took down the stage and started to pack it all into the van like a huge game of Tetris! Once completed we hit the road ready for a restful Sunday today.

This coming week we are performing two shows in Musselburgh and three in Falkirk.

Critical Writing

October 19, 2014 — 57 Comments

Module:

• As part of my course this year I have elected to take part in a Critical Writing course, where I am taught how to analyse performances and offer my opinion in a critical way.
• The teachers are very enthusiastic which makes the course seem very exciting.
• We discuss and write about dance, acting and music.

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Samantha Quillish And Me after the concert

On Friday 17th October, I went to watch a concert with my friends Samantha Quillish and Chelsea Plaskitt and I thought I would use the opportunity to try and see if I could have a go at writing a piece for my module. This is my first attempt so I would love any feedback that you could give me :).

Concert:

Scottish Chamber Orchestra (SCO) : Haydn & Mahler
Glasgow City Halls
Charlotte Hoather
17/10/14

The evening started with the powerful and emotional performance of Howokawa’s Meditation. An incredible interpretation and dedication to the victims of the Tsunami on 11th March 2011, focusing on the children lost in the disaster. It included a ferocious duet from violins who appeared to embody demons, their bows striking and hair whipping, which created a visual element to the piece. However the energetic music was interrupted by deathly silent pauses and animalistic sounds created using modern playing techniques. These sounds made me imagine the shrieking cries and the wailing of the school walls crashing into the ground. Then this sound world was disturbed aggressively by thunder claps from percussion which made your ears ring, and your heart race. Waves of music and a sense of destruction filled the pauses after each three consequential hits. ROBIN TICCIATI allowed the sound to reverberate around the hall and die into terrible nothingness. A dynamically active and emotionally hard hitting opening to a Friday evening.

Programme note: http://www.sco.org.uk/content/meditation?print=1

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Robin Ticciati – Principal Conductor At The SCO.

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra (SCO) then welcomed KAREN CARGILL to the stage to perform ‘Kindertotenlieder’ by Mahler, continuing the theme of mourning of lost children. From the opening Cargill captured the solemn landscape of this music honestly and gripped the audience’s attention. Standing tall and free from physical tension she displayed with clear consonants and richly dark vocal tone the suffering a parent encounters after losing a child. The cycle continued to develop and an unsolvable pain resonated through the interpretation, through to the last song where Cargill gripped her hands into fists during the introduction. The first sign of physical embodiment of the text. This arriving at the end of the cycle left the audience spellbound and overtaken.

Programme note: http://www.sco.org.uk/content/kindertotenlieder?print=1

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Karen Cargill – Internationally Renowned Scottish Mezzo-Soprano

After the interval the SCO performed Mahler’s ‘Blumine’ which caused me to imagine a Disney scene of a park in the spring, surrounded in flowers, where two loves meet to celebrate their love with a first kiss. With a regal tone setting the mood this delicate piece painted a sweet and enjoyable scene, a great contrast after a deeply moving first half.

Programme Note: http://www.sco.org.uk/content/blumine?print=1

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The concert ended with the rich and sonorous performance of Haydn’s London Symphony. Ticciati had a creative control over the orchestra and executed echoes and the shape of the piece with enthusiasm and excitement. The music was very merry and triumphant. However, I couldn’t help but wonder how the piece could be interpreted to represent modern London. With all the characters and experiences it has to offer now. But it was a magnificent way to finish the concert. But for me the opening piece of the evening was outstanding and really got my blood pumping!

 

Love’s Philosophy

September 28, 2014 — 59 Comments

 

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My final recital of the Summer was held at St George The Martyr Church in Preston on the 19th September. My parents were taking me up to Glasgow after the recital and I was so happy that they would be there to watch me perform. The day started well, we had packed the car so tightly with all my essentials and with just enough room to squeeze me on the back seat we set off to Preston. It was a warm sunny day and the time passed quickly, when we arrived in the town my Dad parked in the shopping centre and we all set off to find the church.

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St George The Martyr

We came out on the wrong side of the shopping centre and it took a little time to find the church but when we arrived Edmund Crighton was there to welcome us and I got down to my warm ups and rehearsals with Russell Lomas.  I performed alongside Elizabeth Lawton a flautist and we so enjoyed performing there as the audience was so receptive.

