lara.rufflecol.es

Category: Music Page 1 of 2

Silly Love Songs

As lockdown gives us more time to think, I’ve been thinking about my Dad more than usual – a lovely and a sad topic.

Some of the happiest times we had together were when we listened to music, particularly Billy Joel, but also Chris de Burgh and The Beatles.

I don’t remember us ever really listening to Wings, but I’ve discovered them as an adult through Spotify and their wondrous not Christmassy but definitely Christmassy song Mull of Kintyre.

And then there is Live and Let Die, a song I knew through the Guns N’ Roses cover, and its use in the epically fantastic 1997 John Cusack film Grosse Pointe Blank – listen carefully as the cover morphs into muzak as Blank walks into the Ultimart. Pure class.

Jet, My Love, Let ‘Em In, and of course Band On The Run, have also been hiding somewhere in my subconscious for years because that’s how Paul McCartney works – he’s everywhere (in a good way), but my ultimate favourite at the moment has to be Silly Love Songs.

I’m a complete romantic and I love a good tune. And what a good tune it is. The funky groovy driving and thudding bass – I just love how high in the mix it is, the joyous dancing horns, the violins, the way it slows and speeds up as the song transitions from one section to the next in an entirely natural waltzing way. And of course the lyrics, so entirely happy and merry and delightful. I just love it, it makes me fizz and dance about.

And I love that it was written as a gentle riposte to John Lennon and others for being a bit sneery about McCartney’s music.

Turn it up loud (but not right now as it is 22.23 and I should be going to bed), dance about and give someone a good squeeze and a cuddle after.

I Miss Singing

I’ve been singing in choirs since I was eleven, and apart from a brief blip from 2006 to 2009, I’ve not gone more than a couple of months without singing or performing since then.

I really miss singing at the moment, and it was another thing that distinguished me from ‘just’ being a mum, and it matters far more than a part-time job. Obviously please employ me, money is good etc.

I sing in a choral society and in a chamber choir, and both our spring concerts were cancelled in the same week. Currently, no-one knows when we can rehearse again, or if our summer concerts are even feasible. Will we have enough time to rehearse, and would an audience even have the confidence to attend.

It is a big bummer.

I do a lot of publicity and social media work for my choral society, and I also email our members information from our chair (we use Mailchimp). Usually the missives are about rehearsals, concerts and additional notation for our scores, but at the moment I’m being sent information on how we can all keep in touch, and how to stay musical at this time.

It is actually really lovely having something useful to do, and to know that completing an administrative task might help the 200 or so members on the mailing list.

I also love administrative tasks.

Our conductor Dan Ludford-Thomas has sent us some suggestions and ideas based on Henry Purcell‘s music, and our accompanist Nico de Villiers has recorded two pieces of music for us. I’m crossing my fingers for more, partly because he’s such a brilliant performer, and partly because we’ve got some content for our YouTube channel! Promote, promote, promote!

Nico’s first offering is Robert Schumann‘s Widmung, check it out below.

His second offering is Felix Mendelssohn‘s Song without Words, see below.

So while we can’t meet, we can listen to Nico’s beautiful videos, and that’s not so bad.

Here’s hoping summer term doesn’t get written off entirely. ๐Ÿ˜

The Rochester Mass Project

This Easter weekend I took part in The Rochester Mass Project as part of the Southbank Centre’s Chorus 2015 festival. The event was organised by the excellent Voicelab and anyone on their mailing list had an invite to the workshops and performance a month or so before.

I had done very little research about the piece beforehand, so it was a bit of an exciting revelation to find out that not only were we performing with The James Taylor Quartet – who are quite famous within the acid funk jazz world, but that we were also premiering the piece with the band and Rochester Cathedral Choir. Awesome.

Rehearsals were for two days from 11am to 6pm, and we ended up learning five of the six pieces we had been given. The rehearsals were a little tough, and you would be in a bit of trouble if you couldn’t read music or weren’t an amazing aural learner. Lots and lots of accidentals and fast vocal rhythms, possibly easier to play than sing! ๐Ÿ˜€

We were led through the movements by the lovely Laka D, a musician whose communication skills were perfectly suited to the piece in question and to the singers in the room. It was a really great experience to be taught by her, and as my background is more classically based, it was a plus to be developing my aural skills whilst having the safety of the score.

