Hale Village, Merseyside
We held a “Mersey Wave Stand up to Cancer Bake Off” at Hale Village Hall on Saturday 12th May 2018. Raising over £1,000 for the charity and it brought people together from across Halton and Merseyside to enjoy an evening filled with live music and really great bakes!
The evening was jam-packed with musical performances from the Mersey Wave Choir and Young Singers and an incredible 30 bakes were on display at Hale Village Hall made and donated by members from across the local community to support the event. The audience were invited to taste the bakes throughout the evening and vote for their favourite bake. Choir member Mary McDonald scooped ‘Mersey Wave Star Baker 2018’ and said it was a ‘dream come true’ to win with her spectacular fresh fruit victoria sponge.
The atmosphere and community spirit throughout the night was great and it is with all credit to the bakers, choir members, young singers and all the volunteers who so generously gave their time and talents to delight us all with their brilliant musical performances and ‘showstopper’ cakes which filled the new Hall!’ The Hale Village Hall has been serving the local community for over 42 years and in 2015 the Hale Parish Council was successful in gaining a Lottery grant for the building of a new hall which was completed in September 2017.
Mersey Wave Music is now in its sixth year of running weekly music groups in Hale Village. The Mersey Wave Community Choir rehearses weekly on Wednesday’s (7pm) in The Wellington Pub Hale Village. Weekly community events including the Young Singer’s Class (7-19 years) take place at Hale Village Hall on Saturday mornings.
For more information www.merseywavemusic.com
The next chance to hear all of the performers will be at the annual Mersey Wave Summer Concert which will take place 7pm Friday 6th July 2018 at St Ambrose Church, Speke. Tickets are available 0151-558-1255 or online. Mersey Wave Music was founded in 2012 by local opera singer Kathryn Rudge and musical director and pianist Jason Ellis.
KINGS COLLEGE CAMBRIDGE
On 30th March 2018 (Good Friday) I performed the role of the Angel in Elgar’s ‘The Dream of Gerontius‘ broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 from the magnificent setting of the Kings Chapel at Kings College Cambridge. Performing the piece too were Brenden Gunnel (tenor) and David Stout (bass baritone). Christopher Robinson was the Conductor with the BBC Concert Orchestra and the Philharmonic Chorus. It was such a thrill to sing Elgar’s beautiful music in such a stunning setting as the Chapel to a very receptive audience.
King’s College Chapel is a stunning masterpiece of English craftsmanship. It’s part of one of the oldest Cambridge colleges sharing a wonderful sense of history and tradition with the rest of the University. It was founded by Henry VI in 1441, and includes an elaborate fan-vault ceiling, magnificent stained-glass windows and Ruben’s masterpiece, The Adoration of the Magi.
We had a wonderful time staying within the College and it was very special to be able to being to wander around the beautiful grounds and admire the wonderful architecture. It was a real treat to have breakfast in the famous College Dining Hall (I felt like I was on a Harry Potter film set!) The Hall was designed by William Wilkins in the 1820s and it is considered to be one of the most magnificent and dramatic dining halls of its era. It was part of the Gothic-style development the College underwent during the reign of George IV (1820-1830). There was also a lovely reception after the Concert too in the cloisters which was a magnificent setting and it was great to have the opportunity to talk to some of the audience members afterwards who all seemed delighted and to have thoroughly enjoyed the concert.
We ended our week-end in Cambridge watching the funeral cortege of the world renowned physicist Professor Stephen Hawking – it was very special to be there at this time and great to be able to pay our respects to such an amazing man who inspaired so many people and was so well loved – especially at home in Cambridge.
Eaton Estate, Chester
The Clatterbridge Cancer Charity marked the end of a landmark year with a unique carol concert and it was a big honour for me to be asked to sing. The concert took place at the historic Eaton Chapel on the Duke of Westminster’s Eaton Estate, near Chester. Supporters and fundraisers enjoyed a festive evening with music also from SingMe Merseyside Choir, led by Billy Hui. Speakers included Sarah Callander Beckett, High Sheriff of Cheshire, Kath Tierney, a patient of The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, and comedian and actor Johnny Vegas, the newest patron of The New Cancer Hospital Appeal.
