Wednesday, 9 June 2010

The Music Hall

I survived. It was organised mayhem but I survived. Primary choirs is the day when the adjudicator must use the portable microphone. The Music Hall, as the largest venue in the city is called, has a high stage and seats about 1000, which from 9.30am until 4pm it was filled to busting with small children high on sweeties and the glittering prizes of silver cups!

I was taken aback when a choir appeared on stage, conducted by a smart young man who could not have been a day over 14, (OK I know at my age policemen look like they should be in short trousers!) and proceeded to take a 50 strong choir of 7 year olds through a programme of 2 part songs each of which was about 6 pages long. The part singing was so secure....ah I just slipped into adjudicator speak.....and the children so glued to his conducting, it was like watching a choir of 16 year olds with talent.

It was wonderful, these small children were wide eyed with concentration, glowing with pride, and clearly thought the world of this young man with the red bow tie. How fantastic was this work, I wrote, trying very hard to stop my eyes from filling up. There are young people out there with both the ability and the charisma to make youngsters love singing, and not just because it has a beat and is 'entertaining', or they can wiggle their hips to it. I thanked him after the competition - which they won - and he blushed a deeper red than his bow tie. Every school should have one!

Tonight it was adult classes including Opera and Oratorio, and I got to thinking that when we adjudicate, and stand up and pontificate in a grand way about the opera, or sacred work, we must scare the competitors stiff. I like to think that we build a bond with the singer. When you have heard the same people over a series of days the relationship is something akin to that of a jailor and criminal, we have all the power and they have to sit and take it, but we can also try our best to let them know we want them to do well. We can be cruel, and in the blink of an eye destroy what has taken months to build, or we can build on the good things they do and start from a positive. The main thing is, as I am constantly told ' You are in charge and you can do as you like'.....therein lies the power to make or break. I hope I take that power very seriously, and know that I can give confidence or take it away, with the flash of my pen or one thoughtlessly misplaced word.

That is why I am always so plum tired out after festivals - the sheer weight of all that responsibility. Zzzzzzzzz

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