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freewaydiva: (Music)
Stupid weather notwithstanding, I really had a good time. The week wasn't without its disappointments and annoyances, but overall my take-away is one of cameraderie and joy. It was good to see some people that I'd met before, and to continue strengthening those relationships. It was good, also, to meet new people from all over the world, and establish some new friendships that I hope will carry forward.

I learned that I am, in fact, continuing to improve as a musician, that the choices I'm making are the right ones for me, that my moral compass is still intact, that everyone has a doppleganger, that black tights under denim cut-offs is de rigeur for young women in the UK, that Picadilly Circus is a nightmare, and that I really, truly am allergic to wheat.

I was also reminded that, while being kind is its own reward, sometimes that kindness inclines people to do nice things back (*waves at Charlie!*), that I am a problem-solver and helper-girl (I'm still trying to decide if it's my chicken), that I will almost always defend the underdog, that spandex is a privilege not a right, and that some people are DETERMINED to be unhappy and there's nothing I can do about that.

Lots of little things happened, this week, that I really appreciated. Time will tell what sort of impact they will have, but I suspect that doors and windows were opened.

I *heart* Choir Camp!




P.S. The bass ringer in the TS concert? Lovely sound, and rather handsome. ::saucy wink::
freewaydiva: (Music)
Well, Christ on a bike, did we get our act together at the last minute. Seriously. The looks of anguish on the faces of ALL of the tutors and Peter during the dress rehearsal must have flipped a deeply-seated switch in us all, because we NAILED the performances. Every piece. Even Spem. Twice. That is hugely gratifying, being a part of an ensemble that is actually ensembling, and doing it well. I'm quite proud of what we accomplished. I hope everyone else is, as well.

We also aquitted ourselves of our EPIC PARTY duties rather well. I don't remember the last time I stayed up past 3am. o.0 There was, as you might imagine, much hilarity. It was a fun bunch, this go 'round. And, as always, when they do the Certificate Receiving Line, I learned the names of probably 45% of the people I'd been looking at for a week. It's one of the perks of the course. ;)

This morning came rather early, and I may have gotten a little verklempt saying goodbye to quite a few of the folks, but travelling back to London on a train full of people I knew was quite nice. The pouring rain, however, was not.

So now I'm sitting in a cafe, after having navigated the tube and locating my hotel successfully, figuring out where I need to be next. (Just off of Picadilly Circus, for the record).

I'll post some sort of "Let me essplain, no there is too much, let me sum up" thing when I've had a chance to let my thoughts percolate a bit. But the current general consensus is that the week was made of WIN.
freewaydiva: (Music)
I have to say that I am enjoying the nice coffee shop across the street. The food in the cantine may be trying to kill me, but every day has started with a 3-shot latte. This is a Good Thingtm.

Thursday was pretty much Standard Issue for the first part of the day: breakfast, warm-up, rehearse, break, rehearse, lunch, lecture (from Patrick about performing Spem). Then anyone doing a small group piece needed to perform it for Deb, which meant that I had a GIANT chunk of time in the afternoon, during which I took a long and glorious nap. After that, we had a full-choir rehearsal for Spem (we'd only done it all together once before) and...it didn't crash. Neither did it burn. We were pretty good, actually.

In the evening, we all gathered 'round in the Chapel for the "Sharing Concert." All week, people had been getting together in groups to work on other pieces of music, and this was the opportunity to perform them in front of a jury of their peers together with everyone in a non-threatening environment. It was really quite good. The only real unpleasantness can be categorized under "What has been seen cannot be unseen." >.< Then it was Boy Night at Compline, followed by our usual bar shenannigans (and an extra cocktail to muddle the visual memory from earlier in the evening). Also, it would seem that I am in need of a pair of red patent stiletto pumps. Who knew? Also, also: David is very cheeky.

Which brings us to today. We've just finished our last rehearsal before our Gala Concert, this evening. It would be bittersweet, except that I was making so many mistakes that I'm glad for another opportunity to get it right. And we're making a Spem sandwich - doing it once at the beginning, and then again at the end. No sense in doing all of this preparation just to perform it the once!