After a day’s break we were back at 11am on Monday for two run throughs with the band and the Cathedral choir before the performance in the afternoon. We were also meeting their conductor Scott Farrell for the first time, so it was another day of figuring everything out.

But once all was together, we were able to get a real feel for the piece, and the rhythm section really helped with the timing of each vocal phrase and for the 7/8 section of the Sanctus.





The actual performance itself was a little nerve wracking, an audience were paying to see us perform after only a couple of days rehearsal… but, it was great! It was super fun and it was wonderful to perform with a full band and to feel the thud thud thud of the bass drum.

There were nine 1st Sopranos including me and we didn’t do too much wrong! It was an exhilarating performance – with encores, spontaneous clapping (not very classical!) and woops and cheers and stuff. Wonderful.

The Cathedral choir was also excellent, amazing high voices for young singers, and it was a great help to have them there as they had been rehearsing the piece for longer. As for the band themselves, just very cool, amazing sounds, and it would have been even better from the front.

Can I do it again please?

………

Handel’s Messiah at the Royal Festival Hall

This March my choir Lewisham Choral Society are visiting the Royal Festival Hall with Hackney Singers and Forest Philharmonic to perform Handel’s Messiah.

This is amazing, the ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL. SO EXCITED.

The important thing first is tickets, get them here through the Southbank Centre direct.

Singing with us are soloists Helen Meyerhoff (soprano), Timothy Travers-Brown (alto), John McMunn (tenor), and Philip Tebb (bass).

From the official blurb this is:

“An Easter performance of Handel’s masterpiece, by a 300-strong choir uniting voices from North and South London.

George Frideric Handel’s Messiah is often performed during the Christmas season, but this thought-provoking work was originally an Easter offering, first performed at Musick Hall in Dublin on 13th April 1742 to a grand audience of 700.”

To hear what LCS are about listen to the audio interview shown below:

Thanks again to fluffy BBC journalist Jon Jacob for his wonderful piece.

The two choirs had their first rehearsal together on Saturday in Goldsmiths’ Great Hall and I had a wonderful time, the singing sounded immense. This is going to be GREAT.


Replicating the distance between us and Dan at the Royal Festival Hall


View west from the Sopranos

Go. Buy. Tickets. Now.

………

Christmas with Lewisham Choral Society

This Christmas my choir Lewisham Choral Society has a few dates for your diary. If you would like to come and see us sing there are three events to see us at:

………

Christmas Concert, St. Mary’s Church, Lewisham
Saturday 10th December, 7.30pm

We will be singing songs by De Victoria, carols, choruses from Handel’s Messiah and Britten’s Saint Nicolas Cantata with a childrenโ€™s choir. See our site for details and tickets.

I am really looking forward to this as the Britten is great fun and a bit odd! I am also singing a short piece called Vigilate by William Byrd with a number of other LCS singers and this is quite exciting as I haven’t sung a small group piece in years! I think we will do okay! :).

And a big thank you to my friend Jon Jacob for his wonderful interview with LCS to promote this week’s concert:

………

Carol singing in aid of St Joseph’s Hospice, Trafalgar Square
Tuesday 13th December, 6pm

LCS are supporting St Joseph’s for the second year running and their volunteers will be collecting donations whilst we sing for an hour under the Norwegian Christmas tree. This was us last year in the freezing cold and wet December air! ๐Ÿ™‚

ยฉ Clive Dechant

………

Carol singing in aid of MediCinema, St Thomas’ Hospital
Saturday 17th December, 2pm

LCS Alto Jo Honey, is a volunteer for MediCinema and we will be singing at the start of a screening of Arthur Christmas to welcome patients (adults and children) and their families and friends.

MediCinema is a film industry charity that installs state-of-the-art cinemas in hospitals around the UK, bringing movie magic to patients and people in places of care.

