Archives For Edwina Currie

After completing the first run through of Candide with Surrey Opera last Thursday evening, I hastily returned home full of excitement for the day to follow. Friday began with an early start, checking my bags, which I had carefully packed the previous morning and downloading my pre-ordered train ticket for Buxton. Where I would have the pleasure of performing alongside my friends in the Tideswell Male Voice Choir in Tideswell, Derbyshire.

The weather was fabulous and made for a lovely journey from London to the Peak District, with its amazing views of the picturesque Towns and Villages.  George Todica, who was to accompany me for the concert, had traveled down from Glasgow and luckily without delay, which ensured that we both arrived in Stockport within ten minutes of each other, ready to catch the train to Buxton together.

Malcolm and Alison Bennison with Me before the concert

We were met at the station in Buxton by Malcolm and Alison Bennison who had kindly agreed to drive us the final 20 minutes to the Village.  Malcolm had arranged for the choir to perform an afternoon concert for the residents of Nicholson Court, a care home in the village, as many could not make it along to the evening performance. This concert was to celebrate the newly refurbished interior of the home. He asked if George and I would like to perform with them, we happily agreed, so our first stop was at Nicolson Court.

It was lovely to have the chance to sing for the residents, who were so friendly and made us feel really welcome.  It was lovely when talking to them after the concert to hear how music had touched their lives in so many different ways. After a light lunch, it was time for a sound check in the Church before getting changed for the evening performance.

Tideswell Church

Tideswell Village

It was a warm evening with clear blue skies, such a difference from my last visit when the heavens opened and poured continuously during the concert.  Nick Montague, the choir’s music director welcomed the audience and set the tone for the evening, which was friendly and relaxed.  Nick is the new music director for the choir and also directs a ladies choir called the Knutsford Star Choir in Knutsford where I went to school.

The choir’s programme included a wide variety of songs such as Anthem, Let it Be Me, What a Wonderful World and an amazing rendition of Right Said Fred ornamented with props and percussive instruments to add to the joyful atmosphere. Their performances were full of heart and sang with enthusiasm and panache.  They were skilfully accompanied throughout the evening by pianist Alison Wheeldon.

The Choir Singing Right Said Fred

Altogether After The Concert, the only person missing is Edwina Currie ( who was taking a picture too )

If you get the opportunity to go and watch the choir perform I would thoroughly recommend it, I believe they are going to provide some of the onboard entertainment on a Fred Olsen cruise to Scandinavia so if you happen to be on the same cruise you are in for a treat.

If you are from the local area and would like to try your hand at singing in the choir then you could go along to one of their rehearsals, which happen on a Tuesday evening from 7:30 pm at the old grammar school in Tideswell or give Thomas Eccles a call on 01298 872800.

I had an amazing time catching up Edwina Currie, the choir’s President, spending time with my friends and making some new ones, I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and I hope that I get to sing with the choir again in the future.  I wish them all every success in their future performances and I hope they continue to enjoy singing these beautiful songs as much as we all enjoyed listening to them.

Me With Maurice Hargreaves, a good friend, and an excellent singer

As I sign off tonight I do so in fond remembrance of my friend John Richie, he was a member of the choir for 30 years, a very talented musician whom I met at the Hazel Grove Music festival when I first started to sing seriously. His constant encouragement and kind words will always be remembered.

You can listen to my music on :

A Blast From The Past

June 17, 2018 — 41 Comments

On the 29th June 2018, I am excited to be singing again with my friends from the Tideswell Male Voice Choir. It is quite a special moment for me as it will be my last concert as a student before graduating from the Royal College of Music on the 6th July 2018. The concert will be held at St John the Baptist Church, Tideswell at 7:30 pm.

St John The Baptist Church, Tideswell

I remember fondly first meeting Maurice Hargreaves and John Richie, members of the choir when I first competed in the Hazel Grove Music festival back in 2009.  It was my first time in the festival competition and they were so supportive and encouraging and made the day extra special for me.

Prizes From My Time At The Hazel Grove Music Festival

Having had such a great time, I decided to come back the following year and enter even more classes.  This gave me the opportunity to expand my repertoire and improve my performance skills and develop friendships. So, when I was invited to sing with the Tideswell Male Voice Choir at the Romiley Forum on the 18th August 2012 you can imagine how excited I was.

My First Performance In Romiley With Tideswell Male Voice Choir

Over the years that followed I continued my association with the choir and found the camaraderie of the members so encouraging, it was always a thrill to perform alongside them.  With performances at St John’s Church, Gawsworth Hall, Stockport Plaza,  and the Buxton Opera House in 2013 and 2014.

So when I return to Tideswell on the 29th June it will be a time to catch up with old friends, make some new ones, and create new memories to carry with me over the years to come.