One more Compline, and then the Epic Party of Finishing in the TSSS Memorial Library Bar, where I fervently hope they've re-stocked the gin.

Tomorrow, I return to London for a couple of days on my own. I plan to give full play to a few of my other geeks (V&A for costume research, the theatre, KnitNation and probably the British Museum) before returning to Seattle on Monday. I also expect to take more photos, there, I hope.
freewaydiva: (Music)
Yesterday, we went to Oxford. A small group of us found a very nice cafe, and had some lunch (with dessert, of course), and then sort of wandered around a bit before we needed to be at Magdalen College Chapel for a rehearsal. It was an amazingly beautiful space, but the light wasn't good enough inside to take many pictures. Boo.

Evensong, there, went fairly well, and then it was a quick jog up the street for some dinner before taking our seats at Christ Church Cathedral for a Tallis Scholars (the real ones) concert. They did a variety of things, including the Allegri Miserere, for which the quartet stood right behind where I was sitting. It was a bit of a revalation, since I was able to hear some fiddly bits in the music that I'd never picked up from recordings or other live performances before. Very nice! The light was MUCH better, in that space, so I did get some pictures.

Then we were hurried out the door and back on the coaches for the drive back to Oakham. I had the pleasure of having Dr. Sara as my seat mate. Hilarity enused. I'd not really had much of a chance to talk to her, yet, so it was Most Premium time.

Back to our regular schedule, today, with the lovely addition of Patrick Craig and Chris Watson to the tutor lineup. Only a day until the Gala Concert, and the end of the course. It goes by so quickly, and yet it seems like we've been here a month.
freewaydiva: (Music)
It's an odd thing how sometimes counting to four can be such a challenge, but there it is.

So, wow, did I sing a lot, yesterday. Rehearsal, rehearsal, lunch, post to blog, rehearsal, Evensong, small group rehearsal x2, Compline. But, under Jan and Deb's expert instruction, and not talking during breaks, I made it to the end of the day with a voice, and woke up with it again this morning, so I did something right. Go me!

I was thrown a couple of curve-balls at compline, last night. Normally, we do the same service night in and night out, so cantoring is no big Magilla. You get your starting note, and off you go. Last night, however, we did a full-group, polyphonic Te Lucis by Tallis that was in a higher key, which threw me a little, and there was a snap decision to do the Salve Regina chant at the end that I hadn't rehearsed. I was pleasantly surprised at a) how little that freaked me out and b) how well I rolled with it once I found my stride. Even the Te Lucis incipit at a higher - and slightly awkward, for me - pitch. I feel much improved. :)

(Madame Z, if you're reading this, the general consensus is that my voice has shifted up a bit, just like you thought. That should make things interesting.)

I really like the compline services we do here, and cantoring really helps me center. It's also kind of fun, since I don't have a church gig and I get to draw on my past experience with chant choirs.

Today, we're off to Oxford. We'll be doing Evensong at Magdalen College, and then hearing the Tallis Scholars perform at Christ Church in the evening. We will also have the opportunity to eat real food at a restaurant of our choice, which will be a nice break from the absolute crap they serve in the cafeteria (although, I have to say that the bacon is very nice). AND (and this is a Very! Exciting! Thing!) we'll be bringing Patrick back with us! EEE! He's so much fun.

::waves at Jan, to see if she made it this far...::
freewaydiva: (Music)
I would have thought that finally getting a full night's sleep would have improved my mood, but the reverse seemed to occur, yesterday. Anyone who has ever sung with me probably knows that one of my biggest pet peeves are those folks for whom Stopping Singing = Starting Talking*. What's worse is when it's people who are really just interested in showcasing their obvious superiority in knowledge and musicality, and all-around awesomeness ::looks at some Tenors:: when the DIRECTOR is...you know...GIVING DIRECTION to everyone else. That crap put me on a bit of a slow boil for the rest of the day. And the oversinging by the group really can stop, now. We need to make it to Friday.

