by Ann Hutchings
|The object of
the day was to provide vocal training and an insight into the work of
Karl Jenkins, based on hisThe
Armed Man: a Mass for Peace. It was led by Dr
Andrew Padmore. NYC was very fortunate in being awarded a BBC
Performing Arts Fund grant from the
"Choral Ambition" thread for this
project; and it exceeded our expectations in many ways.
Through publicity in the local press and by leaflet distribution from
our members, a large
number of ‘visitors’, 55 in all, came to join the choir for this event.
There was a wide range of
experience within the hall. Some had sung the work before and
needed no excuse to enjoy
singing it again with a different conductor. Some were coming
to the work for the first time with some trepidation, especially in the
unusual rhythm and harmony. A few were less used to
following a score but still found the experience of singing with other
people very exhilarating.
The success of the day can be attributed to the
enthusiasm and teaching technique of
Andrew Padmore; the balance of
entertainment between work and play; the
ambience and hospitality of NYC choir members to the visitors; and the extraordinary
ability of our own Greg Smith to make joyful music from a very dodgy
Roland keyboard, often improvising accompaniments to
spirituals and exercises.
report can be best illustrated by the comments I have received in
feedback from those who came to the event (below). It is
encouraging that about ten new members joined us at our next
rehearsal, despite the constraints for some of rehearsing on Saturday
matter how experienced a singer you are, nor how many choral days you
have attended, there is always something new to learn, and that was
what happened on the choral day with Andrew Padmore. He
certainly blew some fresh air into us and made us think about singing,
voice production and the fun of it in general.
an enthusiastic teacher - impressing a fellow teacher is always a
difficult thing to do and he did it with abundance. We shall
always remember the buttock clenching moments in future practices!
We felt it to be a great privilege to take part in the day.
Thank you to the catering support team, an excellent repas.
enjoyed his reasoned explanation for correct posture and its
relationship to being in tune. The pace of the day was excellent - the
mixture of work and play well managed.
a wonderful day! We apparently spent so much time doing what some may
have regarded as silly songs and exercises, yet still got through a
work that was unknown to many of us, and in which there were some
interesting rhythms even if the notes were not too difficult.
Certainly I didn’t know this work at all. And the
exercises – well, we all felt and performed better after them as well
as enjoying doing them. They were also excellent ice-breakers.
had a lovely time - Andrew Padmore was very good at keeping us all
involved, changed activity when you might begin to feel you'd done
enough of something, and there was no wasted time. Breaks lasted more
or less long enough and re-starts were prompt. Greg Smith's
jokes on the piano helped it all along too. Andrew told us if
we were not tired by the end, we hadn't been working hard enough.
What nonsense, I thought! I was fine until I got
home, but then had to go to bed early to recuperate.
is always refreshing to sing with other groups and the 6 of us from the
were made to feel very welcome. Andrew Padmore was full of
infectious energy and his enthusiastic approach kept us all amused and
at the same time kept us working hard to produce a good sound. His tips
about singing and breathing exercises will no doubt prove useful beyond
today and his knowledge about 'The Armed Man' made us able to
concentrate on the tricky bits which will be invaluable to future
rehearsals and ultimate concert. I hope you will pass on our thanks to
the BBC Performing Arts Fund for supporting this event.
you for a super day on Saturday. I found it quite inspirational.
Andrew's enthusiasm was infectious and I have found myself practising
the breathing exercises regularly - even in the car!
There was plenty of variety as he broke
the sessions up with exercises and made everything fun as well as
challenging. I had a lovely day and will be coming to join you in