My Dad George received brilliant care and treatments from Clatterbridge and it meant so much to sing for their new appeal and be able to support the charity.
Johnny delivered a captivating version of How the Grinch stole Christmas during the service and later spoke to guests about his gratitude to The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre and its staff. He said: “I’m very proud to have been asked to become a patron of this Appeal as it’s vitally important for the people of Merseyside and Cheshire that the new hospital, and all it can offer in terms of transforming cancer care, is built. I know what Clatterbridge delivers in terms of treatment, we are so lucky to have it on our doorstep.”
The concert, which also featured readings from Laurie Lee’s Cider with Rosie, and the classic Christmas film Miracle on 34 Street, came at the end of an important year for The Clatterbridge Cancer Charity. February 2017 saw the launch of the £15 million appeal to help build Liverpool’s first specialist cancer hospital and in July Johnny Vegas had the honour of breaking the ground at the site in Liverpool, along with Everton Football Club legend Ian Snodin.
The hospital will provide in-patient and out-patient care for people from Merseyside, Cheshire and the surrounding areas and is part of a £162 million project to transform cancer care. There will also be improvements to the Wirral site.
Next year will also be vitally important as 2018 marks the 60 birthday of The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre, with a series of events planned to celebrate the occasion. Andrew Cannell, chief executive of The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It was fantastic to see so many of our patients and supporters gathered together to enjoy this festive celebration. It was a lovely way to round off a momentous 2017 for The Clatterbridge Cancer Charity. I would like to thank all the performers and readers for contributing to a truly wonderful event and also express my gratitude to His Grace, the Duke of Westminster for his kindness in providing the splendid and historic surroundings of Eaton Chapel which helped create such a magical atmosphere.”
If you are able to help The Clatterbridge Cancer Charity, or have a fundraising idea, please contact them 0151 556 5566.
Maida Vale, London
I recorded my final sessions at Maida Vale Studios for the BBC New Generation Artist Scheme (NGA) this week with pianist Christopher Glynn which included songs by Chausson, Mahler and Strauss for broadcast by BBC Radio 3 – it’s been a real honour and an amazing chapter in my musical life! It feels like a good time to reflect on what being a New Generation Artist has meant to me.
I became a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist back in 2015. There have been lots of new, enriching experiences for me in a short period of time – all opportunities, as a developing artist, that I’ll be forever grateful for! It’s been a chance to learn, explore, consolidate, create, discover, take some risks and leaps of faith (-eek!) and I’m still here to tell the tale (..that always seems like a good sign to me!:) )
The first time I sang as a NGA artist was at the Houses of Parliament with pianist Chris Glynn for BBC Radio 3 “Live in the House’’ (I spent the whole time pinching myself wondering how in a million years I’d ended up singing in there!) I sang “Una Voce Poco Fa” Rosina’s aria from Rossini’s ‘The Barber of Seville’ as I was making my debut in this role at English National Opera at the same time.
It was great fun performing and being interviewed by Shaun Rafferty as always on Radio 3’s “In Tune” and there were lots of broadcasts of live concert performances too. Pianist James Baillieu and I performed song recitals together which included brand new commissions of compositions by Michael Nyman – “Two Sonnets for Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz” – broadcast live from Leeds College of Music as part of a song recital. Also, composer Roxanna Panufinik wrote “Love Sought” based on text from Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night” – this was another new commission and we performed the world premier live on BBC Radio 3’s “In Tune” from Stratford Upon Avon as part of the BBC’s Shakespeare Festival 2016. We recorded this with Anna Tilbrook (piano) & Rachel Roberts (Viola) and I worked with Roxanna in making a music video for this directed by animator & VJ Mischa Giancovich for the New Shakespeare Songbook – commissioned by BBC, ORF and the European Broadcasting Union. (Available to view here. )
This year James Baillieu and I opened the new concert series in the beautiful setting of Glynde Place where we were made so welcome – they hope to keep supporting future BBC New Generation Artists in their next concerts too. BBC Radio 3 also broadcast our live recital from the Norwich and Norfolk Festival. It was a brilliant experience to perform songs by some of my favourite English composers in the BBC Radio 3 live lunch-time series of concerts at Wigmore Hall too – I loved having the opportunity to sing Frank Bridge songs with viola with Gary Pomeroy there too.