I'll save my ranty rant about Perfect Pitch And The Cross It Is To Bear for some other time, but suffice to say that later in the day there was DRAHMAH about that when we were handed a piece of music and then expected to sing it a semitone lower. My Stars!

The other thing that was...disappointing, really, was to discover "the man behind the curtain." Sometimes humans are so...human. ::small sigh::

But the day wasn't all Drama and Intrigue. The woman paired with me on my part for Spem seems to be a Sister from Another Mister. We've officially become the silliest section in the whole choir. We're having a GREAT time, and, if I may say, nailing our part quite well. ::flicks imaginary dust off of shoulder and looks smug::

It's a good group of people this year. The cliques are few, and most everyone seems to be fairly friendly. The language barrier is a struggle for some, it seems, but that doesn't stop them from attempting conversation. Also: the coffee shop across the street is made of WIN.

Today was essentially the same as yesterday, but without the bad attitude. Mostly. ::looks at some Tenors:: I had a voice lesson with Deb Roberts ::fangirl squeal::, and I'll be cantoring Compline, tonight. And we're doing Evensong at the parish church, here, this evening as well. A lot of singing for one day, really. But tomorrow? Tomorrow is a field trip to Oxford, which should be a rainy fun time.

Also, the pigeons here are really loud. And look awfully meaty...


*The other is about the logistics of getting choirs on and off the stage, and other logistical issues, but that's a rant for another day.
freewaydiva: (Music)
Sunday was the first full day of Tallis-ing. It always feels like Monday, to me, and it takes me well into the afternoon to remember that it isn't, which explains why nothing is open. Also, quick props out to the Old Wisteria Hotel - I'd forgotten my plug converter in my room when I checked out, and they sent me a very nice email to let me know. When I was coming up the walk on Sunday, the really nice receptionist - Katie, I think - had it in her hand to give to me. Great service!

So, the day quickly got into the normal pattern. Notices, warm up, Spem rehearsal, break, full-choir rehearsal, short lecture, lunch, Spem rehearsal, break, small group rehearsal, break, another small group rehearsal, supper, full choir rehearsal, compline rehearsal, compline, bar. It's a lot of singing. A LOT of singing. Hard, but fun work. And we're making serious headway with some challenging stuff.

One of the things I really love about doing this course, is that Peter and some of the tutors are always researching the subject area, something from which we benefit by being their performance lab-rats. Last year, it was a piece that Deb's colleague found moldering in the back of a convent in Italy. This year, Peter found and arranged the Missa Euge bone by Tye, which is GLORIOUS. Really lush and lovely. We tackled the Agnus Dei on Sunday evening, and it's just beautiful. I'm assuming that we'll work it into the concert rotation, somehow. Yay!
freewaydiva: (Music)
...where was I?

Yes. Saturday!

I ran into an unexpected face in the hotel lobby on Saturday. Turns out that one of my favorites from last year in Seattle decided to cross the pond this year. Yay! Ran into a few other familiar faces at breakfast, and then we were off to the school to get ourselves situated. I'm in a different dorm than the last time. One without ethernet cables in the rooms, for all that the internet is alive and well, there. (Fortunately, another dorm we're using has extras, hence my typing here, now.)

This year, as you may have heard me wax on about at great and wondrous length, is a bit different, in that we're doing Thomas Tallis' "Spem in alium," a 40(!) voice motet. However, it is also delightfully the same in a lot of respects. This year the US and Canada are well-represented, as well as England, Sweden, Italy, Russia, Spain, Australia, Germany and France (an ex-pat, but still...she lives where she lives). Several people are here from my last trip, which has made it really easy to slip right into the pattern, and there are lots of new folks who are just delightful. It seems to be a decent blend of personalities, and I have to mention how high the musicianship bar is, this year. We're tearing through sight-reading like it's no big deal, which is making it even more fun since the angst is lower.

