Yesterday, I had the pleasure of being a guest soprano in the Stowmarket Chorale.
They were set to sing the incredibly challenging Bach B minor mass in St Edmundsbury cathedral, and Les Olive (their conductor, but also our conductor at EAC) asked if I, and three other EAC members, could lend a supporting voice. I’d never sung it before last night, but I relish a challenge, and attempted to learn the work in the four short weeks before the concert.
The B minor mass is HARD. And the performance was far from perfect. But it was exciting, we didn’t get lost, and we were extremely enthusiastic. The audience seemed to enjoy it too, which is generally the aim of these things…
I do love Bury St Edmunds, and my many thanks to Stowmarket Chorale for making us feel so welcome.
I made it. This is officially my 100th blog post. I have managed to blog every day since mid-September, and nearly all my posts have been useful or interesting (yes? No?)
This has come at a perfect time as well, because today I need to concentrate all my efforts on finishing a lab report that I have barely started – so I thought today’s post could be a good excuse to do a bit of a round up of the last few months. And share some pretty pictures, yay!
Well, on the topic of my lab report: the most obvious milestone for me in the last few months has been starting my Psychology MSc. Since then, it has been non-stop – most of it fun, a lot of it stressful but all of it fascinating.
Unfortunately, starting my MSc has meant that I’ve had to leave some things behind, such as my beloved Horniman museum, but I still get a chance to go back and visit. And of course, there are little reminders of the Horniman all around me…
I haven’t lost all my fun though: I still sing quite frequently, and even got a couple of double bass concerts in this season (although one had to be cancelled last week due to snow). I managed to go clubbing once or twice, did a lot of cooking and baking, and had several wonderful meals out (including finally trying out Time&Space for Ben’s birthday).
I have to interrupt myself briefly, just to say that doing this round up is making me realise that I have actually been quite busy over the last few months, which is reassuring and also quite emotional. Ignore me.
I have been to visit friends, I have had friends come to stay with me, I have been to soooo many extra-curricular lectures, and had wonderful cultural days out. I even had a silly day out sledding with Ben when the snow hit.
In amongst all the shenannagins of having my brain scanned but not zapped, all the cocktails and the pottery painting, and even my first trek to IKEA via public transport, I have still managed to sit back and relax.
I have read a huge amount (by my usual standards) of books this year (so far! I aim to read a few more before 2010 is out) – 37 is the count so far, and that’s excluding all the text books and journal articles I’ve had to read for uni. I’ve dabbled with Kesey, Banks, Parker, a very special seagull, and then a whole bunch of NON-fiction (madness!) – Music from Sacks and Levitin, Language with Pinker, Neuropsych with Broks and a mammoth book on depression.
I’ve been busy, you’ve been busy – we’ve all been busy bunnies. Maybe it’s time to chill out and enjoy the holiday season? I have a wedding to go to this weekend (my eldest brother got married in August, and now it’s my other brother’s turn!), and that pretty much heralds the time for festivities. I best get this lab report out of the way, then…
Thanks for indulging me – it’s been a fun 100 posts. Here’s to many more!
December 9, 2010 | Categories: art, books, brain, clubbing, crafts, English Arts Chorale, food, holiday, Horniman, London, mental illness, museum, music, neuroscience, philosophy, photography, Psychology, Royal Institution, science, sociable, university | Tags: art, books, Christmas, crafts, excitement, food, fox, funny, holiday, I love, London, me me me, mental illness, museum, music, optimism, philosophy, psychology, recipe, reflection, science, shiny, sociable, tea, UEL, university | 5 Comments »
Just wow. I had to start writing this on my phone, whilst still in the car on the way back to Sussex. What an amazing day. Let me explain: yesterday (by the time I’ve posted this, it’ll be yesterday) the English Arts Chorale ventured forth to wonderful Cambridge. I most certainly think we were worthy.
The venue was the astounding chapel of St. John’s College, Cambridge – those of you in “the know” as it were will be aware that very few “outside” choirs (i.e. not affiliated with Cambridge) ever get to sing at St. John’s. So this is Important Point No. 1.
Important Point No. 2 is that our programme for the evening’s concert consisted of Rutter and Ledger, two still-alive-and-composing (not decomposing) composers, both of whom are strongly affiliated with Cambridge.
This links in to Important Point No. 3: Sir Philip Ledger (whose requiem we performed) was in the audience. Oh yes he was. Apparently he very much liked our concert. This is what they call Big News.
(As a side note, my own personal Important Point No. 4 is that I got a very little solo in the Ledger – eeeee. It went well. Hurrah!)
The concert went splendidly. It didn’t suffer from the minor points of error that our Dorking rendition did: we had learned to control our puppy-dog enthusiasm in the “Hosanna” section of the Ledger, so that it didn’t trip over its own ears.