………

I won’t be at the MediCinema carols but if you see me at St. Mary’s or in Trafalgar Square come and say hello!

Merry Christmas to you as well! ๐Ÿ™‚

………

Kurt Weill’s Street Scene at the Young Vic

My choir Lewisham Choral Society is taking part in the Young Vic/The Opera Group’s joint production of Kurt Weill’s Street Scene. We are singing a number of pieces during the second act and seventy-odd members of the choir signed up for the fourteen performances, we are each performing in about six shows.

I haven’t sung in a musical/opera since I was in my school’s production of Oliver Twist when I was thirteen so I’m quite excited to be part of this production. LCS also sang in the first Street Scene run at the Young Vic back in 2008, so we are obviously doing something right! It is lovely to know that LCS are respected enough to be involved in a production like this. I feel quite proud! :-).

We had two run throughs with our conductor Dan before the summer break, and since then have been rehearsing with the lovely Tim Murray who is conducting and touring Street Scene for nearly all of its run. It has been great fun and rehearsals have been at Kings College on The Strand. On Thursday we rehearsed in the College’s Chapel which was absolutely gorgeous and the acoustics were great.

Yesterday we had our Sitzprobe (my favourite new German phrase) rehearsal with the orchestra at the Young Vic and this was very exciting too (I don’t get out much). We rehearsed with the cast and the BBC Concert Orchestra, but will be performing with the Southbank Sinfonia as well. We also had a tour of the venue to see where we would be performing, we are up high in the technical gallery so don’t expect to see anyone from the chorus if you come to the show!

LCS shall be singing in the dark and from memory, quite exciting! We normally have our heads buried in our scores (joke!) so it will be a good change for us. :D. I also understand that some of us will be able to see the conductor from our positions so we will definitely be kept on our toes! I am completely excited about these performances – as you might be able to tell by all the exclamation marks and emoticons – and am really looking forward to singing in such a high-profile venue.


Inside the Young Vic, a lovely odd miss mash of new and old architecture, and in complete contrast to the Old Vic up the road


Awesome poster spread outside the venue, and it has sold out I understand. Woo-hoo!!!

Our next rehearsal is the technical one, and the dress rehearsal is on Thursday with the first show that evening. Saturday will be my first performance and then I have another five shows to do until the final two performances on the 1st of October (which I am doing both of). And! I have to go to regular LCS rehearsals at the same time! What an exiting September!

So, if you haven’t already got your tickets and are a bit upset because you can’t go, do not fear! Our lovely Auntie Beeb will be recording it over two nights for a Radio 3 broadcast in the future. Very exciting! I will update this blog with these details as soon as I have them.

………

Ten years of Jimmy Eat World’s Bleed American

In 2001 I was seventeen and had just finished my first year of 6th Form in the wilds of Northamptonshire. I first heard of Jimmy Eat World courtesy of a Kerrang! compilation CD given away with the magazine that July, the featured track was ‘A Praise Chorus’ – a song I still lovely dearly today.

As it was the school holidays I had plenty of time to listen to this CD again and again and to scour the Internet for more information about this band. I also had sufficient cash from my part-time job and decided to buy their back catalogue as well as their newly minted fourth album Bleed American on impulse. Once these arrived I was hooked.

Yesterday I realised that Bleed American was over ten years old and it got me thinking about what myself and Jimmy Eat World looked like then, and now.

    

    

Not much has changed visibly of course. I still look silly and Jimmy Eat World still look like the nice and polite rockers that they are. Everyone seems to have got married, had babies and even I have managed to secure myself a man, AND he hasn’t run away yet. I’m still in shock myself!

My record collection does not have quite as many CDs in it however, the singles all got given away when I moved in with my boyfriend last year, and I haven’t even bought their 2010 album Invented as I can listen to it on Spotify for free, how times change…

I still have many wonderful memories from various gigs and from the two trips to Arizona I took in 2002 and 2003, and the Jebediah/Jimmy Eat World split shown below was signed after their Manchester University gig in November 2001.

