Thursday, 16 December 2010

Snow and Cole Porter

The temperature is dropping like a stone, and Paradise is bracing itself for more Arctic weather. The larder is stocked, the logs are in and the coalman visited today and left welcome bags of fuel. The elderly parents are stocked up and have been given strict instructions not to move beyond their front door, and the woodstove is merrily flickering away with the kettle gently singing of the top, ready for a welcome cuppa.

Can do no more for the moment.

Today was the last day of the teaching term, and it had that feel of winding down, combined with a sense of a job well done.

The new songs have been given and everyone has gone away with the joy of a rest, and the excitement of yummy new songs to learn over the holidays - inbetween mincepies and turkey sandwiches that is !

I must mention one song given to P, my master of light music. She is taking part in my Skye Song School weeks which happen each year over the Easter holiday. We were looking for things to fill some gaps in her daily style requirements for the School. Monday is Opera or Oratorio, Tuesday is Art Song, Wednesday is Light Music, Thursday is Ensemble and Friday is Free for All. When I decided to run a song school of my own, I made the decision that there would be certain requirements in terms of style. I have masterclassed in so many schools over the years, and the remit is usually 'sing what you like, whenever you like!' This often means that some singers never tackle anything which is a bit out of their comfort zone.

I want to offer challenges as well as coaching, so each singer needs to tackle each style. I have indeed managed, over the years, to convert some stalwart Skye Song Schoolers to styles which otherwise they previously thought outwith their ability or their personal niche. It has been a revelation to hear an opera lover have to sing a 20th Century Art Song, and suddenly find the same joy in a song which is 10 times smaller, much more intimate, and even more importantly, a song without the cover of a dramatic role and thus, something one can hide behind.

Anyhow, P brought me the wonderful 'Miss Otis Regrets' by Cole Porter. It will be perfect, so witty, only 3 verses long, a catchy tune and lots of delicious lyrics and witty rhymes. The last time I heard it was at the Panel of Monastic Musicians Conference, when a young, and handsome Abbot , with a great tenor voice performed us a cool and slick performance of the song at the end of Conference party !

It will never seem the same again!

Thanks P !

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