While it wasn’t Completely And Utterly Fault Free (some timing difficulties, plus I believe the harpist lost a string, which may or may not have been the reason he came in a beat early in the Sanctus of the Rutter – we recovered quickly), it was a brilliant evening. We adjusted to the different acoustic, and the fact that we had not only an organ but a mini-orchestra to deal with, rather swiftly.
While I have my reservations about the “magic” of the first half, the second half was sublime. Jay Britton’s soaring top notes were sublime, and I believe at one point Les had to stop to wipe his eyes. His Cheshire Cat Grin was back by the time we took the applause.
A magical evening. The minor errors illustrate that we are still human, but the music was transcendent.
Image credits: all taken by me! It was a long day (left Sussex at 9am, only got back in at 12:30am the following morning!). Sorry there are no pictures of the interior of the chapel – photography is strictly prohibited without prior arrangement.
November 7, 2010 | Categories: English Arts Chorale, music, philosophy, sociable | Tags: Cambridge, choral, EAC, English Arts Chorale, excitement, Ledger, me me me, music, optimism, requiem, Rutter, singing, St. John's College, success | 3 Comments »
Sorry chaps – a bit of a slow news day today. Maybe it’s because I haven’t actually done much for the past two days except studying and house work (and teasing the rats).
So, maybe I should share with you interesting things I’m looking forward to in the next few months? Would that be dull? Too bad, that’s what I’m doing.
OK, first things first: today is Ben’s birthday! Hurray Happy birthday, Mr. Fox.
Hurrah I love this man.
I’m not going to tell you what I have planned for his birthday, because that will ruin tomorrow’s blog post. Needless to say, it involves the Royal Institution.
Next up comes Halloween. I’m not hugely in to Halloween, but when I was invited by Vin (with the big house) to a Murder Mystery party, how on earth could I say no? Again, I won’t divulge too much, because that will probably be Sunday’s post… Ahha.
Ongoing are the weekly ICN seminars – these are every Monday at UCL’s ICN building, Queen Square (nearest tube: Russell Square). They’re free and open to the public (a great incentive for Miserly Student) and, whilst quite heavy going, they are incredibly diverse and interesting.
I plan next week to go to the Natural History Museum’s wildlife photographer of the year exhibition with Angharad next Thursday – I didn’t go to last years, but I did browse the winning images online. I regret not going. So, I don’t intend to feel the same regret again. It’s on from 22 October 2010 – 11 March 2011, 10.00 – 17.50 daily, and tickets are: Adult £9, Family £24 (up to 2 adults and up to 3 children), child and concessions £4.50. It is of course free to Members, Patrons and children aged 3 and under.
Very, very importantly: the EAC’s Cambridge concert!! Last week I blogged about our successful Dorking concert, but we’re taking the same programme to St John’s College, Cambridge. The important differences: we will have a full orchestra rather than simply organ, and there are going to be some incredibly important people in the audience. Fingers crossed, but this is going to be a very important concert for us. Fancy coming? PLEASE do. You won’t regret it, I swear.
I do have other concerts coming up, but they are in Sussex, with my double bass I haven’t played poor old bassey for a while, so it will be really lovely to playing again. The concerts I’m playing at are all around the south coast.
- On the 13th November I will be in Hastings, St. Mary-in-the-Castle, for the Hastings Philharmonic Choir’s “Splendour of Baroque” concert
- On the 20th November I will be in Worthing with Boundstone College for their Autumn concert (I haven’t received final details on this yet, so unfortunately can’t link you to anything)
- On the 3rd December, I will be at Roedean School in Brighton for their gala concert – a special of “spooky” classics apparently!
Somewhere in there, I plan to make my way to the Wellcome collection for a day out, to the Freud museum, and a trip back to the Science Museum to see their temporary exhibition all about psychoanalysis. As far as the Wellcome Collection is concerned, I have been browsing through their events calender, and whilst I want to see EVERYTHING, I have had to concede defeat and admit that isn’t possible. However, I will be taking in some of the events, including Describing the Drug Experience (yes, I already have a ticket). Another talk I have already booked for is The Brain of the Future, a BPS hosted lecture given by Baroness Susan Greenfield on 8th November. I imagine tickets for this are already sold out, but if you’re interested, it’s always worth inquiring!
Which brings us hurtling into December. December is going to be busy. It’s busy enough with the whole Christmas thing, but then it’s also my Mum’s big 6-0 and the younger of my two brothers is getting married. Eek. Where did 2010 go?
October 29, 2010 | Categories: English Arts Chorale, London, mental illness, museum, music, philosophy, Psychology, rats, Royal Institution, science, sociable, Sussex, university | Tags: dissertation, excitement, holiday, I love, London, me me me, mental illness, mum, museum, music, neuropsychology, optimism, philosophy, psychology, science, shiny, sociable, Sussex, tea, UEL, university | Leave A Comment »