Monday, 2 January 2012

A Nightingale Sang's Review of 2011

So, that was the year, that was. . .

It's always good to look back at the year departed and reflect on the good bits.  Unlike the BBC and Sky, I prefer to ignore the depressing stuff. I have had more than enough of 'euro zone crisis', 'double-dip recession', and Bolton Wanderers' catastrophic performances to last a life time thank you very much. No, let's reflect on the positives - the exciting stuff. Thankfully, there's been plenty of it.

So here goes, starting at the very beginning, a very good place to start. . .

Not a great deal to report with regard to January other than the successful installation of the Bingham railway bridge at the A46 - a critical part of the job where my chums at Balfour Beatty had about 3 days to move umpteen tonnes of ready constructed bridge into place and to be ready to accept trains when time was up. Job done and the road widening scheme then went on apace. Hoorah!

A right parky (very cold) winter was warmed somewhat by a trip to Kegworth to see a concert by the Loughborough Male Voice Choir. During the interval, Ruth, Anna-Ruth, Caroline, husband Charlie and I had a chat with Chris Hill who I'd met before in his role as Enchanted's accompanist. He mentioned the need for fresh faces in the choir and wondered if Charlie and I were interested. Charlie said there was a reason why he played the drums, but I was tempted. Hmmm! Well, why not? Curiosity got the better of me and I went along to a LMVC rehearsal. Fun!

After a few LMVC rehearsals I'd made my mind up that this singing lark might just be worth persuing. But if I'm going to do this I need to try and do it properly. Nothing else for it but to request a lesson or two from a certain Caroline Sharpe. She sings a bit herself apparently and isn't inclined to teach complete duffers. So I went along and it went well despite non-existent technique and discovered that I could possibly be 2nd tenor rather than bass. Interesting!

On joining LMVC it seemed ridiculous to think I could be ready to sing in a concert with the LMVC with guests, the Stevenage Ladies Choir, on April 9th. But sing I did! Nervous as hell, nay, terrified would be more accurate. Despite being a bit rusty on some songs it was a triumph! Oh and I must mention the Ted Baker jacket purchased for £15 from the Oxfam shop. Nice!

The month of my 51st birthday (hard to believe, I know!) saw preparations for my second 'gig' - Singing in the Park. Queens Park to be exact and under the newly refurbished Bandstand. This went pretty well despite a cloudy day and saw the first use of new battery and other gizmos to power the keyboard.

Quiet month except for an Enchanted concert and more lessons with Caroline of varying quality - my singing not Caroline's teaching.

Weddings! It was to be a fairly quiet summer for the male voice choir, but singing was required by Caroline Sharpe Singers for a wedding or two. We started with pink ties, which were thankfully soon ditched. Phew!

Summer recess for LMVC, but the weddings continued for the Caz-meister. One, a very strange affair at Prestwold with the bride over half an hour late. Shocking!

Back for new season of LMVC rehearsals in readiness for October concert. Following the succcessful wedding singing, it was decided to formalise the 'Caroline Sharpe Singers'. A great move that means fortnightly rehearsals on Saturday mornings with a view to performing a concert in November as part of Caroline's annual 'pupils concert'. Exciting times!

Another wedding in the blazing hot October sun (bizarre but true) followed by equally strange singing lessons with Caroline involving wobble boards and rubber bands. The month climaxed with the LOROS charity concert at De Montfort Hall, Leicester. This included numerous local choirs plus the renowned 'Fron Choir' from Wales. A fantastic, unforgetable experience. Later invited to a Fron rehearsal some time which is an offer I must find time to take up in 2012.

A momentous, life changing, unbelievable night! November 19th 2011 will be remembered until the day I die. I sang a solo of Where e're You Walk at Trinity Methodist Church as part of the annual pupils concert which included Caroline Sharpe Singers too. I won't bore you with any more details, but if you wish to read more click here.

Crazy, manically busy month of carol concerts, singing in all sorts of varied places, such as Sainsbury's, Carillon Court and the Baptist Church. Undoubtedly the highlight was the ground breaking Christmas Eve Carillon Recital with choir singing in the bandstand. Great stuff!

So that was 2011. For me personally, a pretty dire year with regard to employment but made very special by the sudden and unexpected discovery of singing. With the help and encouragement of my lovely wife Ruth and step-daughter Anna-Ruth, I gained the courage to have a go! If you had told me this time last year that during the coming twelve months I would join a male voice choir, start singing lessons with Caroline Sharpe, and end up singing a solo - twice, I would have thought you crazy. Now, I LOVE IT!

What can readers of 'A Nightingale Sang..' expect from 2012? Well, for sure a  LMVC concert in Long Eaton in January, another solo for Caroline possibly in April, ABRSM singing exams in the summer, more LMVC gigs liberally scattered throughout the year, and who knows what might occur next November!

Stay tuned and keep singing!


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