St John The Baptist Church, Tideswell, 2013 Hosted By Edwina Currie

Singing With The Choir At Gawsworth Hall

Never Forget Remembrance Concert With The Choir, Buxton Opera House 2014

 

Here in the UK, it is Father’s Day today and I want to wish my Dad a wonderful Father’s Day and hope that all the Dad’s out there have a fabulous day too.

 

You can listen to my music on :

Madama Butterfly

June 14, 2015 — 49 Comments

I’m currently working on the score for the chorus of Madama Butterfly for a one night only production at the end of the month.  I have been asked to play the character La Zia and understudy for the role of Kate by my first classical singing Teacher, Jayne Wilson.

Madama-Butterfly-Blog

 

I last performed with Jayne back in November 2013 when I was asked to take part in a fund raiser for the Bowdon Youth festival hosted by Edwina Currie, who commented in the Messenger newspaper :

There were also two stunning solos by soprano Charlotte Hoather and a duet with Jayne Wilson, artistic director of Bowdon Festival.

Jayne previously taught Charlotte. Edwina Currie said: “It was a pleasure for all of us – and especially to hear Jayne Wilson’s magnificent duet with Charlotte, after all the praises we’ve heard sung about her. That can’t be a one-off, we have to hear that again”.

Jayne is to play the role of Madama Butterfly in the opera which is to be performed at St Mary’s Church in Bowdon on the 27th June at 7:30 pm.

St-mary's-Church-

St Mary’s Church, Bowdon © Copyright David Dixon

This beautiful opera by Giacomo Puccini ( 1858 – 1924 ) is based on a short novel John Luther Long.  The story takes us to Japan at the turn of the last century.

Madame-Butterfly-Book

Act 1

As the opera opens we finds ourselves in Nagasaki, Japan.  The year is 1904 and an American naval officer Benjamin Pinkerton seeks the help of a local marriage broker named Goro to locate a house to lease, a lease he was told would come with a pretty young Japanese wife.  Goro assured Pinkerton not to worry as both the lease on the house and the arranged marriage could be ended with just a month’s notice.

This suited the Naval officer as he could not wait to return home to America to marry a proper American wife. However the young Japanese girl had other ideas, seeing the arrangement as far more than a passing fancy.  In her excitement to be the best possible wife she converted to Christianity in a bid to please her new American husband to be.

Her name was CioCio-San which is the Japanese word for “Butterfly” and she was only 15 years of age. She was so happy as the date of the marriage ceremony approached, which was to take place in the house that Goro had found for them both to live in.  However her happiness is short lived as her Uncle, the Bonze, arrives at the house to condemn her religious conversion.  Her family turn their backs on her leaving the poor young girl devastated and ostracised. Her despair is broken as she sings a love duet with her new Husband in the home they are to live in.

Old-Poster

Act 2

Three years have past and we find Butterfly in the house waiting for Pinkerton’s return.  He had left her shortly after their marriage returning to America. Though Butterfly’s maid Suzuki tries to convince her that her husband will not be returning the advice falls on deaf ears.  Since Pinkerton’s departure Goro has tried unsuccessfully to persuade Butterfly to take a new husband. Butterfly is utterly convinced that one day her husband, Pinkerton will return and along with their child they will all be a family again.

The American Consul, Sharpless arrives at the house with a letter from Pinkerton along with the news that he is to return to Japan. But seeing her and knowing the letter’s contents he cannot bring himself to read it to her.  He beseeches her to marry one of her suitors, Prince Yamadori but Butterfly will not consider it at all.  She instead reveals to Sharpless that before Pinkerton left she had become pregnant and proudly shows her son to him.  She explains that she called her son “Trouble” who upon Pinkerton’s return she will rename “Joy”.  She pleads with Sharpless to tell Pinkerton of their beautiful son and he promises to tell him about the child.

As Pinkerton’s ship docks in the harbour Butterfly decorates the house displaying her overwhelming joy at the return of her husband.  Through the night she waits for Pinkerton to return to her and their son.

Madama-Butterfly-01

Act 3

The morning arrives and Suzuki wakes as we see Butterfly finally succumbs to her exhaustion and falls asleep.  Sharpless, Pinkerton and his new American wife Kate arrive at the house.  Pinkerton has persuaded Kate to take in the child and raise it as their own but as they approach the house he sees the decorations and cannot face meeting Butterfly, he acknowledges his cowardice and leaves everyone to sort out the mess that he had created.  Butterfly finally sees the helplessness of her situation and reluctantly agrees to give up her child, but only if Pinkerton comes to collect their son himself.  The final scene is set Pinkerton is contacted and agrees to return to meet with Butterfly.  Butterfly in turn prepares her son to meet his father for the first time and readies him to leave to live with him. The tension builds as we see everything unfold before our eyes………

madame-butterfly

But if you want to know how it ends you will have to go and watch it 🙂

Madama-Butterfly-Poster