I have had a wonderful weekend of song, gathering with friends to remember the lives of those lost during the conflicts of the last Century.
I sang alongside the terrific Tideswell Male Voice Choir in Tideswell’s Armistice Concert on Saturday 10th November. Malcolm Bennison, the choirs’ Chairman, created an interesting and thoughtful program dedicated to telling the stories of the young men and women who fought for their freedom and their country. The concert picked out the tales of six young men who volunteered to fight in the First World War from the Tideswell area. Sadly they were amongst the many men from this local area who perished in the Great War. Their letters, stories, and family history were shared by three members of the Tideswell living History Group, Gill Adams, Ruth Wilson, and Janyce Ashley. These readings were introduced by Charles Foster, a successful voice-over artist best known for being the voice in the courtroom for Judge Rinder. Charles Foster also provided a narration for the evening bringing the memories to life for everyone present.
The Choir Surprised Me With An Impromptu “Happy Birthday Song” At The End Of The Evening.
I performed a selection of songs suggested by Nick Montague, the Musical Director for the Tideswell Male Voice Choir, accompanied by the lovely Alison Wheeldon. These included: “We’ll Meet Again”, “Danny Boy”, “Roses of Picardy”, “We’ll Gather Lilacs” and “Jerusalem” and I have included links to two of the recordings from the evening.
Today’s Rachmaninov recital at Pushkin House in Bloomsbury, London was made extra special for me as my friends Hilary and Edwin journeyed into central London to come and support me. As this was my very first public performance of Russian song knowing that their friendly faces were in the audience gave me a huge boost. It was great to catch up with them during the event and I hope they had a safe journey home. It was lovely to meet up with Norman Cooley who has been a huge help to me with both his advice and support when he comes along to my performances in London.
The day went well and I was so pleased for Maya Soltan who has worked tirelessly putting these two recitals together and I wish her every success for next week’s recital. It was a joy to perform alongside such a talented group of performers in a fabulous setting.
Next week I have been invited to perform as part of a Remembrance Concert that the Tideswell Male Voice Choir are presenting at the ‘Cathedral of The Peak’ St John The Baptist Church, Tideswell, in Derbyshire on Saturday 10th November 2018 at 7:30 pm. The concert will be bringing together both the memories of Tideswell men who died in the Great War presented by Tideswell Living History Group and songs that became associated with great conflicts of the 20th Century. We hope that the concert will help remember those who gave up so much in an uplifting and celebratory way so their memories live on as we strive to work together to keep the peace made possible by their sacrifices.
I hope you don’t mind me finishing my post today by sharing this video with you that is a celebration of ten years of contemporary art creations by my good blog friend Eric Jackson, he set his pictures to the Scots Song by James MacMillan which is one of my favourites from my Studies in Scotland. Eric has been such a source of inspiration for me as he has followed his own dream, and I would encourage you to check out some of his amazing work.
As the summer draws to a close and the autumn approaches I wanted to put together a short reprise of what I have been up to since graduating from the Royal College of Music Masters course at the beginning of July.
The Minack Theatre reviewer Jenni Barlow wrote that ‘her ears were ringing and singing with sheer ecstasy and my head is still spinning with delight after watching one of the Minack’s most exhilarating musical productions….the voices of its nine principle singers are sublime…, with Charlotte Hoather giving a remarkable performance on the opening night, effortlessly hitting the top, very high notes, as well as achieving perfect comic timing, in partnership with the impeccable Stephen Anthony Brown.’ I was thrilled when this was sent to me.
After traveling back to London for rehearsals, it was on to Waterperry House in Oxfordshire to perform the role of Maria Bertram in Waterperry Opera Festival’s production of Jonathan Dove’s Mansfield Park. The production received a five-star review in Bachtrack this week by Charlotte Valori, “Waterperry Opera Festival has broken new ground in its first season, opening with an ambitiously broad programme which presented four different works in four different spaces […] The jewel of these four was the chance to see Jonathan Dove’s Mansfield Park in the period-perfect setting of Waterperry House […] Charlotte Hoather’s precocious, determined Maria Bertram displayed a deep and sensitive understanding of her complex character […] Mansfield Park sparkled with wit and ingenuity from start to finish.”
Now having had such a wonderful summer full of learning, I have to start preparations for next year, starting the audition process all over again. I have a couple of smaller projects underway at present and can’t wait to share them with you as Autumn progresses. But until then I have my return to the role of Uccellina in BambinO for Scottish Opera in their tour this September.
One of the locations that we will be visiting is Lerwick in the Shetland Isles and I was excited to see my blog friend Cindy Knoke’s blog post today on the Town, the most Northerly town in the UK, with some amazing pictures.
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.
