Monday, 22 February 2010

St Mary's in Ham-ony

Since starting at St Mary's (which seems like forever ago now) I have had a lot of requests for singing lessons or group choir sessions, and finally I've been able to do something towards that. The Wednesday singing workshops have been running this term and have been great fun! Music is so important to me, particularly singing and this has been a great way to get my fill. Since Arabian Nights has finished I have found myself steeped in music and singing at every turn and I love it!

I have been arranging a lot of music for the singing workshops as I've gone along, and I've really enjoyed the range. The Flying Pickets, Survivors Eye of the Tiger, Paul Simon and Britney Spears, as well as some classic gospel and acapella songs. Theres been a rich tapestry and the students seem to have been enjoying it. What's great is there willingness to try new things and sing new songs, which is the blessing in any choir.

But the singing workshops have only been the beginning of this musical marathon I find myself running. Since November I have been looking for Community Choirs in the local area to take part in an event organised for Ham House's 400th birthday. Since then the event has grown even bigger with the inclusion of a community groups procession organised by our 3rd Year St Mary's Drama in the Community Students. So far they've been very impressive in there work ethic as well as the results and I'm enjoying working with my singing team - Zoe, Ed and Rachel.

Only last week Zoe and I visited a choir in the Vineyard Church in Richmond, lead by Ruth Fenton. After an hour and a half of singing it was clear how much people enjoy the singing they do and gain so much from it. Not only the singing, but the sense of community and cohesion it brings. It's a social gathering as much as anything else. But also an amazing amount of talent, choir leaders and participants. People who give so much of their time for the love of what they do, and this is what will make the event at Ham House such a success.

It has lead me to learn even more about myself however, and this has been really interesting. I've worked on my own for so long, and taken charge of every aspect of a project that it's been strange having other people to work with again. I am enjoying it and the whole team are working very hard, but I've never had a support team, a sounding board, a work partner. Throughout all my directing I've never had an assistant, not because I am amazingly good, I've just never felt good enough to ask anyone.

When working on your own you make mistakes, but it's easy to cover them up. If you want to have a week off you can, as long as you work twice as hard the week after. At every point you know exactly what has been done and what needs to be done. To give some of the responsibility has been liberating beyond measure, but does take a certain outlook to make it work.

All I can say is it's been good so far - harmony has been achieved throughout - musically and communicatively. Long may the music at St Mary's continue............

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