Monday, 5 July 2010

The Heat of the Sun


The Heat of the Sun


It has been another sunny and warm day in the South, and so, once again I asked for all the doors in the hall to be opened simply to avoid melting. I listened to the weather forecast tonight and - horror of horrors - the voice of the Met Office is predicting up to 30 degrees in this neck of the woods by the end of the week.

God help the singers who will have to grapple with my complete hate of the heat. I promise to try and not vent my frustration on them. To 'try' you understand. 'Oh for North Wind' - which is a song close to my heart by Michael Head! Hang on it is 'Oh for March Wind'! It was a Freudian slip !

There has been a downside of the open doors, ie the poor accompanists have had to put up with the music either gently rippling in the summer breeze, or being blown away by the first tornado in Bournemouth this year. They have been stoical to a man, and helped each other out by holding the fluttering sheets down with tightly clenched fingers so the competitions could keep going, and all the while suffering these indignities so I did not fall faint with the rising temperature. What mortification they have suffered at the hands of a sun hating adjudicator!

It was the Bournemouth Young Singer of the Year class today, and there were well over a dozen youngsters from 12 - 20 who each performed around 12 minutes worth of music. I was blown away ( unfortunately not in reality you understand!) by the standard of these young singers. At this age none could give a 'perfect' recital, they are all at the experimental early stages of performance with their own personal set of strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. How wonderful it is to be in the place where we have that choice! When we become the old pro, we sing what we are asked, largely when we are asked, simply so the mortgage gets paid!

There were some startling performances including a 13 year old soprano singing a delicious Bach aria with such aplomb I assumed she was about 17, and a charming young man with a smile to melt the heart of Jean Brodie, who serenaded all the ladies present with a Spanish song, like a benign Don Giovanni. I could go on, and on, but you get the idea. The standard was extremely high, and it is a privilege to judge these sort of classes - even if I often wish that the final word was NOT mine, and someone else could take the rap for making such decisions!

It was a very enjoyable day, culminating in this bevy of youth showing what is possible when they are inspired and well taught. It is often not the public or media's view of today's young people, and yet I have known these fully paid up members of the 'shining youth gang' all my working life, and everywhere I go there they are there, in flocks.

Paradise has them, the UK has them and, I assume the world has them. Why do we not see more of them ? Why the doom and gloom about 'the youth of today' ?

I love 'em !

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