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.
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
I would like to announce that the Box office for Waterperry Opera Festival, located a stone’s throw from Oxford, is now open. I will be participating in the company’s inaugural production of Mansfield Park, a chamber opera in two Acts by Jonathan Dove, based on the novel by Jane Austen. The performances will take place on the 18th and 19th August 2018 at 2pm. The ticket will also include access to the splendid Waterperry Gardens where you can explore the estate, with its Riverside walk, numerous gardens, Medieval Church, Museum and much more. I am looking forward to trying an afternoon tea and the homemade cakes in their Tea shop between rehearsals.
In the opera, I will perform the role of Maria Bertram, who is the eldest daughter of Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram. Fanny Price the novel’s protagonist, is Maria’s cousin, yet their relationship isn’t a close one.
During this snapshot of her life, Maria is engaged to Mr. Rushworth, an eligible match due to his wealth and property. However, Maria finds him tedious and his conversations dull. In contrast, she admires Henry Crawford, with whom after much flirtation, she falls in love. However, at times he is quite manipulative and uses her interest for his own gain and unfortunately, he does not love her back.
I’m looking forward to playing Maria Bertram as she is quite confident, at times arrogant, and her rebellious nature finds her in situations that cause a few scandals. Perhaps not always likable, but her involvement in the story allows us to glimpse the restrictions women dealt with during this period and how ‘ill’ choices can lead to a ruined reputation and being shunned by society.
I won’t continue to discuss the story in detail, in case you would like to read the novel that the opera is based on. I would certainly recommend it or perhaps listen to an audiobook. I particularly enjoyed BBC4’s dramatisation of the novel with David Tennant, Felicity Jones, and Benedict Cumberbatch performing.
I am on the lookout for a visual dramatisation of the novel at the moment so that I can study appropriate movements and gestures as well as fill my imagination with settings, costumes, and objects of the period. If you would like to share any personal insights I would be very interested to hear your voices.
UPDATE: Only 15 tickets left for the performance on Saturday 18th August.
The first week of rehearsals for Candide with Surrey Opera has started with a bang! I am working alongside such talented colleagues and I look forward to sharing the rehearsal process with you over the coming weeks, I’d like to try to get some photographs but its always difficult if you’re in the middle of the lively action.
You can listen to all my albums recorded in 2014 and 2016 on these popular streaming services, this will help me to keep up my singing and coaching training now I’m cut loose from the college environment, thanks in advance for any help you can give me by taking a listen:
Yesterday Sunday 9th November, at Lunch time the soloists and several members of the Tideswell Male Voice Choir had a run through of some of the songs from the evening show at Best Western’s Lee Wood Hotel in Buxton, a lovely venue, it was a lovely warm sunny day for November, having sampled the delicious carvery I can recommend it if you find yourself in Buxton.
The Tideswell Male Voice Choir ‘Never Forget’ show was a very special event, it was a very ambitious project and was a full journey of emotions sharing an assortment of music, dance, and poetry to help us pay tribute to the men and women who fought and still do for our freedom. As Edwina Currie, the Tideswell MWC President wrote “We are commemorating not only the centenary of the First World War, the ‘War to end all wars’ as it was called at the time, but to remember the lives of men and women in so many human conflicts over more than 200 years.”
We had audience participation too with a sing-along of old favourites; Its A Long Way to Tipperary; Pack Up Your Troubles; Keep the Home Fires Burning; There’ll Be Blue Birds Over the White Cliffs of Dover. Everyone was in fine voice and enjoyed it with all the words in their complimentary program. I sang ‘Danny Boy’ and ‘Jerusalem’ after the sing-along with everyone joining in which was just lovely, very moving for me.
The evening was brought to a close with a minute’s silence to allow everyone time for reflection and remembrance which was very touching and I prayed for peace which I know most of us wish for.
Armistice Day, the 11th November 1918 saw the ceasefire on the Western front . The date was both a celebration of the war drawing to a close and a time to think about those who did not return or carried the wounds they received during the fighting. I have always been aware that the date was special to many people and over the years I have become more aware as to the reasons why.
It will be my 21st birthday tomorrow on Armistice day and though I will be spending the time with my family to celebrate a milestone in my life we will still remember the importance of the day to so many others.
I have had a fabulous time over the last couple of weeks and I just don’t know where the time has gone. I was really overwhelmed by all your kind wishes and lovely comments for my birthday. I have not been able to answer them all and have to dash back into school now so a BIG thank you to everyone 🙂
I would like to thank Simon Bull a photographer who took some pictures at the concert who has given me permission to include them in my post.