I went with two school friends and was cheeky enough to sneak backstage (not hard in a Student Union), and the band were nice enough to a) not be pissed off, and b) to sign the random girl’s prized possession.

And below, a Jimmy Eat World disaster, I lost my lovely blue Bleed American CD. Awful.

Due to 9/11 the band re-pressed their forth album as ‘Jimmy Eat World’ not long after I bought this disc, I would imagine original copies are now hard to come by.

So, some memories for you. I don’t listen to Jimmy Eat World too much these days but I have spent a glorious weekend playing their back catalogue very loudly. The boyfriend also likes Jimmy Eat World so when I can prise him away from Manowar/Iron Maiden/Metallica/Iced Earth/[Inset metal band name here] we both have a good old reminisce about our ‘younger’ days seeing them at the now demolished Astoria in 2002 (before we knew each other).

Here is where it started:

Rock on politely kids. \m/

………

Lovely jubbly LCS promotion

I joined Twitter last year and have started to make a few friends in the last few months. Obviously I use the term ‘friend’ in a loose manner because I have never met most of the people I ‘talk’ to on a daily basis. :).

I have however met a few and one who stands out is BBC employee and fellow south-east Londoner Jon Jacob. Jon is a proliferant blogger who stumbled upon my choir in March this year and he wrote this about us. Being the clever person he is, he also found our Twitter account and tweeted at us. Ah the wonders of the modern world!

Due to this lovely bit of promotion I started corresponding with Jon and reading his own blog, and now four months later I was able to entice this nice man to take some photos of us at a recent rehearsal. Many of his own blogs feature audio, video and pictoral elements and I knew he could take some great photos of our choir.

I was right of course… read all about it here and see the photos through Flickr:


Thank you Jon, next time we WILL get you to a concert. :).

………

A Saturday spent singing Faure’s Requiem

My choir’s recent concert featured a number of jazz and gospel works, and as part of the programme pianist Ben Saul played some Aaron Copeland and George Gershwin pieces. He also came to one of our rehearsals in the week leading up to the performance to run through the pieces he was accompanying the choir in.

This Ben Saul seemed a rather personable fellow so I introduced myself after the rehearsal to see if he would mind being photographed by me for our Twitter page. I also enquired if he was on Twitter and for once the answer was yes. This answer greatly pleased me as I could now tag him in LCS tweets, excellent! The 21st Century does exist in the choral world!

So I tagged him in a few tweets, as well as messaging him on my own Twitter account, and found out that Ben also runs scratch choirs from time to time. His next event was to be a rehearsal and performance of Gabriel Faure’s Requiem at a church where he runs a Girl’s Choir in central London.

The Requiem was to be performed to raise funds for the charity Unlimited Partnership who run micro-financing projects in Sierra Leone. It was also a lovely opportunity to sing a piece LCS had performed in 2010. I loved singing Faure’s Requiem last year, it is so beautiful, and so I was really excited to spend a Saturday singing. Ben is also great fun so I knew I was in for a good day. :).




The venue we rehearsed and performed in was St. Andrew by the Wardrobe which is just by Blackfriars Bridge, a stone’s throw from St. Paul’s Cathedral – and The Church of Scientology. What a mix!


Ben conducting and not speaking for once. He tells so many many many stories and musical in-jokes that I am just not cool enough to understand. ;).


We rehearsed and performed in the upstairs of the church, we didn’t even go into the main body of the building. It was a bit odd to look and not touch but it was a wonderful view to look down on. The church is covered in gorgeous wooden panelling, absolutely beautiful.

The singer with glasses is Ben McAteer who sang the baritone solos, such a lovely gorgeous voice. I found this about him online if you happen to be in County Antrim in September!


Told you it was beautiful. The main access to the church is up a grand set of stairs from Queen Victoria Street, but you can walk all the way round the church to see different angles and the lovely glass window behind the altar. The entrance round the back on St. Andrew’s Hill has a lovely set of wonky stone steps to go up too.


Also singing a solo was Max Thorpe, a thirteen-year old boy soprano from one of Ben’s youth choirs’. He sang the Pie Jesu solo.


