Saturday, 16 March 2013

International Students and singing with the whole body

Brighton Springboard Festival was my new place of work today! I arrived at Brighton and Hove High School and was taken to the Library to get my things ready for the day!

The folk were very nice and the singing I heard was a good standard, and one or two singers were very good indeed. It was the Junior singing today, so all the performers were between 8 and 18. It was rather interesting that being singers from many of the famous boarding schools in the locality, I heard a good proportion of international students.

There were a couple of girls from the Ukraine who delighted me enormously. Both were clearly dancers as well as singers, and they performed with their whole bodies. It was almost beautiful watching them sing. Each sang a Ukrainian song as the finale to their recital programme, and the older girl especially was magical. It was like watching vocal ballet, if you can use your imagination and visualise that strange statement!

I heard two very talented Chinese girls, both of whom were also playing in the piano classes as well. Very like my Hong Kong sojourn last year, where I felt certain I would hear disciplined and beautifully prepared performances, but was unprepared for the sheer musicality and and freedom of interpretation, these young ladies sang with warmth, pleasure and sensitivity.

One of the real positives of today's boarding school ethos, is it's strong international flavour, where many cultures meet, live together, and learn about each other. Today was rather like that, and the better indeed for it.

I heard a young tenor with a voice the size of a small third world country. He was extraordinary in many ways, so mature and such control, he made me think back to when C was a raw 17 year old tenor, and had to step in at 3 weeks notice to sing the vastly enormous role of Albert, in Britten's Albert Herring. There is something about the young male voice which is so fearless. This young man performed the most incredible Italian operatic aria with all the style of an hugely talented but newly Weight Watched Luciano Pavarotti. His next class was the English Art Song, and his Sweet Chance that Led my Steps Abroad by Head tripped him up all over the place. Intimate English Song is just to bewildering for many youngsters. After all it requires much wearing of hearts on sleeves, which is very scary for a raw teenager!

Sadly he was the only entrant in some of his classes, which was a shame in one way, yet in another he would most,likely have won with the same high grades, and the same more than pleased scribbling s on his crit sheet !

It was an interesting day all told. A real mix of styles, vocal abilities and nationalities. On with the motley, on the morrow.

Ukrainian Dancers full of 'flexible' joy !

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