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
It’s that time of year when we can thank someone who is very special, for their support, love, and reliability. In the U.K., today is Father’s Day and my dad is my superhero. He has superhuman powers of dedication and supports my crazy dream of becoming an opera singer. Especially on days when I need reminding that the final push or the hard work is worth it and that I can achieve anything I put my mind to. The belief he has in me is magical and I swear he gives phenomenal pep talks that he could tour the country giving to people. He has the power to make anyone feel great and always finds the positive in any situation. He is proud of the smallest achievements and always reminds me that when they are all added together these tiny tasks come together to make a huge accomplishment. What seemed insurmountable at the beginning, broken down into smaller tasks is suddenly not so bad and the sense of accomplishment on completion can be breathtaking. I love my dad so much and I’m so thankful that he is my dad.
He is also courageous and he has a fighting spirit that encourages him to never give up. He has taken many risks in his lifetime through business and life choices. Sometimes they pay off and other times they don’t, but he would never regret trying something and once started would never give up. It reminds me of when we all (my dad, my brothers and I) went to karate and we were training for fighting and he got kicked in his side and broke a rib, but he stayed for the whole session because me and my brothers were having so much fun and were learning new skills, he just got on with it and always encourages us to do the same.
My Dad and Me on my graduation day
He has the strong moral code of a superhero and will help people in need, he has taught me right and wrong in life. He also had a keen sense of motivation and a sense of responsibility in which he wants to provide for his loved ones so that we can do anything we dream of as long as we all work hard for it. He is extremely intelligent and honest, even though I joke that this was soaked up by my elder brother Matthew who is incredibly smart. My dad loves Manchester City Football Club and this love and dedication continue in my younger brother Thomas. My dad’s undying love for my mum is also something from a fairy tale, and did I mention he makes the most amazing mash!! (Mash potato)
My third year at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is over, it’s gone so fast. This week I had the pleasure of being invited to take part in the ‘Young Classical Artists Summer School’ organised by Fife Youth Arts Hub. This was the first of its kind and I was very excited to be working on this pilot project.
The week was led by professional artists and teachers: Judith Howarth, Gordon Wilson and Frances McCafferty, who were fabulous and very informative to work with. The rehearsals took place in the very friendly Adam Smith Theatre in Kirkcaldy. It was here that I received one-to-one coaching sessions with Judith daily and and group stage theatre workshops with Tina West, Acting and Performing Fife college and Tommy Small, BBC radio 2 Artist in Residence.
We also had the opportunity to signup to work with three wonderful repetiteurs Geoffrey Tanti, Beth Jerem and Alan Gibson. I had the pleasure to work with all three and they scrutinized my Italian pronunciation and musicality. Hard work but very fulfilling. Over the course of the five days I worked on a few Mozart arias and two scenes: one from Carmen and the other from La Traviata. For me, I found getting my mouth and tongue around the Italian words in the fast recit to be quite tricky, but the coaches were on hand to help break this challenge into easier bite-size tasks. I’ve learnt from their guidance; most importantly that something that seems quite daunting at first can in fact be approachable and achievable with the right mindset, hard-work, manageable goals and encouragement.
On Wednesday we went to Saint Andrews University and I performed in the masterclass along with fellow young artists from the workshop and three artists from Byre Opera who were performing that evening in a production of Gluck’s “Iphigenie In Taurus”. It was brilliant to observe singers in action as I could see elements of the advice I’d been given during sessions, such as whether I believed the acting and the decisions behind the intentions and whether this aided the progression of the story.
I believe I have learnt a great deal from this course, and I hope it can turn into an annual event in which singers can gain experience of performance and improve their craft.
Just to conclude, as its Father’s Day I would love to send some kisses and cuddles to my Dad, and thank him for his unwavering support and guidance as I go on this journey to explore classical singing. He is my rock and similar to the advice Judith gave me in one of my singing lessons he always told me to be courageous, and to act on something even if you have little element of fear.
I am just going to put it out there, my dad is spectacular.
I have been very lucky to have been showered in love and affection continuously through out my life because my Dad is not just a man who is related to me, my dad has always and still encourages me to critically think for myself and allows me to make small mistakes. He helped me discover my thirst for knowledge and endeavoured to teach me, such as the answer AND the method for that horrible maths equation that all the kids could do. So that I learnt that anything can be explained and understood if you take the time that you need. He taught me how to tie my shoe laces (Bunny ears and all), so that I could be independent and stand on my own two feet. He taught me not to listen to the whispers and the jibes of others and appose this negativity by singing the praises of others and of myself. He taught me that you can spend a lot of time doing what you don’t like in life so take the risk at doing something you do love, and not to be broken down when you fall because you can always get back up.
I love my dad because he lead by example, when he was young he dreamt of a life far beyond his current means and he strived to reach it. He began as a teenager by making and selling his own ice cream and cold melon slices on the beach in Wales. He then bravely left home at 17 on an apprenticeship as a technical author, he took a home study course on computers and taught himself how to weave magical codes and solve cryptic problems with unusual algorithms. He worked hard to build a business from scratch which then magnificently developed when he extended it to his new family, Mum joined him in the business after two years and later they both encouraged my siblings and I to work our way through the ranks at the bottom. My first job for them was as a cleaner, and it was one of the best lessons they taught me, I understand it can be therapeutic, but when I first started work someone had the trots and had a messy aim and it put me off for life. But I have lived with my dad, I have watched him come in exhausted from working on my birthday, to a church hall full of children, but he managed to smile and re-energise himself for our special days, dancing and throwing me in the air! I have seen him when the computers have crashed and all seems lost, but he rises like a phoenix out of the catalytic carnage and solves the problem.
But he has also been the father who helped clean my cuts and grazes after bicycle and pogo stick accidents, the father who took me to early pre-exam ballet class on Sunday mornings where he learnt how to tie ballerina buns so sensationally that the other mums, who originally laughed at his poor creations, got him to do the hair on examination day, I couldn’t be prouder haha. He was also the father that bought my first music book, and drove me to my first lesson and from then on every drive was a pep talk, even now when I am far from home I get managerial encouraging texts and I love them. He was also my first knight in shining armour and has been there for me when my heart is broken or for those moments when I need a cuddle. But beware boys, he is a second dan black belt now in karate and is quite efficient at making sure this doesn’t happen very often. haha
I love you Dad and I am sorry that I’m not at home this father’s day, but you mean the world to me!
Whilst putting this together I was reading the messages coming in on my Twitter and I would like to share these two with you. the first was a message from
Happy Fathers Day to all the wonderful dads out there, including the ones who have our hearts in heaven! Gone but never forgotten!
The second was a video from Peter@yvrblogger which is very moving “We Rise Again”
Ps a big thank you to my brother Tom for helping with the header poster, I always knew your graphic design skills were going to come in handy after you A*’d your graphics exam 🙂