It has been a tremendous week. My first week of the winter term - albeit in August ! - has been tinged with excitement at seeing everyone again after the show and the holidays, pleasure at the massive vocal changes which always happen after a longish break from singing, and a good deal of apprehension as one of our youngsters underwent a major brain operation on Wednesday of this week.
Well it is truly wonderful news on all fronts, it was great to sweep the week clean with a new vocal broom and hear the strength which some of the teens voices have become imbued, infact M, our Fiametta in the show, has almost doubled the size of sound and when she zipped up to a top E flat she was as beside herself with glee as I was almost deafened ! Her sister Mh who was Tessa, has resumed her Grade 8 music and sang the Habanera from Carmen with such a vigour I could barely believe it was infact her !
Our Luiz, N sang her scales with such new found confidence and such a woman's voice - she clapped her hands in sheer joy when I told her that I thought the 'boy treble' sound had finally died and left for that great vocal repository in the sky, never to return, and she sounds as if she is developing a tone quality to rival a much older soprano ! Her namesake N, and our Gianetta seems also to have found that her break has healed considerably, so this incredibly beautiful voice has knitted together from top to bottom ! She was overcome with delight, and rightly so. Young S sang with loud and resonant vigour, no longer afraid of making a BIG sound and was pushed straight away into beginning her Grade 4 songs, whilst her younger compatriot L, who has the lowest little girl voice I have taught in many a year, found her head voice - what rapture......she added a third onto the top of her voice.
All of these giant leaps in vocal quality and technique come about because of the show intensity. Only teens seem to make these huge steps as their voices are so malleable and ripe for healthy growth that the work load of singing almost everyday for three weeks is like an injection of practise probably equal to a whole terms singing lessons. It is undiluted, college style working, and as long as the work is nurtured carefully and carefully monitored, this intense 'course' takes them to new heights.
The best news of course is that S, our Vittoria in the show had her operation at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh, and 72 hours after the event the doctors are completely amazed by the success of the outcome and the wonderful progress she is making. This was life threatening surgery, and what a brave girl she has been. What courage from her parents. They are loved by the member of Inner Sound and strong thought and prayers have been winging their way to S and her family from all corners of Paradise, from every Abbey where I teach, from her extended family in South Africa, from some of our show principals spread all over the UK and many others. Call it what you like, but I believe in the power of prayer, and over dinner this evening at Boarbank Hall where I have just arrived prior to teaching the sisters in the coming week, two sisters were overheard to say that poor old God wouldn't have dared to ignore the bombardment of messages he was getting from 'downstairs' !
Perhaps they are right.
My beautiful welcome when I arrived at Boarbank Hall
Nuns always remember....
ie (85% chocolate, the only sort I can eat)