It has been a hectic four weeks since the start of term and I’m enjoying being back at the Conservatoire and trying to plan the year ahead. I would like to thank everyone for your comments and contributions to my first piece of “Critical Writing”. It was really helpful to be able to read through your suggestions and I will try really hard to incorporate them when I have to write my next draft, I will keep you all posted :). It’s a challenging time deciding how to plan out my year and fit in all of the new repertoire and skills I need to learn.
This November I have been asked to join the Tideswell Male Voice Choir to sing in their ‘Never Forget’ remembrance concert, under the musical direction of Dennis Kay along with Christopher Ellis on piano and Des McGill on percussion. The evening will also feature Corus Brass, renowned poet F. Philip Holland and vocal soloists Matthew Mellor, Erin Alexander, Madeleine Osborne, Philip Rigley and Kieron-Connor Valentine.
This year, 2014 commemorates the 100th anniversary of the start of the first world war and there have been a large number of events to help remember those who sacrificed so much during the four year conflict.
The ‘Never Forget’ evening will unfold through dance, visual effects and poetry and offer the audience a feast of delight. The show will pay tribute not only to the heroes of Flanders Fields but also to all those who have made sacrifices in other theatres of conflict down the years and throughout the world.
After practising my songs, all I have to do now is decide which dress to wear for the evening, decisions decisions 🙂
The first of the two concerts will take place in Chesterfield’s Pomegranate Theatre:
And the following evening in Buxton’s Opera House:
Postcodes for the events are Chesterfield S41 7TX and Buxton SK17 6XN
Tonight’s post is only a short one as my brother Matt is coming home tonight as it is his birthday later this week and I am looking forward to spending some time with him.:)
Here is a video of my performance of “Wishing You were Somehow Here Again” from “The Phantom Of The Opera” which I hope will give you a flavour of the concert.
I had such a wonderful time last Sunday performing with the Tideswell Male Voice Choir at Gawsworth Hall. It was great to perform again with the choir who always make me feel so welcome, especially Dennis Kay ( the musical director ) who makes this all possible The Tudor house and gardens provided an incredible setting for the concert and I want to say a big thank you to Christopher Ellis ( keyboards ) and Derrick McGill ( percussion ) for the truly atmospheric accompaniment.
“One Voice” – the opening song from the concert
I found out that we had a professional photographer in the audience last Sunday who has kindly allowed us to use some of the pictures that he took.
Here is a picture of Matthew Mellor performing “Master Of The House” from “Les Miserables”. It was great fun to join in with the rest of the choir to help set the scene
What a whirlwind of a day yesterday at the beautiful Gawsworth Hall Theatre. This beautiful ancient Cheshire Manor House with its Tudor courtyard forms the backdrop for the venue. Fortunately the Grandstand and performers areas are covered and protected from most of the elements; however it rained throughout the rehearsals as we caught the tail end of hurricane Bertha 🙁
I began my day at 8am by having a good breakfast following which a skilled hairdresser looped my hair and pinned it into place ready for the performance that night.
This month I’d discovered that a friend from Tap class and High School had qualified as a beautician; Daniella is now working freelance and building her own business which I really admire. I hardly ever wear much makeup, usually only for stage work, or for special occasions, so consequently I’m not very experienced. I usually end up getting mascara all up my eyelids and if I’ve already put eye shadow on that’s a bit annoying, blending powders and not getting a chin line is a skill I’m still mastering and let’s not mention my attempts at eye liner! So I took the opportunity to have a master-class from Danielle ready for the performance, great fun and lovely to catch up.
You all know by now that I have a wonderful amount of support from my family and friends, yesterday my parents drove me to the event for 1pm for a meeting and full cast rehearsals. I got the opportunity to rehearse my first act songs, ‘Think of Me’ and ‘Wishing you were Somehow Here Again’ from the Phantom of the Opera with Christopher Ellis and Derrick McGill ( Des ) who provided atmospheric accompaniment including timpani, trills and skills. My brother Tom said that they added so much to the songs and he was really impressed.
The audience came dressed for the weather and were not put off by the chance of more rain .
It was great to see everyone was in the mood for a great show.
During my first solo song, “Think Of Me” from “The Phantom Of The Opera”.
Then with a cloak to help set the scene for my next song “Wishing You were Somehow Here Again” from “the Phantom Of The Opera”.
After the interval and a quick change I performed Eponine’s songs “On My Own” and “A Little Fall Of Rain” from “Les Miserables”.
Then good fortune shone down on us,the rain cleared up just before the performance, and although it was still quite windy the skies stayed that way until the end of the show. On the way home the rain poured down for the entire journey with the roads flooding.
I loved that despite the weather people still brought their gazebos and enjoyed their picnics overlooking the beautiful lake, we’re hardy souls us Brits. 🙂