The food, as expected, is fairly dreadful. Apparently that's something upon which the kitchen, here, prides itself. ::blink::

So, for those playing along at home, the music for this session is as follows (and please go track down youtube footage or audio recordings - it's lovely stuff!):

Spem in alium - Tallis
Dum Transisset - Taverner
2nd Service (Magnificat/Nunc Dimittis) - Byrd
Verbum Caro - Sheppard
Ave Maria - Parsons
Domine, quis habitabit - Parsons
The Lord's Prayer - Sheppard
Christe qui lux - White
Te lucis ante terminum/Procul recedant - Tallis

In addition, there's compline and sharing, but more on that later.

The beds are horrible, the tiny irritating bug life is prolific, and the bar is well-stocked. Thankfully, there are two coffee shops, two doors apart, directly across the street and a lovely little restaurant tucked away behind the parish church, so I will neither starve nor thirst to any great extent, while I am here.

Sleep, on the other hand, may be a bit hard to come by...
freewaydiva: (Music)
...and waiting an extra hour at Peterborough, because that seems to be my lot in life, I have arrived, none the worse for wear, in Oakham where I am enjoying the free WiFi at the Old Wisteria hotel, and wondering where everyone went for dinner.

Tomorrow, it begins. But not until after breakfast. A meal that I sorely missed, today. Dear British Airways: you did reasonably well for a gluten-free dinner, but a few orange and grapefruit sections with...orange juice...for brekkie? You couldn't throw a hard boiled egg in there? I'm disappointed. And hungry.

At any rate, I got a lot of good music studying in on the flight, and am fairly confident that I won't embarass myself when things commence. Heh.
freewaydiva: (Palestrina Manuscript)
Today's trainwreck brought to you by the letters Heth, Teth and Jod and the number 5.

QOTD:
PP: "You have to put more energy into it, or I might kill myself."

PP: "Well anyway...that's what he's got there, so you've got to sing it."

Liz (about Gombert's Magnificat): "Well that's...uvular."


And on the Seventh Day...we had two rehearsals, two talks, two meals, walked up to the Cathderal twice, blew the doors off of the concert, had a lovely compline and then ended the evening with The Hustle at the post-Gala party (with special guest, Malcolm).

On the Eighth day we rested.

It was both surprising and not that our last rehearsal was a comedy of errors (they'd double-booked the Cathedral, so a wedding rehearsal of the "Cast of Thousands, including a wailing baby" variety was going on at the same time we were ruining Lassus' Lamentations), yet we managed to pull up our socks/put on our big girl panties and give, really, a very good concert. This year's music was very challenging, both in it's virtuosity and it's vocal range (2+ octaves, for me), and there were several moments (several times a day) where I wasn't at all sure that we'd pull it off. But we did, for the most part and, judging by the looks on their faces at the end, Peter and David (as well as Jan and Deb) were pleased with the results.

It's rather hard to believe that the week is over. It's so intense, and we pack so much into it, that Friday arrives somewhat abruptly, with no small sense of sadness, and I wake up on Saturday feeling a little empty. It never ceases to amaze me what the Tutors know, and how generous they are with that knowledge. Peter is encyclopedic when it comes to this music, and it's always a joy to put a quarter in him and just listen to him talk about it. And it's the same with Deb - it never gets old. Jan and David are such great...shepherds, really...of our voices and our technique. I told David that I'm leaving a much better musician and a little smarter - not bad for a week's worth of work.

It was a good mix of participants, I think. The "kids" banded together, as is their wont, but they weren't exclusive or snotty, which was really nice. They were fun, bright and delightfully talented. :) It was lovely reconnecting with familiar faces, and getting to know a few new ones, too, with lots of little fun moments (Cathy's fake nose ring for the Sharing concert, discovering that Peter is dreadful at waltzing but quite good at stamping, loads of wonderful conversations with Michelle, Jan's "Desert Island Disks"...). The overall feel of the week was just...pleasant. No divas (that I knew of), no one treating it as a week-long audition, people being supportive and kind...

