2015, what a year!

The second half of 2015 turned out to be incredibly busy. So busy I didn’t even have a moment to write about it! So, here is a whistle-stop tour of the rest of 2015!

After a superb couple of weeks Oxenfoord Sceneson the Isle of Skye with InnerSound, I went straight into the Oxenfoord International Summer School for Singers and Accompanists. I had a great week taking part in the course, as well as running the daily warm-up sessions (LOTS of fun and games) and helping out with the general administration.

ES AT WORKSeptember saw the return of Endelienta Scholars to dear old St. Endellion for another superb concert. We really pushed ourselves with a bigger programme, a bigger choir and a bigger sound: and it was a huge success. We had David Fisk join us at our rehearsal weekend to capture some working-shots, and they are superb, do have a look on the Scholars’ website. We had a wonderfully appreciative audience at St. Endellion, and we all really enjoyed getting to grips with the music- some of which was quite tricky! I was thrilled to be the Soprano soloist for the Vaughan-Williams Mass in G, which I had not performed before, but had long enjoyed listening to. It was so special to perform it for the first time with some of my closest friends in one of my favourite performance venues. The spirit of Endellion continues to inspire!

 

ES posh photo

October was a month of hard work and preparation: I had to get in my applications for post-graduate music courses and prepare all the rep I needed. I spent my days travelling around different parts of London having consultation sessions and coaching sessions, trying to get everything ready for December- the month of audition doom!

wORKSHOP OXFORDI also took part in some incredibly rewarding workshops, organised by Fiona Dobie for those she knew were preparing for auditions. The first was a Singing and Acting workshop day with Fiona and Jacqui Crago- it was quite an intense day of soul searching to really get to grips with the poetry and meaning of our songs/arias, but so rewarding. Fiona also ran a workshop day on Feldonkreis, which is a little like Alexander Technique in motion. It was a super way to become more centred, more in tune with your body and how best to adjust your posture to help with technique. Perfect audition prep!

LorettoI was delighted to return to my old school, Loretto, for a performance of Rossini’s Petite Messe Sollenelle at the choral society’s annual Come and Sing. I also sang the Soprano solo in Mendelssohn’s Hear my prayer, which I had first learned during my days as a music scholar at Loretto. It was a great weekend: so much fun and superb music making. Once again I was joined by dear friends on the soloists podium, and it meant so much to work with some of my old music teachers. Along with my headmaster, Michael Mavor, they provided the encouragement and challenges that have put my feet on paths I couldn’t even have dreamed of. I owe them so much for the opportunities I was given at school. It was a joy to return to making music in the Chapel where it all began. I also spent a day working with some of the young singers currently at the school- from 2nd form to upper 6th, it was an honour to work with such bright young students. They really committed to the work and took on so many new things in just one day- we gave a short informal recital at the end of the day and I was so proud of each and every one of them.

As part of my preparation for auditions, I gave a couple of recitals in London. One lunchtime recital at St. Bride’s with John Cuthbert, and one evening event in St. Giles’ Cripplegate which I shared with my Mezzo-Friend from Oxenfoord, Charisse. Alice turner played so brilliantly, and we were all touched by how many friends and family came to support us.

st giles recita

Then, audition season. They all went really well- and I look forward to announcing my plans for next academic year very soon- watch this space!

 

 

A wonderful summer of sun, sea and…. singing!

Gondoliers!It all began on the Isle of Skye, where I was welcomed by the wonderful team at Innersound to their production of The Gondoliers. We arrived in time for our first rehearsal, when we walked through the WHOLE SHOW so that Charlotte (my fellow Gondolier) and I could get to grips with our blocking. Following a few individual principal dialogue calls, and some light choreography sessions, we ran the whole show again start to finish the next weekend. And before we could say ‘Cachucha’ we were in the dress rehearsal, and on with the run of 5 shows. With packed houses at every venue and lots of giggles on (and off!) stage, this was a show to be remembered!

Bravi Tutti!

Mozart Flute 1Next was the Oxenfoord International Summer School for singers and accompanists. A superb course where singers of various ages and stages all work together to support each other on their own individual singing paths. I have actually been going to this course since I was fifteen (!) and am now helping out with the administration/running of the course, as well as running killer warm up sessions (!). This year I also participated in the Opera Scenes and here is a cheeky snap of all three Spirit’s in action in an extract from Mozart’s Magic Flute.

Over the sea to Skye

DSCN6183In July 2012 I spent an incredible two weeks on the Isle of Skye, performing with Inner Sound. It was my first trip to the Island and my first show with the group. I fell for both, heart and soul.

This picture was taken from the stage door of our final venue. You can see why I loved it!

I am delighted to be returning there this year to play ‘Marco’ in their productions of The Gondoliers. Having played ‘Archibald’ in their 2012 production of Patience, i am no stranger to the challenge of playing a trouser-role, and greatly look forward to the fun and frolics that ensue.

