Friday, 29 November 2013

This could be the start of a beautiful friendship....or, at the very least, the restart of a career.

Saturday 23rd November was a good day for many reasons. I will list 3 of them and explain. They are not in any particular order, just in the order I remember.


1: I ate THE best Banoffee Pie of my life.


Now I could leave it there or I could tell you where I went for the best Banoffee Pie of my life and for your loyalty I will let you in on one of Streatham's best kept secrets (not a secret at all. Many of you will have frequented the following cafe in the past I am sure). The cafe is "Whole Meal" a little vegetarian cafe tucked away near the police station just off the Streatham High Road. The main course I had was also fantastic but I actually refrained from eating the whole plate of veg curry they put in front of me to ensure I had room for the pie. Of course if you don't like bananas, toffee and cream then this is not for you but if you do, hot foot it to St. Reatham as quickly as possible to sample this incredible taste sensation. Click on the following link to change your life (possibly a step too far, it won't change your life but it will make it better for the 10 minutes it takes to eat). 

www.wholemealcafe.com


2: I participated in THE best Zumba class of my Zumba-going life so far.


Before the main event of Saturday (which I will get to soon and does involve singing so hang in there dear reader) I decided to shake off a bit of nervous energy by going to a Zumba class. I knew Saturday was going to be a bit nerve wracking so, the Friday before, I booked the Zumba class thinking it would help with calming me down. That should give you some idea of the extent I suffer with nerves sometimes. The fact a Zumba class can calm me down probably seems bizarre as it should really have the opposite effect. Says a lot about my disposition. Anyway, it worked and was also the most perfect class I have been to thus far. By the way as I have been going on incessantly about my Zumba going antics I advise you to google Jenny Brister and come to Surrey and find out what I keep going on about. 


3: I actually did a bit of performing.

Following a very satisfying morning I made my way to St. Leonard's Church in Streatham for a rehearsal for that evenings concert with Streatham Choral. Thanks to my marvellous friend Helen Withers (first mentioned in Who needs rehearsal?....Um, me please.) who suggested me for Saturday's extravaganza, I had been engaged to sing the second soprano part in a performance of Kodály's "Missa Brevis". To those of you who know the piece this should not have been a problem for a seasoned professional like myself but I was nervous, nay, terrified for a variety of reasons. I worked out that it had been 5 years since the last time I had been involved in a choral concert. 5 years since I had worn a concert dress (although you will be thrilled to learn I still fit into my purple velvet number I bought in C&A about 20 years ago - thank you Zumba). I had forgotten how much I love a concert frock and dressing up. In this day and age we rarely get the opportunity except at your own wedding (like that is ever going to happen!), so the concert platform is my place for dress up. I have never worn a wedding dress at a concert, in case you were wondering, although it is a thought. At least I would get to wear one. Full veil and 20 foot train methinks. Maybe not. Anyway, as always, I digress.

Another reason I was terrified is that I was singing second soprano. I was on the middle line of a section of three part close harmony. As a highish soprano it is rare for me to be on anything other than the top line so having to find a middle harmony line is something I am not used to. Add to this the fact that I only had one chance to get it right in the rehearsal meant I inevitably got it wrong. Actually there were two chances as the section is repeated later in the piece, with different words, so I did get my second chance and I did get it the second time thankfully. I was also lucky to have two wonderful singers either side of me in Helen and the mezzo Clare McCaldin. They both do an awful lot more concert work than me so it was nice to have such calming forces holding me up. 

My brain was in overdrive though following the rehearsal. My fabulous friend, Helen, had to stay a bit longer as she was singing in the Rutter "Requiem" in the second half of the concert so I went off on my own for a small breakdown. I have been very doubtful of my abilities to sing since finishing the Phantom tour so this was a big deal for me even though it really wasn't a big deal in the grand scheme of things, if that makes any sense. The concert was going to happen. My contribution would be correct or it would be wrong but the world would keep turning and nobody would really care either way.

As it was, I did it and I did it right (slightly flat on one D but I can live with that). When it came to the concert I was so calm. No real hint of nerves and I really enjoyed being a part of it. So much so that I want to do more. I realised how much I miss singing "classical" music and how I have been neglecting the best part of my voice. I am pleased to be a versatile singer but I trained to be an opera singer and have not done an opera since 2005! That is ridiculous. So, this weekend I am going to start working on a plan to get more concert work. Unfortunately getting on the concert circuit is tricky. Although there are a lot of choirs out there they all tend to have their favourite soloists and it can be difficult to get in. Therefore, if any of you know anyone who needs a soprano soloist (who is cheap as chips) please point them in my direction. Oh, and tell them not to be put of by the "Incompetent Soprano" bit. Maybe I didn't think that name through after all.

P.S. I have more to say about the concert but this Diary Entry is long enough already so I will post that separately soon.

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