I discovered composers that were new to me and it was great to have the chance to work in the recording studio on more songs that had not previously been recorded – there was a chance to do this with songs by Scottish composer Alexander Mackenzie for broadcast on The Composer of the Week series.
Most recently, I recorded Spanish songs by Manuel De Falla ‘Siete canciones populares españolas’ with the wonderful guitarist Thibaut Garcia who has just started on the NGA scheme.
I also had the honour of working with the brilliant BBC Orchestras throughout – a particular highlight was making my BBC Proms debut live on Radio 3 singing Rossini’s ‘Petite Mess Solemnis’ with the BBC Singers which was Conducted by David Hill. I was over the moon singing my first Elgar ‘Sea Pictures’ with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Ben Gernon at Elgar’s home town of Malvern. Earlier this year I sang beautiful Eric Coates songs and Ivor Novello songs live on BBC Radio 3 with the BBC Concert Orchestra and their Chief Conductor Bramwell Tovey. I am thrilled to have another Radio 3 live performance in December of ‘Chausson’s ‘Poeme de l’amour et de la mer’ with the BBC Scottish Orchestra and Conductor Ben Gernon.
Regular recording sessions of songs for NGA broadcasts were a real highlight for me. Studio 2 in Maida Vale became a music haven to me – I loved spending hours there recording some of my favourite pieces, working and creating with brilliant people. It is an amazing place with so many artists making and recording music from all genres in studios down the corridors, not to mention the pictures on the canteen wall of when the Beatles recorded there! I enjoyed every minute of soaking up the atmosphere of the whole place.
Recording with different artists and producers really inspired me to keep re-thinking how I approach my music making and even how I listen to music – new perspectives on preparing repertoire; from singing lessons, rehearsing and working in the studio to gearing up for the red recording light. Then listening to it all back and hearing subtle details that sometimes pass by in a flash when you’re ‘in the moment’ of performing – recording magnifies everything! I’m sure it’s the life work of any artist to keep striving for perfection and I often convince myself it will take longer than my lifetime for me to get some performances where I’d really like them to be – but hitting the record button right now on songs that are old friends, brand new music and during live performances has been a brilliant experience to learn, share and gain the perspective of fellow musicians, colleagues, tutors, friends, family and wider audiences – Thanks to them all! I’ve really appreciated the benefits of having the opportunity to collaborate in this way and the luxury of our precious time together with the music and ultimately the reward of simply being able to share it. Always with the hope that we have respected the composers and writers and given of ourselves to the music in the best faith to communicate its message. No matter what at the end of each session, like every performance, I know I gave every piece my whole heart and soul – a totally enriching and rewarding labour of love.
It’s been the greatest privilege to have the chance to meet new audiences at the concerts and reach so many people – and so exciting to have the responsibility of making music that travels across the airwaves. Thanks to all the external promoters and festivals that have supported us. I really want to thank everyone that has been a part of it – especially the wonderful musicians and creatives I’ve had chance to work with over the last few years and the whole BBC team that made it all possible. I’m in total awe and I absolutely loved it!
Also, to everyone who has listened and been in touch to say they’d heard songs along the way – it means the world! ..Here’s to the next chapter all together 🙂
A little clip of the final take in my last recording session at Maida Vale as a BBC New Gen Artist. ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ – Carousel – Rodgers and Hammerstein with Christopher Glynn.