I couldn't possibly articulate everything that happened over the week (and, in some cases, I absolutely shouldn't), but once again I leave utterly exhausted and utterly inspired.

Mission accomplished. :)
freewaydiva: (Palestrina Manuscript)
Today's trainwreck brought to you by the letters Heth, Teth and Jod, and the number 5.

QOTD

DW: "Basses, that's not the note that I gave you, or the right vowel. But other than that, it was lovely."

DW: "If it's out of tune, it won't sound nice. If it's in tune...it won't sound nice, but it will sound better."


I can now say that I have, in fact, added value to the Tallis Scholars Summer School experience. I taught Jan Coxwell how to do The Hustle, and we taught it to everyone this morning at warm-up. Hilarity ensued, as you can well imagine. The heart-breaking thing about it, though, is the number of people there this week who weren't even born when that came out. ::sigh::

The BIG THING! of the day, though, was the first public performance in FOUR HUNDRED AND FIFTY YEARS of two pieces that Deb's colleague found recently (like, in the last week, I think) languishing in a manuscript in Italy. That, in itself, is pretty epic. The fact that the music was GLORIOUS just made it that much better. Pretty heady stuff! I am ever so grateful that I have a little recording doobus for my iPod... :)

Tonight was also the Sharing concert. We've been working dilligently on pieces for yesterday's Mass and Friday's concert, but we've also taken time to put together small groups to work on whatever we wanted to sing, and then we perform it, informally, for the course. Lots of lovely stuff, there, too, including several pieces by Palestrina (my hero!) and a sublime 14th C. canon from Montserrat. Very fun!

Compline, tonight, was cantored by...me! And I did pretty well! It wasn't NEARLY as nerve-wracking as last year, when I was doing it for the first time, and it seemed to be very well received. (Deb paid me such high praise that I floated like a squealy fan-girl all the way home...where I got to clean up cat gak, so humility was sufficiently restored pretty much immediately. At least it was on the lino in the kitchen. Feh.) It's such a great part of the week, Compline. Hugh's reading tonight - more like a homily, really - was incredibly thoughtful. He doesn't seem to be much of a talker, but he is clearly paying very close attention and gave voice to how, I think, a great many of us feel about the program. I hope he makes it available to us.

No pub for me, tonight. I needed to round up some things for tomorrow's closing night party (is it already that time? ::sigh::), and pay a little attention to Barfy McGakkerson so she doesn't feel quite so neglected.

Also: the rumor has been verified. Next year at Oakham, Spem in Alium is on the docket. Wheee!!!
freewaydiva: (Palestrina Manuscript)
Today's train wreck brought to you by the letters Omnes de Saba and the number 8.

QOTD

PP: "Well, just kill the person who was doing it rather than looking meaningfully at me, expecting me to do it."

PP: "Altos, you just can't make yourselves. Maybe that's what he wants."

We sang an actual Mass today - the Kyrie and Agnus Dei from Josquin's Missa Ave Maris Stella plus Lassus' Alma Redemptoris Mater and Omnes de Saba, at St. James Cathedral, which meant that the morning was as it usually is, and the afternoon schedule was a bit messed up. Mass went very well, though, with the Shortest! Homily! Evar! We also had the joy of hearing David play some Howells in an organ recital beforehand, and the bonus of hearing Joseph play Peter's request of Liszt afterward. It's pretty cool how many parishoners will stay in their seats and listen until Joey's done playing. They're big on music, there, at the Cathedral.

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful, really. Barbeque for dinner, small group rehearsals, Dude's Night compline and a quick drink at the pub.

Oh! And I had a voice lesson with Jan in the afternoon, which was lovely. There isn't much time to cover a lot, but I managed to get something out of it. And I taught Jan how to do "The Hustle." Should be a fun warmup today.
freewaydiva: (Palestrina Manuscript)
Today's train wreck brought to you, once again, by the letters Aurora Lucis Rutilat and the number 10.

QOTD:

DW: "Where on Earth are you going next? Well...you're going back to hell."

