This year marks the 47th Season of Leigh Music Society and it was a pleasure to perform a recital with Duncan Glenday on 2nd Feb 2020. The Society present seven concerts a year between September and March on Sunday afternoons in the Derby Room, above the library at the Turnpike Centre, in the centre of Leigh, Greater Manchester.
The Turnpike is a unique arts venue and since January 2017 Turpike, an independent arts organisation, has occupied the first floor of the iconic 1970s brutalist building. There are lots of activities happening at the centre with the aim to raise aspiration, resilience and encourage people from the across the community to take part in the activities. There are art exhibitions and weekly workshops – Simeon Barclay’s Bus2Move exhibition was just being installed and will be open to the public from 14th Feb. https://www.theturnpike.org.uk/bus2mov
Returning to sing for Leigh Music Society brought back lots of happy memories. Duncan and I performed a programme of English Song this year. The first time I sang there was in 2002 while I was studying at the Junior RNCM – I loved my time there! I was really thrilled that Karen Humphreys MBE, Head of Junior RNCM was at the concert – I’m always thankful for the opportunities, support and encouragement we had as young performers to step out for the first time in front of public audiences – and nearly 20 years later Karen is there in the audience, and all of her support and advice still means the world!
It was great to see a ‘full-house’ for the concert with many much loved friends in the audience. There is always a warm and friendly atmosphere and if you would like to attend a forthcoming concert please visit their website – https://leighmusicsociety.info/about-us/ The Society regularly invites established professional musicians from around the region to perform, and also provides a platform for young musicians to perform. If you are interested in performing a concert for them you can contact them by email.
On Friday 24th January 2020 I performed a concert for Lyndale Cancer Support Centre. The concert was the first event of its kind for the Centre; held at Volair in Huyton. I was so thrilled to sing with our local community choir Mersey Wave Music and their musical director Jason Ellis and the Northern Ukes Band . Together with Lyndale Cancer Support Center; we created a special programme of music with patients, families and carers and the volunteers associated with the center at the heart of the whole evening. The compère for the event was BBC Radio Merseyside’s Helen Jones and we are all so grateful for her support. Special thanks and congratulations to Lyndale Volunteers Vicky and Margaret for organising a brilliant night and the whole team at Volair who looked after us so well. The evening raised over £3,000 for much needed funds for Lyndale Cancer Support Centre.
“Lyndale” has been providing one-to-one and group support to cancer patients, carers and their families in a warm, relaxed and friendly environment for over 30 years. The support center is run by volunteers and was established in 1983, providing help and support for Cancer patients throughout the Knowsley region. The charity is led by a team of trustees, key volunteers with many years of experience, and the service they provide is all confidential and free.
History of Lyndale
Lyndale was originally founded by Mrs. Mary Davies who was a local resident with personal experience of cancer – she recognised the need for additional support for patients receiving cancer treatment and originally began a support group within her own home, with approval from local GPs. Lyndale became a registered charity and the committee obtained statistics that showed the North-West with the highest incidence of cancer in the country. There has since been an ever-increasing demand for cancer support and the service they provide.
Cancer incidence and cancer-related mortality are major problems in England’s North West. Most recently Liverpool has been identified by Public Health England as one of the three most cancer stricken cities in England and cancer mortality in Merseyside and Cheshire is 76% higher than the European average. Every year in Liverpool, around 40% of all cancer cases are diagnosed by doctors in the A&E Department. In these cases the cancer is usually advanced and can be more difficult to treat.
In order to continue to serve a great number of people ‘Lyndale’ moved to the house on 40 Huyton Lane in 1986. It became the unique cancer support group within a homely and friendly environment that we know and love today. This was all financed by a grant of £36,000 from Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council and £12,000 from St Helens & Knowsley Health Authority. The shortfall in funding of £11,000 was covered by taking out a 25 year mortgage. Lyndale Cancer Support Center and their volunteers now serve around 100 cancer patients and their families a week.
There was building work and refurbishment carried out in 2003/4 which was funded by the National Lottery and from the Mayor of Knowsley’s Charity Fund, and further funding was obtained from Merseyside Safer Cities & Knowsley Inclusion Unit. Lyndale is still run today entirely by dedicated and committed volunteers who provide caring support and information in a friendly relaxed and homely environment – as was Mary Davies‘ original wish. Little did their founder member and first Committee dream that the seeds sown in Mary’s small home, would lead to the beautifully extended and refurbished Lyndale of today!
Lyndale still does rely on donations and funding for running costs, the financing of teachers and therapists for the provision of complimentary therapies, relaxation sessions, yoga and beauty therapies, art and computer classes etc. which are all free of charge to all those who attend Lyndale. Lyndale also organises social events, outings and rambles. Every aspect of their administration, financial accounting and caring support has been carried out voluntarily since 1983.
More people are surviving cancer than ever before. In fact, cancer survival rates have doubled in the last 40 years as a result of improvements in cancer treatments and diagnosis – with thanks to amazing places like Lyndale for their excellent support. There is still, however, a lot of work to do to help reduce the number of people developing and losing their lives to the numerous cancer types. Through our music and events like this one we hope we can help to raise much needed awareness and support for wonderful places like Lyndale and provide uplifting events for all of the volunteers, patients and their families and friends.
