Monday, 28 March 2011

St Cecilia (well sometimes)

My room name and number, patron saint of music, and belonging to another close to my heart!

I have had a most productive day. It is a while since I came to a place where everyone is new and a complete beginner. Where there is no history of 'Ann Lampard', and where I do not know anyone except Sr Anne who invited me to come.

It makes it all the more exciting, as each person who opens the door is a closed book ! (Now there is a contradiction in terms!) I had the Prioress first thing at 9.30am, who boldly went where no nun had gone before, and told me she thought she should 'lead from the front', who was easy to teach and very responsive. She has a natural voice, resonant and round, but no technique (yet!!), and was so thrilled when I managed to get her up to a top F, simply by showing her how to focus the tone, and sing with disciplined vowel shapes. It is so rewarding both to hear and to watch.

Every sister whom I have had dealings with over the last 15 years has proved so 'hungry' to improve, whether they are a 25 year old novice, or an 85 year old senior nun, who has passed her golden jubilee!

They feel that the better they sing, the better they worship, and coming somewhere new means all that rush of adrenalin at the first big improvement which I feel from each pupil, spurs me on to give them as much as I can in the short time I will be around. They know I am gone in 2 or 3 days, and so they inhale every second of information, and then retain it ! It makes for ultra pleasurable teaching!

Of course I never really get to know the individuals in the way I do my regulars, so I have to renew my thoughts very quickly when I return 6 months or a year later! I can't afford to have 'senior moments' !

Anyhow, I had several sisters who more than reached their expectations, and a young postulant who had done very little singing in her life, found that for all her small stature she had a big and ringing voice. The look of utter surprise in her eyes, at the size of her sound, was so like a startled rabbit it made us both laugh ! Given she is half Italian it simply must be in the genes - however well hidden!

A good day, new 'noises' and new friends!


  1. That must be a very enriching experience for both you and the nuns. On a lighter note it reminds me of those "same time next year" stories, the ones where people meet only once a year over a period of decades. They have always fascinated me!

  2. It is a bit like that! The nuns however never forget anything - from how one likes one's tea to which book you were reading the last time one was there! I wish I had that sort of empathetic memory!
    It is a lovely job, I must be honest!