After the recital Glasgow beckoned and so we jumped back in the car and headed north to Scotland, still part of the United Kingdom after the vote, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the start of my third year there 🙂

Here is one of the songs that I performed in my recital, “Love’s Philosophy” by Roger Quilter and I do hope that you enjoy it.

This beautiful song was inspired by the lyrics from a poem by Percy Shelly which I believe tries to remind us that harmony and love are all around   🙂

The fountains mingle with the River
And the Rivers with the Ocean,
The winds of Heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
In one another’s being mingle.
Why not I with thine?

See the mountains kiss high Heaven
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth
And the moonbeams kiss the sea:
What are all these kissings worth
If thou kiss not me?

 

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I’m so excited and I just can’t hide it, eeep!! The third year of my four year full time degree programme starts from this weekend when I’ve headed back North to Glasgow. You can read more about my course at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland  website I‘m asked on twitter a lot for more details. The vocal department has around 100 first study singers over the six years on BMus and MMus courses, with a further 20 singers taking the advanced MMus Opera route.

We have a new principal this year an American pianist, composer and educator called Jeffrey Sharkey who was previously the Director of the Peabody Institute of the John Hopkins University in Baltimore. Prior to that he was Dean of the Cleveland Institute of Music and before that he was the Director of Music at the Purcell School in London. He is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music, Yale University and the University of Cambridge, it’s always exciting for me to be a part of any change and he has told us in his statement that he has great enthusiasm and excitement for our future together. He intends to “hit the ground running” which is just how I like it.

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Welcome To The RCS To Our New Principal – Jeffrey Sharkey

In the local newspaper he announces his secret weapon will be a tea trolley something I have plenty of experience with during my summer job if he needs any tips 🙂  and he’s right everyone was always happy to see me at tea time.

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Now This Is What I Call A Tea Trolley !!

In all four years of the course amongst other modules there are two singing lessons per week with fabulous teachers and classes in Performance. On a rota basis each singer performs for about 15 to 20 minutes for the whole group to build confidence and create a supportive environment amongst each other.

Year one was Italian language and repertoire.

Year two was more demanding repertoire and starting the study of German language and coaching in Lieder.

Year three is French language and repertoire with a first assessment at the end of the first Trimester, as I’ve not sung much French repertoire this is pretty much is how I feel about that 🙂

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Seriously though, I love a challenge and can’t wait to get stuck in, “au revoir à bientôt”.

Ready Or Not Here I Come.

September 17, 2014 — 59 Comments
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Tom outside the main Glasgow University building

Well we dropped Tom off at Glasgow University he’s studying Geography and the university was in the top 5 in the UK for Geography in the 2014 guide he used, he is also taking archaeology and philosophy as extra modules in his first year. Then we dusted and vacuumed my flat ready for me to move back in next week. The weekend was a little emotional for me as this was my little brother venturing out into the world and as his big sister I felt just a little protective of him 🙂

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Inside the quadrangle which house the Geography department.

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Glasgow University As Night Draws In

“Did you pack every item of clothing in your wardrobe!” Mum said on the Friday evening as Tom’s student wardrobe was bulging. “Nearly” said Tom “then I don’t have to wash and iron clothes for a couple of weeks!” he added. The student village houses about 1000 students and we’d just done the car parking dance where there are about five spaces per block of flats and twelve cars vying for each of them, with abandoned cars blocking the roads. “Why on earth do they give everyone a 5pm start time!” Mum cried, she thought that was just his slot, but it seemed it was everyone’s. But once we managed to get the car unloaded it all seemed a little more relaxed and the number of people frantically running around started to dwindle.

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The Murano Street student village in Glasgow

I thought my older brother Matt and I had given Tom all of our six years of collective University advice but we still forgot to tell him to take a padlock for the kitchen cupboard and a mat for the floor near his sink in the bedroom. We’d remembered plasters, headache tablets, Andrews Salts in case he gave himself an upset tummy, an extension cable and all of his clothes hangers (all essential 🙂 ) along with a long list of items you just cant live without as a student.