Poor photo I know, it does not do the church interior justice.


Organist Jonathan Eyre and Ben.

This Requiem is so beautiful and moving, LCS’ conductor Dan Ludford-Thomas loves giving music space to breathe and it was a pleasure to experience the same with Ben. The random mix of thirty or so singers (from Faversham Choral Society and The Hackney Singers mainly, I was the only one representing LCS) were all very welcoming and knowledgeable about this piece and I had the added fun of sitting with five girls from the Church’s girls choir. I felt very grown up helping them with what we were singing, even when I didn’t know the whole piece myself that well! :D. And I had a bloody frog in my throat for the whole rehearsal!

I had such a lovely day, and as the boyfriend had an awful hangover I am really glad I was not at home to experience his pathetic behaviour (hahaha). I instead raised a bit of cash for charity and had a lovely time in a beautiful building in The City – I love the square mile.

Roll on the next scratch choir!

………

London Flash Choir

This Monday bank holiday I spent the day singing and rehearsing for London Flash Choir. Excellent research by the dynamic duo of Max de Lucia and Fred Feeney led them to contact my choir who read out a notice about the event during rehearsals two weeks ago.

I got very excited very quickly as I love singing and the idea of being on the BBC appealed to my huge ego (no joke). I downloaded the score the Friday before last, and found we were to be singing Bill Withers’ Lovely Day, The Beatles’ All You Need is Love and Toploader’s Dancing in the Moonlight. I wasn’t sure about the mix of songs myself (probably due to a bit of anti-Toploader snobbery) but what do I know…

… as the rehearsal outside Trinity Music College was just awesome. The mix of songs, the arrangement and the trumpet parts were just fabulous. Everyone picked up the songs very quickly and we stopped rehearsing with the score and started working on building up the songs into a performance. Max did such a great job of leading us all and bossing us around, I was so impressed.

We rehearsed from about 10am to 1pm with a break and then went up town to “gather” (flash doesn’t sound right) on the Southbank for 3pm. It was quite tense just before 3pm, everyone was constantly looking around for the bassist who was starting the whole piece. I hope we didn’t look too inconspicuous, it was just so exciting!

So then we ‘flashed’ and it was great and loads of people clapped and cheered at the end. Singing and dancing in front of everyone and looking a bit mad and odd was just wonderful. We then got to do it again in Trafalgar Square at 3.30pm where the trumpeters climbed up onto the steps in front of Nelson’s column. A random man joined in and danced next to Max while he conducted but that is the point right? All a bit odd and fun! More cheering and clapping at the end and then off to Covent Garden for 4pm.

Covent Garden felt like the best one because the covered market kept the sound in really well. We all mixed in with everyone upstairs and downstairs, and the bassist who started us off had the best of his three fake fights with other secret singers who had ‘stolen’ his mobile. All very odd and fun. Everyone who watched the flash mob was smiling afterwards and it was such a good feeling to have shared my love of singing with everyone.

My new pal Karen and I had the best time and really enjoyed spending the day together singing and wandering around London. I loved that the rehearsal was in my neck of the woods and that Max and Fred had the support of Trinity so they could organise this ace event and use space at the Old Royal Naval College for the rehearsal. Best way to spend a Bank Holiday Monday in my book.

There are plenty of videos on London Flash Choir’s Facebook page along with more photos. Below are some of my photos of this wonderful day full of blazing sunshine and singing fun (and extreme sunburn for me).


Max in charge outside the Trinity Music building at the Old Royal Naval College


Bass alert


Sopranos


View from the back


Singers spread about the courtyard as Max does his best to de-English-ify us and make us act less self-conscious


We didn’t quite make it to five hundred but it was AMAZING and SO MUCH FUN


“Look happy for God’s sake! These are some of the best-loved pop songs in Britain!” ๐Ÿ˜‰


My new friend Karen! All the way from Rochester for the day.


Fred and Max talk to BBC journalist David Sillito who did a piece for BBC Breakfast this morning


The dynamic duo

Thank you for an awesome day! ๐Ÿ™‚

………

Page 1 of 2

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén