Sunday, 27 June 2010

Competition Stress

Well I am as tired as an unusually lazy and elderly sloth on sleeping pills. The festival day was as testing in it's logistical navigation as it was in its musical complexities.

The competitions were spread over 3 venues in the small Victorian seaside town, and I was required in each of those 3 halls at the same time! Now I am quite good at my job, but there is a limit to my ability to multi task, and I reached saturation point by the middle of the hot and humid afternoon, when I found myself on the 14th walk to one or another of the halls wondering where I was going, and what my name was! The latter I did not remember until I woke up this morning and dredged up the required's Ann ! Triumphant smile!

My singers acquitted themselves beautifully. The Kangaroo was a conquest of tuning, scintillating words and a model of stillness - well done that man! The Junior Recitalists were splendid, and more than exceeded theirs and my expectations, with some glorious performances of early Italian arias and English Song. Michael Head reigned supreme, and the 2 young teenagers sang with beautifully crafted melody and touching poetry.

The adult Recital class was truly spectacular. Entirely made up with aspirant late teen and early 20's singers, and the adjudicator was so impressed with the talent and promise in these young people. There was a particular song from each the 3 placed singers which was a marvelous highlight of the competition.

The winning soprano sang a fantastic and witty performance of Rhyme, by William Walton, which is a tricky and 100 mile an hour setting of Oranges and Lemons. She drove us along with such vigour, such incredible diction and such good tuning - if you knew this song you would understand the need for the last remark! The young Mezzo made at least 65% of the audience sob with her chocolatey and ultra lyrical Fly Home Little Heart by Ivor Novello. It was glorious, and as the adjudicator said, she filled the hall to 'lift off' ! The young, and wonderfully dark baritone gave us a heartfelt 'Whither must I Wander', one of the Songs of Travel by Vaughan Williams, and the final verse was very special.

I have deliberately not specified which pupil was mine, as all three of these extraordinarily talented singers are direct descendants of Betty Middleton, and so, for me, they all belonged to each other.

If we talk 'prizes', then the Paradise stable brought home 7 trophies between them, and more importantly, the prize (I hope) of affirmation of excellent work done, and a sense of where they stand in the world of pre college singing.

I was so proud of them all, and had I arms long enough I would have embraced them in a massive musical group hug!

However, the day took it's toll on me quite dramatically, when having eaten some supper I crashed into bed, felt my innards were still at the stress levels high enough to fuel a small nuclear reactor, and found the nearest bathroom where I could be sick!

Apologies for the surfeit of information! See how seriously I take by obligations!

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