Cure All !
I had two delightful and peaceful days at the Crossbush Convent near Arundel, where I have been teaching for about 15 years. The sisters are a complete cross section of life, age and personality, and the ambience is one of joy and complete democracy.
There are some difficult health issues there at the moment, but the acceptance of such, and the sense of gratitude for doctors, surgeons and nurses is humbling.
These issues have cast a slight shadow over the house and when I arrived the singing was a little lack lustre! They simply love their singing so it took no time at all to inject energy and a smile into their sound. I use all the same exercises as with my private pupils, and we even attempted some 'flip ups' this timk ! That is, singing down the scale and flipping back up to the top as many times as possible.
This caused some hilarity, and the amount of times they could do it was as diverse as my own pupils ! Some are fainting after 2 scales and others can keep going for 5 or even 6 times! It is all to do with relaxation, and controlling the flow of air as we expel it to make the sound, not really tyo do with size of lungs, or ability to load up as much air as a barrage balloon !
One sister stood out head and shoulders above all the rest, a young woman from Zimbabwe, Sr Clare Ruva. She is serene, walks with a wonderfully languid flow, and laughs with happiness and generosity. I often use her as an example of good posture and relaxation, infact I wish I could bring her home..............
She could go on for 4 or 5 scales at her first attempt. Just shows - personality and culture will out.
We ended the day in the chapel going over the piece we had practised during the previous 2 days. I love the Poor Clare chapel, it is warm, simple and peaceful. It has beauty, but a different beauty from more ornate chapels I have taught and sung in, The sound of the Anima Christi rang around the building, never overblown, but so resonant. The sister who plays the organ is also incapicitated at the moment so I had the honour of playing the organ for our session, and it gave me a true feeling of what it was like to be in integral part of the community.
I love the life, the speed of the day, the community feel, the kindness upon which life is founded.
However I hate the 5am start to the day.......................