Stay tuned for rehearsal snaps and updates on my time on the magical Isle of Skye!

Take two hundred…

There are some projects you just know are going to be exciting. Not necessarily easy, and not necessarily not-stressful, but you know it will be worth it.

One very cold and very rainy day in January, I was on the phone to the brilliant Oliver Tarney and he mentioned that the first performance of his Magnificat (commissioned for the 50th Anniversary of the Sing for Pleasure charity) had gone superbly well. Even better, they were looking into the possibility of recording it. BUT they had hardly any budget to speak of and needed space for a pretty large ensemble…

A flash of inspiration: why not use CHS? It has a brilliant acoustic, perfect for one of Oli’s compositions, not too much background noise (from motorways or airports), plenty of space for all the musicians and equipment… As I worked there, I was in the perfect position to get things moving.

score!So, we set about negotiating the details, and before too long we were all set to go. Led by the magnanimous Manvinder Rattan, Oli, Adaq (the sound engineer) and Dom (sing for pleasure), the admin team for this project continued to grow as we got it off the ground.

I was already heavily involved in the recording on the logistics team, but I was thrilled to be asked to sing the Soprano solos as well. The music was so interesting, I couldn’t WAIT to get a good look at the score! What’s more, Oli was using the texts in the scriptures that had inspired the Magnificat: exploring how Mary would have reacted aged 16 (!) to the news that she was to give birth to the Son of God: the fear and doubt; how her betrothed would feel; how the community around her would cast her out… The story was as alluring as the music. I was curious to learn as much as I could about the inspiration for the texts Oli had chosen and how that influenced his music. The preface to the score can be downloaded from his website and I would urge you to give it a read.

Through an amazing effort and the immense generosity of family and friends, we managed to raise the funding required to secure the recording project. READY, SET – GO!

18001543751_6d2d59f437_o10am Saturday 24th May: all the musicians are present and correct (except the wonderful double basses, who were en route from POLAND. Yes. Poland.) We worked tirelessly until 8pm on Saturday and got a good amount of the material ‘on tape’.

As many of us as could make it then sang the next morning in the Pentecost Eucharist and recording began again at 12.30 on Sunday 24th. We had to get the rest of the work down by 6pm that night. But we still had a lot of music to get through, and a very high standard of performance to reach… We were all genuinely trying to work out if we would make it….

By 5,59pm we had DONE IT. Baton down, huge smiles, applause, big hugs and RELIEF.

The Tarney recording project was all-consuming, even though I was just a small cog in a much bigger wheel, but it was SO rewarding. Musicians that were no more than colleagues at 10am on Saturday, were good friends by 6pm on Sunday. Each and every performer in the ensemble was determined to get the best possible result: for Oli, for Manvinder, for each other. I can’t wait to hear the finished product.

Details on how to get hold of your copy will be available in the Autumn!

Team photo

St. Endellion Easter Festival 2015

CornwallVIEWAs part of the St. Endellion Easter Festival committee, I have been working round the clock to prepare for the forthcoming festival: fixing the chorus; running the marketing; organising fun events through the week (kwick-cricket on the beach, choir vs orchestra- it gets messy); helping to fix the orchestra; proofing the programme; finding soloists; sorting logistics; putting together rehearsal timetables… There is so much to get done and it is non-stop! Every single one of us on the committee knows that it is all totally worth it though. We make a little corner of North Cornwall our home for a week of incredible music making.

This year promises to be an absolutely superb festival.  The programme includes a whole host of delights, such as Bach’s Magnificat (conducted by Eamonn Dougan); the Duruflé Requiem (conducted by James MacMillan); Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht; Purcell’s Fairy Queen Suite … the list goes on! 8 concerts, 2 services, 9 days. Epic.

endellionFor more information on the concerts during the week, see the website for the festival brochure. We would advise booking tickets as soon as possible as they sell out fast.

This year, I am also delighted to be joining a selection of soloists to perform Vaughan Williams’ Serenade to Music in the Chamber Concert on Wednesday 8th April, conducted by Eamonn Dougan. Have a listen to the recording below if you don’t know the work- it is sublime- and just imagine it performed on a cool Spring evening in the beautiful setting of St. Endellion… It will be a spell-binding concert. Come along if you can!

Masterclass with David Jones

TrinityOn Sunday 25th January I took part in a master-class with vocal teaching guru DAVID JONES. The master-class was held in the beautiful surroundings of Trinity College, Cambridge.

I was thrilled to be offered the chance to work with such a master: I learned so much and had great fun doing so. I was also really touched by the support and encouragement shared between all the participants and all those observing.

I sang Micaela’s aria from Bizet’s Carmen. Have a listen to Angela Gheorghiu singing it…