If you would like to donate to Lyndale Cancer Support Center please visit https://www.justgiving.com/lyndalecancersupportcentre/donate or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
On Saturday 18th January 2020 I performed as part of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No.2 at King’s College Chapel in Cambridge for the Cambridge University Music Society . Andrew Gourlay conducted members of the Cambridge University Sinfonia and Wind Orchestra and the massed collegiate choirs of Clare, Gonville and Caius, Jesus and Selwyn Colleges. Elin Pritchard sang the soprano solo and I sang the alto solo.
The first rehearsal was the night before the concert and it was a privilege just to spend time with everyone – listening to Mahler’s incredible music in the stunning chapel and hearing the young players and singers, who worked so hard, under Andrew’s inspiring guidance!
Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, also known as the Resurrection Symphony, was written between 1888-94 (first performed in 1895). The Symphony was one of Mahler’s most popular and successful works during his lifetime and established his enduring reflection on life, death and the beauty of resurrection.
Mahler wrote of the first movement (Allegro maestoso), “We stand by the coffin of a well loved person. His life, struggles, passions and aspirations once more, for the last time, pass before our mind’s eye. And now in this moment of gravity and emotion which convulses our deepest being… our heart is gripped by a dreadfully serious voice… what now? What is this life – and this death? Do we have an existence beyond it? Is all this only a confused dream, or do life and death have a meaning?” One of the most powerful aspects of this work is that the fundamental human questions asked in the first movement of the symphony will receive their answers by the last. (With tidal-waves of emotions in between – just like life!) The second movement (Andante moderato) is a nostalgic reflection of happier times, along with bittersweet episodes and the third movement contemplates the possibility of the meaningless nature of life.
At the time he was composing the symphony Mahler was also setting music to some poems from the anthology of 300 years of folk literature, and the fourth movement of the symphony includes one of my most favourite songs; “Urlicht” (primeval light). This song was not originally intended to be a part of the Symphony and is taken from Mahler’s ‘Des Knaben Wunderhorn’ songs with piano accompaniment which were composed in 1892 and are based on a collection of poems by L. A. von Arnim and Clemens Brentano. ‘Urlicht’ is written in the key of D flat major which creates an otherworldly moment, taking us to a realm away from the Symphony’s overall tonality of C minor. ‘Urlicht’ is an expression of the ‘need’ and ‘pain’ of Man and it ultimately ensures the empty, meaningless dimension that Mahler portrays in the third movement is not the end. Through courage and belief in choosing to follow God’s guiding light – we are led to the divine final movement and the conclusion of the Symphony.
I’ve loved listening to and singing Mahler since I first heard his music while I was at studying at Music College. As the years go on and life moves along, it becomes more meaningful and this piece is a guiding light in itself.
Mahler is quoted as saying, “A symphony must be like the world. It must contain everything.” Mahler gave us the world and more in this one!
The concert in Cambridge was performed in memory of Jamie Gardiner who died in January 2017 at the age of 22. It was incredibly special that Jamie’s father, Robert Gardiner, spoke to us all during a break in the rehearsal on the day of the concert. His support for the concert and tribute to Jamie was so moving – he expressed to us all beautifully how this piece in particular can help us to remember those we’ve loved and lost, and bring so much comfort and hope throughout our lives.
In 2016 Mahler’s original score for Symphony No.2 was sold at Sotheby’s of London for £4.5 million, the highest ever price for a musical manuscript sold at auction! For so many of us Mahler’s score and the moments we are gifted to spend with it are priceless.
It was a great privilege to perform in a concert with violinist Rachel Podger and pianist Christopher Glynn in November 2019; we were supporting the wonderful work of Music in Hospitals and Care UK! It was also so special to return to sing at Royal Northern College of Music (that’s where I trained in music 2003-2012.)
“Music in Hospitals & Care (MiHC) is a charity providing live music sessions for people who are receiving care or treatment in healthcare settings across the UK. Since 1948, MiHC has been breaking down the barriers which prevent people, regardless of their health or wellbeing, from accessing the benefits of live music. Our sessions are designed to humanise clinical settings, reach and connect people, encourage communication and meaningful interactions and evoke emotions and memories when it matters most. Each unique concert is delivered by professional musicians and tailored to meet the needs of the audience group. From the Shetland Isles and the Highlands of Scotland to Northern Ireland, the Valleys of Wales and down to the south coast of England, we operate in hospitals, hospices, care homes, day centres, special schools and community settings too. We have offices in England, Scotland and Wales, with over 680 musicians spread far and wide. Together, and thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we are able to bring the benefits of engagement with live music to over 90,000 people in care each year.”
It was a privilege to be able to sing Richard Strauss songs with Chris and Rachel and to speak – sharing about our personal experiences as a family and the true benefits of music at any stage of life. Read more here: https://kathrynrudge.com/blog/music-and-cancer/
“There is only today!”
This 5k was so much fun – a great route around Liverpool city centre. Brilliant wigs and outfits and Scouse spirit! We ‘legged it’ round town for a great causes.
I ran for wonderful R-Charity the charity for Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen Hospitals NHS Trust.
“Every year, staff working at the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust make such a positive difference to the lives of thousands of people across Liverpool and the North West. To help ensure the best possible outcomes for these patients within our care, the R Charity fundraising team are continuously working with teams across the Trust to fund vital equipment and improve facilities.”
All of the R-Charity fundraisers had a lovely cuppa and a cake in The Cavern Club afterwards to celebrate.