Saturday, 27 June 2015


What a truly amazing day we had........I will write up all about it when I finally rach home tomorrow evening. I have been driving all day today, which has given me lots of time to recollect and savour the moments of the day. It was a true privilege and we all loved the pomp and circumstance, the way it ran like a royally well oiled wheel, and the joy of meeting so many interesting and inspiring folk.

I just need to get some shut are some photos to whet the appetite a little !





Thursday, 25 June 2015

The Journey Begins

Wednesday June 24th 1pm in Chichester having lunch...a very starch and sugar free English brunch....see below !


The journey begins today.....I packed my case complete with outfit this morning, carefully keeping all three hats for the female party members in a separate bag so they can be carried on the train unsquashed ! The children's cases are packed and comfortable travelling clothes laid out ready for the journey. Cecilia, Wilson and myself are leaving on the 4.23 train from Pulborough to Victoria, then cabbing to the hotel which is in Covent Garden. Sara has to finish choir practise and some exams today so will train to town later this evening and meet us at the hotel.

The plan For this evening, ( as the weather is 21 degrees and getting hotter at the moment) is for Seanmhair and grandchildren to have supper al fresco in a cafe at Covent Garden, preferably in the shade ! I need to be very well behaved food wise as last night, after a weekend at Littlebeck and a dinner in a local restaurant, my sugar number was sky high !

We had a fashion show last night, and all the outfits look fit for meeting a member of the Monarchy, and over dinner I was given a beautiful pearl droplet necklace to 'mark the occasion of my MBE' quote a well drilled 8 year old boy !

Update to follow.

Cases at the ready !

British Rail journey !


Sunday, 21 June 2015

Exam results, festival success and the big day looms !

The exams came and went, and all the candidates sang very well ! Infact I heard the results yesterday and they are stunning ! Lots of distinctions and very high marks. Given that P was doing her Advanced Recital Certificate, I was positively ecstatic with her marks ! As one of that lovely group of ladies who jovially call themselves 'Ann's Ancients' she has proved that age is no barrier to high achievement ! The youngsters achieved fantastic results - all gaining distinctions ! What a set of figures to enjoy !

Myself, N, A and S all left the paradise Islands on Thursday to travel to Saltburn for our annual jaunt to the lovely Music Festival in this most beautiful Victorian town where I was born ! This year my old pupil Miranda brought a number of her superb young singers and so there was much beautiful and gloriously technical singing as well as healthy numbers in the classes !

Good competition is what we all need from junior classes at a local festival, to the Cardiff Singer of the World which is currently on at the moment. Competition spurs us on and makes us have to up our game and work harder. All of this is positive, and my youngsters did very well against tough odds. The thing is, I always consider miranda's pupils, and Sara's pupils as partially my own, and want them to do well, as much as I want my own to succeed.

A had an early knock back in her Operatic Aria class. She was nervous and very tense and so her throat closed and made those notes, already tricky due to a fragile top E, not work as well as usual. She was really disappointed with herself, but after a pep talk from moi, spouting the usual words of tough encouragement, she pulled herself together and things got enormously better ! S had her first experience of a music festival and acquitted herself so very well gaining confidence as the day went on, and really doing herself justice ! N sang beautifully and was successful but very tired by the end of the day. She goes from strength to strength, and combined with the fatigue of recently moving out of home, I was very pleased with her day's work !

A's recital programme was fantastic, relaxed and easy and full of character, she had made a huge journey since 10.30 in the morning, and the same with S, for a first timer she sang a gorgeous yet small recital with real aplomb and a sense of style, and N's Operatic Aria, the nasty Miss Baggott's aria from Britten's The Little Sweep was majestic, she pushed herself to new levels.

They came home to gorgeous Littlebeck with five trophies between them and ready for a Chinese meal and a relaxing evening ! All three of them made me very proud indeed !

Their car load left this Yorkshire paradise around 9.30am this morning and I was left here for a gloriously peaceful 24 hours. Now to bed in readiness for the start of the BIG week.

