Horsham Performers Platform was a great success ! My colleague who is the chairman, and founded the festival is a fine string adjudicator herself and knows just how the best festivals function, and just how to look after adjudicators! Thus the whole thing ran like a gererously olive oiled musical wheel.
It was a varied and interesting lot of candidates, many of whom I heard throughout the two days, a number of times. What I really love is seeing them visibly relax once they know that the adjudicator will not bite their collective heads off, and really does want to hear them at their best.
It was a free for all with regards to choices, even for the younger classes, so the variety of repertoire spans the whole range of genre and style. Some of the small singers were a joy to behold. I had a truly gorgeous performance of Let's Go Fly a Kite from Mary Poppins, perfect in vowel shapes, warm tone quality and tuning, and yet quite possibly the most intensely serious performance of the day ! This small soul could have been singing a Bach aria from a Passion, so deeply felt and studied was it ! Young C shone brightly and sang me a sweet and totally in tune Golden Slumbers, followed by the most delightful The Friendly Cow, and I was hard put not to rush up and hug her, but professionalism (of course) won the day, and I spoke to her as if she were just another student wanting my imput.
The older singers were equally entrancing, and I was very very impressed by two of them, a young man with a voice as deep as Loch Ness, who finished his short recital with a magnificent Ol Man River, with strength from the top to the bottom, and believe me the low G's take a lot of sinking down to. He is, as yet, very young with lots of development to come, but the signs of that magnificent instrument in the making were more than peeking through !
Another young mezzo, G really had us all in the palm of her hands with her final piece in her equally fine recital. She sang an unaccompanied Irish folk song, My Lagan Love. It was spellbinding, the room hushed until the silence itself was almost too loud, and she let the song fade away in a quite masterful way. I did want her, in her other pieces to open her mouth more and not keep her beautiful sounds to herself, but I let her off this one and joined the audience in wallowing in the honeyed sound.
There were other wonderful moments, and a few tears when things fall apart, either from circumstances beyond our control, or perhaps, dare I say, not quite enough practise ! The tears were few and far between, and the moments of true musical loveliness more than made up for it.
A word on pianists. There was one fantastic accompanist, who clearly had worked with the children and could fix any little moment of wobble whilst still playing 23 notes in each hand, and there was another, who like myself rather busks through things, but clearly has no option as she is all there is ! (Like me too!), and then there was M, my son in law who stepped in last momentish, and played a selection of music not in his normal line of genre, and was a real trooper. For those of you who know his wonderful and off the wall sense of humour, he played like a highly trained Les Dawson, most of the right notes ( well done M), with a teeny tiny hint of the sardonic which added a frisson of spice to the otherwise sedate and unusually straight laced repertoire !
Well done that man, you score a few flying tries last night, and then converted them with panache !