We lined his new Stabilo colour markers, pens, pencils, lever arch files, refill pads and notebooks on his desk shelves, I don’t know why but I love new stationery. Everything else was found a place to live for the next year and in the end it looked a lot more homely. The one thing we had to do once we had his new address was buy his TV licence £145 so that he could watch his football on his iPad (sadly no actual TV ). I think he’d want to come home if he couldn’t watch his beloved Manchester City.

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Tom stood with the Capital One Cup and the Premiership Trophy on his last visit to watch Manchester City at the Etihad stadium.

I’m proud of my little brother today; he text us to say he’d walked to Tesco and checked the prices, OK he was buying unhealthy Pepsi Max but six cans for £3.49 and eight cans for £2.00 really was a no brainer but at least he noticed! He added three pasta meals for £6.00, bread and a bag of apples all for under a £10 so he was happy.

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He just had to share his great find with us 🙂

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The best thing is that I am only 30 minutes away if he wants to visit and chill out or pop around for his Sunday dinner.  We are also invited to some of the Freshers’ activities and I’ve been invited to a fancy dress party with friends as a character I just love, all will be revealed next week he he.

I will let you know what next year has in store for me at College after I am all settled in on Sunday.

Finally, if you missed it I added my end of Second Year Rusalka’s Song to the Moon onto my Soundcloud page if you’d like to take a listen.

Sometimes on my lunch break from work, I enjoy getting crafty with my Mum and my friend Gill.  So when Gill offered to show me a new technique to colour cards and paper I jumped at the chance.  It was going to be fun as it involved shaving foam, card dyes and possibly getting messy. 🙂

To start, I sprayed an even layer of (bargain priced) shaving foam onto a plastic tray.

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After adding the shaving foam to the messy tray I sprayed the dye on to the surface of one side.

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I then added a second colour to the surface.

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Then to add a little texture to the surface I used a wooden stick to create straight lines up and down the shaving foam mixing the colour on the surface of the foam.

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Then take the piece of card or paper that you want to transfer the pattern to and place it gently on the surface of the shaving foam.

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Once the paper is resting on the surface of the shaving foam press it gently to get an even coating of colour.

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Peel back the paper or card gently and evenly lift it out of the tray.

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Place the paper or card flat on your work surface.

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Then gently scrape off any shaving foam that has stuck to surface with a  ruler or other straight edge.

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The ink dries quickly to the paper or card and you can wipe away any foam that might be left.

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The swirls and patterns can make lovely backgrounds for cards or other craft projects.

It is really quick to do and the only other thing that I would recommend to you is using latex gloves to keep the dye off your fingers. You can use the shaving foam in your messy tray more than once just add a little extra dye.

If you give it go I would love to hear from you, Oh and don’t tell my Dad it was me that took his shaving foam 😉

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On Matt’s birthday we made chocolate cake. Whilst it was baking in the oven we talked about our late break holiday that my Dad had booked us all on to Paris, France.

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It was only a one hour flight from Manchester and it was somewhere that Matt, Tom and I had always wanted to visit.

We were looking forward to seeing all the sights and with a bit of luck some sunny weather was predicted.

We arrived in the early evening so we decided our first foray into Paris would be along the River Seine to see Notre Dame Cathedral. The views along the banks of the Seine were exquisitely beautiful and it made for a fabulous first evening in Paris.

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Outside “The Louvre” with my lovely brothers.

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We decided to walk along the banks of “La Seine” to “Notre-Dame de Paris”

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Outside “Notre-Dame de Paris”

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In the “Square Jean XXIII” where small concerts are often performed.

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Lover’s padlocks on the “Pont de L’Archeveche”.

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Just taking 5 minutes before heading back to the hotel.

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River boat cruises are very popular.

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We saw Graffiti on the tops of buildings and you have to ask “How” and “Why”.

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Intriguing, does anybody know what this is ?

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Paris art, “Oh La La, does my bottom look big in this?” lol

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We visited the “Opera National de Paris” later in the week. We saw it when we first arrived and I’ll tell you more about it in my next post.