Only two full-choir rehearsals, today, and then everyone was released into the wild to do anything but sing. It's a glorious day, and everyone hopefully will have a good time.

We *did* sight read through a couple of sections of Lassus' Lamentations. Gorgeous! And I'm getting a crash-course in singing music an octave lower than written. I'm not sure I could do it unsupervised, very well, but it's interesting.

I really love how Peter shares his excitement about some of of the pieces with us - drawing our attention to crunchy bits, funky rythmic areas and spots of suberb lushness. It's great working with people who really care about the music we're singing.
freewaydiva: (Palestrina Manuscript)
Today's Train Wreck brought to you by the letters Omnes de Saba and the number 8.

QOTD 1 (Re: St. Bernard's Waltz during warm-up):

PP: "The stamping is very gratifying!"

QOTD 2

DW: "Basses, you got to the top of that phrase, got very pleased with yourselves, then took a half an hour to come back down."


So, things continue apace.

Rehearsal, break, rehearsal, food, lather, rinse, repeat.

Today's Super Cool Lecture, though, was from Deb about Singing in the 16th Century, with bonus Radiohead and video of Your Larynx In Action (very cool!). Some very interesting stuff about speculating on performance practices, the make-up of choirs in 16th C. England and how voice parts weren't what they are today. I forgot to re-charge my iPod, so I had to rely on my friend, Ginger, to record it. Hopefully she was able to get the whole thing.

I also got to work with Deb in the afternoon on a really cool canon - O Virgo Splendens - from the Llibre Vermell de Montserrat (XIV c.). It's really pretty - all 9/8 triplets (but doesn't sound anything at all like a slip-jig). Later was more working with Deb on a Josquin Alma Redemptoris Mater that we ended up singing at Compline tonight. Lovely stuff!

Stuck in there were two small group rehearsals (Vox in Rama, which I think sounds like a Thai noodle dish, and Ne Irascaris, which I've sung before) and a near-meltdown from an almost-migrane. Thanks to a little lie-down and Better Living Through Chemistry, the crisis was averted.

It was Ladies Night at compline, which was really lovely and soothing. It was dedicated to a woman, Robin, who had done the course for the last several years but passed away over the winter. It was a lovely, and fitting tribute.

(I'd like to take a brief moment to mention how lovely many people on this course are - not only are they talented and intelligent, they're very thoughtful, caring and generous. It's really wonderful to spend this kind of time with people who are like that. Seriously.)

Came straight home after Compline, and tomorrow is a half-day of rehearsing in the morning, followed by the afternoon and evening off to go explore the city (and by that, I mean "do laundry and some shopping, work on a bit of music, and probably take a nap"). The weather has been glorious, so those who are off to see the sights should have a great day for it.
freewaydiva: (Palestrina Manuscript)
Today's train wreck brought to you by the letters "Aurora Lucis Rutilat" and the number 10.

Also, QOTD:

DW - "Let's think about that sound before we make noise, hm?"

We're doing a lot of double-choir music this year. Which is lovely when we get it together, but most decidedly NOT when we're sight-reading. Like, OMG.

This was the first full day of stuff and things, and it was quite full of stuff and things. They've added more breaks and lectures to the schedule, over time, so we're not over singing, which is nice. It is also interesting. Peter talked to us about the composers and some of the music we're singing this year - fascinating stuff. Did YOU know that Flemish composers had a lock on the "music scene" for a zillion years in the late Middle Ages into the Renaissance? Me neither! Also: Flemish is neither French nor German. Discuss...

There aren't a lot of small groups forming, this year which seems...odd, somehow. Maybe today there will be more action in that area. I've considered trying to put one together, but I have absolutely NO desire to direct or otherwise be in charge. We'll see how it goes, I guess, but signs are currently pointing to a very short Sharing concert on Thursday.

