Archives For Glasgow

Theatre Royal Glasgow

October 15, 2014 — 23 Comments

Outside The Theatre This Evening With My Friends Nathan Jenkins And Jessica Hurst Just Before The Opera This Evening

I walked past the Theatre Royal extension this morning on my way in to college excited at the prospect of my visit to watch the opera being shown there this evening. It has been amazing to watch the building change over the months into what will be a beautiful addition to Glasgow’s architecture.


The Theatre Royal, Glasgow Before The Construction Started.

In 1974 the theatre was purchased by Scottish Opera from STV to become the first national opera house in Scotland and also became the home of Scottish Ballet. Over the years that followed the theatre was updated and refurbished creating a fabulous environment to watch live entertainment and one that I would love to perform in one day.


The Plans For The New Entrance And Foyer

In 2011 Scottish Opera had plans drawn up to build an new signature entrance on Cowcaddens Road which was described as “a gilded splendour” incorporating the “sculptural shape of the main theatre into the new foyers in a contemporary manner”.  The project is expected to cost about £ 14,000,000.00 and is considered very ambitious and when finished will create a new foyer on four levels with a feature staircase.  So when it opens in December I cant wait to have a look around, if the new entrance is as stunning on the inside as it looks on the outside then it will be worth the wait.


Nearly Finished – The Entrance Takes Shape

Here are some of the productions on the program for the next few weeks, which as you can see are varied and full of things for everyone 🙂  from Scottish Opera’s La Cenerentola; J B Priestley’s Dangerous Corner; Agatha Christie’s Black Coffee; Richard Alston Dance Company; Beyond the Barricade; An Evening of Burlesque to The Magic of Motown.


La Cenerentola – Rossini

Scottish Opera – “Cinderella is the ultimate rags to riches tale. Featuring a host of colourful characters, this new production is a highly entertaining take on one of Rossini’s most popular comedies. With music that’s bright, breathless and full of energy, it’s a Cinderella story…but not quite as you may know it.”

Marie Curie is a UK based charity that provides care for people with terminal illnesses both through their hospices and through the nurses they employ to provide care at home. In 2012/13 they provided over 1.3 million hours of nursing care and to continue with their work they need to continually raise money through charitable events and donations.  70% of their funding comes in this way with the remainder being provided by the NHS.


So I was thrilled to be asked to sing again at one of their fundraising events at the Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery. When I saw the venue I was amazed at the beauty of the room and I could sense the history of the building.


The floating heads in the foyer were definitely a talking point.

The evening was billed as the must attend event of the year in the Glasgow calendar with businesses competing against each other for the title of the “Brainiest Company in Glasgow”


The view of the room from the balcony was amazing.

For my part I was to perform at the end of the evening meal and was very excited about the opportunity.  When I found out that it was to be a formal banquet I jumped at the chance to get dressed up, as if I really needed an excuse 🙂


George Todica when we first arrived at the venue.

George Todica skilfully accompanied me on piano for the performance, it was tremendous fun and we enjoyed every minute of it. I met some lovely people and enjoyed talking with them throughout the evening.


Lorna and Gordon, the organisers of the event.

Two of the quiz-masters for the evening were Sean Biggerstaff ( who played Oliver Wood in the Harry Potter movies ) and Cat Cubie a prestenter from BBC Scotland.



Cat Cubie



Ready Or Not Here I Come.

September 17, 2014 — 59 Comments

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 🙂


Inside the quadrangle which house the Geography department.


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.


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.


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.


He just had to share his great find with us 🙂


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.



Glasgow University

This Friday, 12th September, my family are dropping my younger brother Tom off at the University of Glasgow for his first day. My eldest brother Matthew and I have been trying to advise him on what to pack and to help him decide what items he needs to take with him for the big move. Luckily my Mum went to Wilko’s and bought most of the items he might need for his next few months of self-catering, self-laundry, and self-organisation. I wish him all the best with the next step and secretly I am quite glad he’s not too far from me, so I can give him a cuddle any time he gets home sick.


With just one week to the Scottish Independence vote we could both be studying in an independent Scotland from the 19th of September 2014. I wonder if that will make any difference to us, I read one article in the Guardian  that asked if I will need to show my passport to enter and leave Scotland! (the article says not). It is brilliant that Scottish teenagers can vote from the age of 16.

My brother Tom came to help me with my lunchtime recital today in Rochdale, with Russell Lomas accompanying me and with a very enthusiastic audience I had a great time. I performed alongside a fabulous clarinettist called Elliot Gresty, who will going on to study at the RCM this September. I wish him all the best with his studies, and I can’t wait to hear him in the future. At the concert I sang a collection of English Songs, which I had not previously performed. A first outing of a song is always exciting, I hope the audience enjoyed them.


My Recital Today With Russell Lomas In Rochdale.

My last recital before starting back to University will be in Preston, Lancashire on Friday the 19th September following which it is straight up the motorway and back to Glasgow ready for the start of term. The amazing Russell Lomas will be accompanying me and Elizabeth Lawton, (Flute) will be sharing the concert with me. Not one to be missed. 🙂


Trying Something New

July 23, 2014 — 52 Comments

Last weekend I was offered a chance to try my hand at archery and in the spirit of the commonwealth games I jumped at the chance to give a go.  The only archery I had ever seen was either in cartoons or when watching Robin Hood so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I had the impression that maybe there would be a nice round target in a very, very big field, after all would you want to stand anywhere near a complete beginner 🙂

We arrived at a secluded wooded area and there were no colourful targets in sight!  Instead there were large plastic bottles on sticks which we were to try and hit.  But having watched my friends have a go the competitor in me took over and I was determined to give it my very best.




