Saturday, 13 February 2016

Let's rewind a little....

It always surprises me when I find that folk actually read the inane waffle on the pages of this blog, but to find that some actually miss it when I don't write for a while is even more of a surprise. I guess I need to think more about my dear audience and not let them down quite so badly in the future. So thanks to Norman Hockley for the recent prods to get writing again.
My last post, on November 22nd covered the Trinity Choirs Festival and was meant to be followed by a write up on the Caroline Sharpe Pupils Concert the following week, but 'stuff' got in the way. From here on however, Ruth and I pledge to earmark time in our week for writing and other such pastimes (with good company?), so expect some more regular contributions to this humble blog as 2016 progresses. Hopefully!
Time now to press the rewind button and take us back to Saturday 28th November 2015, and remember what a fantastic evening it was. Ruth pointed out that this year I was one of the more experienced singers on the bill, as there were to be quite a lot of new faces. It was fabulous to see them all conquer their fears and to 'just do it'! I know how you all felt before you got up and I also know just how fabulous you all felt afterwards, just knowing that you really did actually get up there and sing. I won't list everyone, but I must say one performer brought a tear to my eye and that was Geoff Hickling.
Geoff you see, was inspired to have a go at singing, purely as a result of reading this very blog! He has read the lot, right from the very beginning and as a consequence plucked up the courage to have lessons with Caroline, join the LMVC and Caroline Sharpe Singers. This was after all the main reason for starting this blog- if one person reads this stuff and is inspired have a go themselves, then it will all have been worthwhile. Well Geoff did just that and when he got up and sang Silent Worship I could barely hold myself together! I was as proud as punch! Just see how much you'll progress this year Geoff! Caroline will have you singing crazy things like 'Fat Bottomed Girls' in no time at all.
The great thing about this annual showcase is the audience. Everyone who comes along knows that they are not going to hear musical perfection, but realise that there are nervous newcomers performing in front of an audience for the very first time and are wonderfully supportive. I remember several years ago, a guy called Neal Chantrill needed three attempts at the song he was singing. After messing up twice he finally got through it to tremendous applause. And that's the point - it doesn't matter if things go awry - it is all valuable experience.
Another amazing thing about these concerts is seeing the improvements in those that have been around for a few years, like dare I suggest, myself for instance. Looking back at my 'rabbit caught in the headlights' performance of Where e're You Walk back in 2011, I like to think I've come on leaps and bounds since then, though I'll let you be the judge of that. Certainly this year it was amazing to see the progress of Liz Jenkinson and Gail Morgan particularly who were outstanding! Liz has even gone on to pass her ABRSM Grade 8 singing with Distinction! And she ain't alone - a certain Ruth Coward passed her Trinity Grade 6 with Distinction too. Congratulations to Yasmin Wilbram, Mirren Mecathum, Shirley Godber, Gillian Smith, Katie Muller, Jill Perry, Maisie Ramsey, Harriet Taylor, Honor Neale and Jane Giddings, who all passed singing exams in 2015. Bravo!
"But what of Alyn Paul Coward" I hear you cry. Well, during an 'eventful' year (for want of a better description) singing lessons had not been in my diary much until the end of the summer. Then Caroline threw the Chicago songbook at me and we opened the page at All I Care About.  A nice little song which rather suited my voice I reckon. There's a video on Youtube of Richard Gere singing the song from the film of the musical which I used to guide me and I think on the night it was probably the nearest I have come to actually enjoying a performance. What's that you say? Tell that to my face? Well, at least there was a bit of expression there. I think!?!
I mustn't forget the Caroline Sharpe Singers' input to the evening. We opened with Dry Your Tears Afrika and the challenging (for us tenors at east!) Ave Verum Corpus, the latter going really quite well on this occasion. And we wrapped up proceedings with Blue Moon, featuring a solo from 'A Nightingale Sang's number one fan, Norman Hockley, and lastly the thoroughly delightful May it Be.
So that was it for another year. Who knows what November 2016 will bring? Watch this space......
Meanwhile, I was handed a mini DVD of that  rendition of All I Care About by Trinity's sound maestro David Concannon, but I've not yet had the guts to watch it. I can just about bare to listen to a sound recording of myself but watching myself is just a step too far. Maybe I'll have a large scotch later and put it on. Or maybe not?
See y'all soon,