Speaking of concerts, last night's concert with the Tudor Choir/Tallis Scholars was, as expected, lovely. Jan was talking about how one never needs to oversing in that space. (I wish someone would mention that to...other groups who sing there regularly. >.<) The selections for last night were, of course, from Flemish composers - a couple of pieces that we're singing this week, as well as several others. The extremes of Soprano and Bass were really well-highlighted, and I enjoyed it tremendously.

I also enjoyed the pub. However, it made for a very late night, and I am now rather tired. Coffee and a breakfast sandwich will have to be enough fuel to get me through the morning - there may be time for a wee nap this afternoon. I hope.
freewaydiva: (Palestrina Manuscript)
After getting there, checking in and helping Rebecca get some things set up, we started with the usual drill of Meet and Greet, followed by a brief warm-up, followed by the Singing Safari.

"What's that?" you ask?

Being randomly set into a group and sight-reading a really hard piece of music for a half-hour, then switching up groups to do it again three more times. This year's selections were:

Ave Virgo Gloriosa - Richard Dering (c. 1580-1630)
Dont vient cela - Thomas Crequillon (1505-1557)
Adesto dolori meo - Giaches de Wert (1555-1596)
Alma Redemptoris - Orlandus Lassus (1532-1594)

We were treated to a tasty dinner, and then went straight into our first large-group rehearsal. We revisited the Lassus Alma Redemptoris with a little more attention, as well as plowed through the Kyrie of Josquin's Missa Ave Maris Stella and some of Maginificat Tertii et Octavi Toni, which has the potential to be a hot mess. There's always one piece like that, though, and we always manage to pull it out in time for the concert.

Then it was compline and now we're done for the day.

There are quite a few people I know from the last time I did this in Seattle, and about six of us from Sine Nomine, and another woman I sing with periodically. It's lovely to see the Scholars, again, too. It's a VERY different feel, though, as compared to Oakham - I really miss the English Village atmosphere. (And the concurrent Filipino conference with Grand Ball in the room next to our rehearsal space would have been much more tolerable if they'd brought me over a giant tray of lumpia.) There really isn't anyone in my age bracket, this year, which is kinda *meh*, and it will be interesting to see how the cliques all sort out over the next few days. Because there are always little groups that form - it's what people do. Oddly, Texas is very well represented, as is British Columbia. It seems to be a decent group, though. I suspect that it will be fun.

Tomorrow we really get into the regular schedule and start forming up small groups for the Sharing concert on Thursday. Also: Concert of the Tudor Choir with the Tallis Scholars at St. James. If you're in the Seattle area and are looking for something to do, you should come. :)

Now, my very demanding, facist kitty is informing me that it's bedtime.
freewaydiva: (Wakko)
Ok...so...where did I leave off?

Oh, right. So, we're in the middle of this giant workshop in a building right off the public park, last night. 60 people, all singing their brains out to Tallis' "Loquebantur." Good times. Somewhere along the line, though, some local hoodlums decided to, as they put it, "come in and be idiots." Seems they'd had a couple of drinks (I know, right?!) and thought it was a boys' choir, or something, so they sauntered on over with michief on their minds, and...were completely blown away by our singing. They just stood there, listening, for quite a while. We were, they said, "Fookin' Amazin'!"

Heh.

Score one for Rennaissance polyphony.

Today was pretty standard for our schedule. Warm up, full rehearsal, break, more rehearsal, lecture (Patrick Craig: "Tallis, Byrd and Me," complete with video footage from The Tudors), lunch, Tutor groups, break, Evensong, break, supper, and then small group rehearsal, which is what's happening now.

Tonight, though, is my Big! Debut! I'll be intoning the bits for compline, all by my lonesome. It's not too hard, and I've heard it a million times. Should be fun. Then a trip to Our Very Own Bar! and then bed. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

Quotes of the day:

"You're sounding all laid-back and Compline - I need you to sound more Matins!"