Relaxing over lunch in Whitby !

Tired but happy after the festival !

Miranda's young son after his first festival ! A Lampard Ensemble Grandchild.......



Buckingham Palace, Thursday June 25th


Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Bournemouth Festival and wonderful choirs !

I had a great weekend at Bournemouth Festival ! I have been many times before to this warm and friendly festival both as adjudicator, trainee adjudicator and teacher taking pupils. So you see my bond with Bournemouth goes back over 30 years.

This year I was judging the choir section, so two days of high standard choral singing with choirs of all ages and stages !

On the school choirs and youth choirs day there was a plethora of talent from a small and exquisite group from Highcliffe School who sang like one voice with miraculous tone quality and made Britten's The Birds sound as if we were hearing a recital at the Wigmore Hall. Another group, Park School brought the ENTIRE school, all 240 of them ! The conductor was able to control all these children from 5 years old to 13 years old with a small flicker of her hand, and the sound moved from a beautiful pp to a vibrant ff in the space of one bar. We had a super choir from St Katherine's Primary school and another Glenmoor and Winton both of whom gained the magic marks of 88/89 and 90 ! Another school Bransgore performed songs with choir and Ukelele band in a disciplined and altogether entertaining way. Another two choirs St James Primary School and The Bearwood School joined and sang so beautifully in the Unison Singing Class. I am so thrilled that the festival still holds this class. To sing in unison really well is a feat of real vocal technique, and in some ways harder than part singing. Well done Bournemouth !

It was an extraordinary day of choral singing indeed, followed, on Saturday by a huge and fantastic day of adult choirs from all over the South of England and Wales. The standard was unbelievable, for the brilliant Cor Y Gleison who began with a heart stopping Die Irae from the Mozart Requiem, pinning us into our seats with a wall of sound ! They went on to sing so much repertoire throughout the day ranging from Welsh folk song to 21st century William Mathias song. There were some amazing Barbershop choirs including a notable on going 'vocal gloves off' competition between three ladies groups, Spinnaker from Portsmouth, Green Street Blues from Sevenoaks and Signature from Berkshire. There was barely the width of a credit card difference between them - they danced, they skipped, they radiated and all that on top of the finest singing. I was a stretched woman I can tell you. The costumes were beautiful, the military precision of the moves and the walk on and off all lead to the highest standard singing I have heard in many a year.

Then there was a vibrant group of Show Tunes choir, Do You Hear the People Sing, who performed with utter commitment and riveting staging, and another, Folks in Harmony who seemed to be able to span all genres, not just Barbershop, but straight choral singing as well. Their All in the April Evening was quite magical. Another modern group named The Funky Little Choir entertained us with fantastic close harmony show singing and an amazing negro spiritual complete with improvising soloist. We had the Leaf Charity Choir who give concerts specifically to raise money for Leukaemia research and who sang with true commitment, and two male voice choirs who entertained us royally. A church based choir from St Peter's joined our Welsh friends in the Sacred Song class and their belief and integrity shone through. Another group Wessex Harmony gave the barbershop choirs a run for their money with their light and detailed singing, along with Outhern Union Chorus and Solent City Chorus.........have I forgotten anyone ? I can't possibly as they all made such an impression upon me !

It was a breathtaking day. A day I will not forget in a long time. Thank you Bournemouth!

I left on Sunday morning after breakfast at the hotel where I have always stayed The Balincourt Hotel, where the service is excellent and the room so comfortable and stylish, and drove back to Sussex in my rather posh hired car. I spent a lovely day with the children and Mark ( our Gondoliers Duke!), then left for the airport. I settled into the Lounge to wait for my 8.20pm flight. Easyjet do it again, the flight was late arriving in from somewhere on the continent........and I finally arrived home on Paradise at 3am.

I mourn the loss of Flybe at Inverness every time I fly. They were always on time, always excellent service and one did not feel like cattle - AND the prices were just the same.

Rant over.

Winners in the sunshine - gorgeous dresses and gorgeous sunshine !