I shot the first arrow, it was not as easy as I had imagined but I was not going to let it get the better of me. I listened to the advice and my shots were getting closer to hitting the bottle.  I just could not find the strength to pull the bow back far enough to match my more experienced friends, but I was improving.


Then finally I hit the bottle, the bottle moved on the stick and the arrow hit the ground behind it 🙂  I was over the moon and really pleased with my efforts, it was such good fun to try a new sport and though all you field archers out there won’t have any serious competition from me any time soon it is something that I would love to try again.


So though I wont be in Glasgow for the start of the 2014 Commonwealth Games today I will be there in spirit. I believe that the opening ceremony at 2100 BST is expected to be fabulous so I will have to catch it on the BBC website when I get home. I hope that the games are a great success and that the competitors enjoy the experience and my new home City. Good luck to everyone involved 🙂


Here is a link to a little test that the BBC have put on their website to see what Commonwealth Games sport may suit you 🙂 Why not give it a go and let me know what it suggests.

On Sunday 22nd June, my last day in Scotland, I dragged a friend along to a Big Big Sing workshop, if you sing regularly with other people, you will know how it lifts your spirits.


It was a great session and everybody there seemed to have a great time. Sadly as I wont be in Glasgow during the Commonwealth games I didn’t audition for the choir 🙁 Can you spot us in the picture ?

The concept is such a great idea that I wanted to share it with you. I know that there are similar projects in many different countries and the first time I came across such a scheme was from one of my Australian blog friends who told me all about Sing Australia. I remembered at the time thinking what a great idea so when the chance came along to get involved right here in Glasgow I jumped at the chance.

The Big Big Sing booklet reminds members that specific benefits of singing include:
• Improved concentration
• Endorphins are released
• Improved breathing and posture
• Increases confidence
• A great way to meet new friends


The Big Big Sing aims to inspire thousands of people across the UK to join in and celebrate the Commonwealth Games, held in Glasgow this year, through singing, and to make the soundtrack to the Games. You can learn more at

The Big Big Sing in Glasgow on the 27th July, 2014, will bring together thousands of singers for a day of song and celebration.

Here are a couple copies of the booklets if you are interested in what we got up to a s a group, just click on the pictures to see a larger image.




Later on in the afternoon I went to watch the 10th Scottish International Piano Competition Final. The very first competition was established in 1986 and was won by a teacher at my College called Graeme McNaught.


As my friend Daniel Petrica Ciobanu from Romania had been selected to perform in this years competition I had already watched several of the earlier rounds. Daniel made it to the semi finals along with nine other very talented pianists, selected from a very strong field of 28 competitors from around the world. The semi finalists were :

Mohamed Shams
Beatrice Magnani
Liana Gevgoryan
Daniel Petrica Ciobanu
Jianing Kong
Jonathan Fournel
Dinara Klinton
Ilya Maximov
David Gray
Liana Paniyeva


Daniel Petrica Ciobanu

Each of the four finalists played a concerto with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.  I listened intently, made notes of each performance and how each chosen song made me feel.  From this I selected my four placements and went out to tea as I was catching my train home that same evening.

I was pleasantly impressed with myself when I got the four finalists in the correct order.  My favourite piece was the Brahms played by Jonathan.  The international jury chaired by Aaron Shorr included;  Dimitri Alexeev, Hyoung-Joon Chang, Ian Fountain, Martino Tirimo, Olga Kern, Steve Osborne,  and Wu Ying.

The finalists were :

1st Jonathan Fournel – France
2nd Ilya Maximov – Russia
3rd Jianing Kong – China
4th David Gray – Glasgow/Scotland

The first prize was fabulous including :

The Alexander Stone Memorial Trophy
The Frederick Lamond Gold Medal (gifted by Harry Henderson)
A Bluthner Grand Pianoforte (awarded by the Alfred-Reinhold Stiffung Foundation)
A series of concert engagements with the RNSO (2014-2014 season)
An opportunity to record a CD/DVD with support from the Duet Foundation
And £10,000.

In addition to the above there were prizes awarded to each of the ten semi-finalists.

You can still listen or download the contestants performances from the website 

The Big G

June 4, 2014 — 29 Comments



The Big G is a giant Commonwealth Games logo which was revealed this week and it is fast becoming a symbol celebrating the countdown to the games and the planned city wide festivities.

From July 23rd to 3rd August 2014 the Commonwealth Games are coming to Glasgow and it won’t just be about sport. Festival 2014 will showcase many of the exciting activities you can find here in Glasgow, the two weeks of festivities will be held during the games and will celebrate Glasgow as a cultural hotbed of music, theatre and the arts. Check out

Festival 2014 for Culture

Festival 2014 for Culture

You can feel the buzz surrounding the games, all over the city the sense of anticipation is growing day by day as the city landscapes change around us, here is a picture of George Square before the changes.  I think having the flowers, grass and huge eruption of colour that the logo provides certainly bring the square to life.


George Square Before The Big G Was Unveiled

Glasgow is one of the UKs largest cities and the people of Glasgow make the City the wonderful place that it is. Some events like shooting will take place outside the City in Carnoustie (Angus); diving will take place in Edinburgh and the triathlon will take place in Strathclyde Country Park.


The Commonwealth Games were first held in Canada in 1930. Glasgow will welcome athletes from around the world to compete in 17 sports in 11 days. Game On Scotland says there are 6500 athletes from 71 nations. Sports range from lawn bowls to judo, track events to gymnastics.

Para-Sport at Glasgow features the biggest ever number of Para-Sport medal events in the history of the games, 22 events.