Monday, 5 March 2012

Three go mad in Dorset

Well, we had the most fabulous day on Saturday. You will remember (because I have given you no chance to forget) that it was the day of our singing group's concert, part of a series called Chalk Legends. We started off driving to Jane Wild's house and leaving our car, then we all set off to Sturminster Newton for the usual Local Vocals workout. We haven't been singing the performance songs for very long but we gave quite a good account of ourselves and it is always good fun. Out teacher, Lesley, chooses well for us and the range runs from gospels to sea shanty with a side trip around Georgian (the country) drinking songs. Considering that this group has only been running for six months, we do pretty well. There are other LV groups and we numbered about sixty at the concert.

Then it was straight to the pub for lunch, as we three had been invited to a private view of Yvonne Morton's exhibition at Slader's Yard, West Bay (still in our lovely Dorset). My view is that when the rest of the day's grub opportunities are uncertain, a good lunch is essential.

The exhibition was lovely, with Yvonne on top form. Her inspiration was the Foundling Museum where all the 'given up' babies were renamed but their admittance was marked by the handing over of a piece of cloth so that the mother could identify the child if she was able to reclaim it. Yvonne encapsulated the feel of these ledgers of scraps by holding them in a protective layer of stitched and felted silk and flax with raffia.


It was at this point that, attempting to photograph Yvonne for Workshop on the Web, my camera gave me the dreaded messsage 'no memory card' and it was apparent that I'd forgotten it. No internal memory on that camera and no iphone camera as I thought it might be better not to take valuables to the concert. So no photos for the rest of the day. Grrrr!

However, I had some pics of the other major artist at the gallery and her is Marzia Colonna's work.

These large scale collages work perfectly and the compOnents are carefully considered and built up into a textured whole. Look at the lovely marks in this piece. I remember, when teaching City and Guilds, how folk used to pull faces when we did mark making but this shows how powerful it can be.

All in all this is a lovely venue and a well planned exhibition. West Bay is a super sea-sidey Dorset village and this gallery is great. I am told the crab sandwiches are a legend but we were still stuffed after lunch.

We had just the right amount of time to look around and then we were off again to Sturminster Newton for a pre concert practiCe. The sun came out, the Dorset countryside looked spectacular and Jane did all the driving. Bliss. We should really have been singing our Dorset song about Bob the Fiddler (written by William Barnes and all in Dorset dialect) but we were afraid we would peak too soon.

At the venue we were impressed with the fact that we had a dressing room but less impressed with the fact that we shared it with the Swing band and their instruments. It was fun though. A quick gargle of tea and we were soon having a practice with Kokuru, an offshoot of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. They could only spare us a few minutes and the tempo had changed from the soundfile they gave us so it wasn't our finest hour. There was also the small problem of having the choir on the stage and the conductor below us, which made coming in on time something of a challenge. The swing band were lovely and we did much better, but when we did our own stuff, unaccompanied, we really did well and the experience of being in the middle of a huge wall of sound was so uplifting. I have never been involved in anything like this and it was a fantastic feeling.

After the practice, it was soon time to get lined up for the real thing and Lesley lined us up in the right order. It was quite a long wait and we were supposed to be totally silent: a tall order for most of us.

Then we were on, and into the Bob song, known as Bob the Builder to most of us. Due to the tempo problem and the not seeing the conductor, we soon showed the orchestra a clean pair of heels and finished a good two lengths ahead! Luckily the guys who were recording it for the BBC asked us to do it again later and we managed a really good performance.

Our own stuff was very well received and we got a huge clap. Singing with the big band (they were great) was fun.

All too soon it was over and we were allowed to sit on the stage and watch the second half. Home very late, with all the music ringing in our ears. Wonderful day.

If you want to hear us go to the BBc's iplayer

I recommend that, after the first bit (we are on early), you move the slider to 2.50 to hear us with the big band. I wish they had included our own, unaccompanied singing, but maybe that will happen later. We have been asked to participate in more of these Chalk Legend gigs but for the big one at the Lighthouse in Poole, Clive and I are away doing a series of talks up North.

Back to the normal stitchy blogs later this week. I am doing a paper and embellishing thing tomorrow so will take photos of the technique for the blog if it all works out.


Heather said...

Two stunning and very different pieces of work. Yvonne's has such a poignant connection and you are right about mark making, but marks made well and in the right place are so effective.
Your day of singing sounds such fun and I'm off to follow the link you gave us. Thanks, and good luck for tomorrow and next week.

liniecat said...

Stand aside the soldiers wives! It sounds to have been a smashing experience and makes me wish I had tune enough to grace a similar group of singing souls. enthusiasm overtakes my tuneful ability lol

Lexa said...

What a day! So much that is diverse and uplifting. Except the camera thing.

Alex said...

That sounds wonderful - there really is nothing like being in the middle of a beautiful sound that you are part of!