Peter: "Is there something I can stand on so they can see me in the back?"
William (cue Scottish accent): "Can't he just use some first Sopranos? We've loads of those"
freewaydiva: (Wakko)
Our days start off with Jan leading us in some really intriguing warm-ups. Some things you'd expect: vocalizations, stretches, etc. Some things you wouldn't: dancing a basic reel and The Gay Gordons to her singing, since the CD player didn't work. I only took an elbow to the face once! Much better than last year. ;)

The next up was a full rehearsal in the chapel. Tallis' "If Ye Love Me" and the Byrd Second Service. Not bad for a pack of sight-readers. A bit of a break, then more full rehearsal, this time the Gibbons Second Service. Lunch was actually quite delicious - I was uncertain after yesterday's dinner.

I've just come from the "Tutor Groups" rehearsal - each of the three tutors takes a smaller group of about 20 voices to work on a piece for Friday's concert. We're doing Philips "Acendit Deus," which I have a recording of, but haven't sung before. It's really lively, but after about the 5th read-through we started to get it.

And that leads me to now...we've got some free time, but I've signed on to do a small-group project and we rehearse in about 30 minutes. Then it's a bit of a break, more free time, dinner, a workshop with Patric (Tallis' "Loquebantur"), a short rehearsal and then Compline.

Coming up later this week: Turi Cantors Compline, and Our Day Out in Oxford!
freewaydiva: (Wakko)
Checked in, got my room, and ran into a few people from last year's Seattle session. It was nice to see some familiar faces, and quickly met a pile of new people as we were loitering outside, waiting for the first official thingy thing, located in our very own BAR! WOO!

After a nice glass of wine and the introductions, we went into what they call the "Singing Safari," which goes a little something like this:

The four tutors locate themselves someplace suitable. Each participant is given a packet with four pieces of music in it, and are given a schedule of four sessions. Everyone mixes up and moves from tutor to tutor every 20 minutes, sight-reading the pieces and working on them as best they can in what little time they have. Then it was dinner, followed by our first full rehearsal where we hit Gibbons "O Clap Your Hands" and Tallis' "Gaude Gloriosa." Then a bit of a break in Our Very Own Bar! followed by a short rehearsal, then Compline (which we'll do every night).

Most people went off to bed at this point, but I wandered over to Our Very Own Bar! to have a glass of wine, in the hopes that it would help me get to sleep. Jan and David were there, and I had a nice chance to get caught up with them. Then it was bedtime.

In a school dormitory.

With all of the comforts that comes with.

Which aren't many.


To be continued...
freewaydiva: (Wakko)
Goodness! It's taken me this long to get to a computer that works, and without further ado, I shall catch you all up on the haps, man.

Thursday was a day that started too early, frankly. Because I'm me, I did my packing that morning. Heh. And the only things I forgot were a pencil and highlighter. Not bad, really. The flight pattern was Seattle - Vancouver - London, so I boarded my cute, wee plane to Vancouver at 2pm(ish).

HOURS AWAKE: 8

Ed. Note: Vancouver airport is big, airy and shiny! Also, props out to the nice gate lady who scored me a fantastic seat at the front of the wing, so I didn't have to be deafened by the engines for nine hours. *love*

HOURS AWAKE: 11

Once at Heathrow, it was a hot, packed long tube ride to King's Cross.

HOURS AWAKE: 21 (because I can't sleep on planes - I did see a great little show about the Royal Winnepeg Ballet, though)

From King's Cross, I got right on a train for Peterborough, and had 30 minutes of air-conditioned bliss in a nice, cushy seat. *bliss!*

I got off the train at Peterborough to discover that the train to Oakham had been cancelled due to a shortage in staff, so I sat there in a nice, cool breeze doing crosswords for an hour.

HOURS AWAKE: 22:30

About an hour later, I disembarked in Oakham and walked the ten or so blocks to my hotel, checked in and promptly - against all advice to the contrary - had a little lie-down. Because HOURS AWAKE? 23:30.

I woke up, decided that I wasn't going to bother with dinner, ate the free biscuits from the in-room coffee service, and went back to bed a few hours later.

The next morning was a nice brekkie, and a short walk to Oakham School, where things were to get under way.

More in the next installment...

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