Aah, Spode. That time where you ignore the mundane humdrum of regular life and concentrate on what is important. The music. The friendship. The music. Hannah thought I should go back to writing reviews, and since I didn’t take any photos this year, maybe I will.
This year, John became ‘acting domestic bursar’. This was harder than I had thought it would be and easier than John thought it would be, so I think that’s probably about right.
Rupert and Jo got married! It was such a charming thing; they got married in the last mass, and it was so very sweet and lovely.
Music: A lot of music. So much polyphony, I nearly had too much. There was definitely too much plainchant. Debbie Miles Johnson was the ‘other’ choral conductor. She is fantastic. We sang four contrasting sets, all lovely. I particularly enjoyed Unicornis captivatur by a guy called Ola Gjeilo (which you can find on youtube). Adam conducted the Sunday Mass, which was Puccini Messa di Gloria. It was fantastic. Adam is very good.
Masses: These were good, but the poloyphony rating was a little high. There was a nice bit of Bruckner. David Bevan junior and Ian Williams conducted a mass each, and were both very nice. The Assumption mass was an old-fashioned Dominican Rite. I still am not keen. So I negotiated a bribe with Hannah, who didn’t want to come at all. If we were each good at mass, we could have a quarter-pint of cider each. Of course, we still sniggered in Mass, but not too much, so it didn’t count. Hannah didn’t really like the cider, but drank it anyway. And the celebrant, Fr Lawrence Lew, who seems very nice, rushed the last gospel, which was a pity.
Orchestra: Brahms 2. I love Brahms 2, and I can even play some of the notes. Sam played timps, and seemed to be doing fine.
Strings: Tchaikovsky’s serenade for strings. I like it, but it’s very difficult. Even Tony said it was difficult. I know that one reason is that I don’t practice nearly enough. But that is life. Also, I skived a rehearsal to practice for my last night item. Which was deliciously naughty.
Junior choir: The children gave Fauré‘s Tantum Ergo, which is pretty and a large collection of songs from the Lion King. It was great. Hannah was in it, and even had a short solo, which was just exactly her solo. She is getting good.
Young people’s orchestra: Sam on cello, Hannah on alto sax; highlights from Harry Potter and an arrangement of Mars from Holst’s Planets. Everything went very well.
Guitar group: John on bass guitar; Hannah on guitar. They did a lovely thing in the last night. Hannah seems to be coming on fine.
Lectures: We had lectures on Holst and Hildegard of Bingen, both very interesting, and on art-and-spirituality and music in the mass. The former also very interesting. The latter was not groundbreaking; but I must check out the thing about Pope Paul VI saying that the people should do the singing; I think a full citation might come in handy some time.
Wind band: Adam brought his melodica and played it in the flute section. It was hilarious. I really should learn to play a wind band instrument. Or join the percussion section. I had fun playing the oboe part on a treble recorder, but did an even more rubbish job than usual, and one of the oboists ran off to play the flute part (I knew the flute part would be much harder than the oboe part). Hannah played an awesome alto sax solo. John played bass guitar.
Last night: John gave a monologue. Albert and the Lion. If it had been recorded, it would have been the definitive rendition. And me? I sang a duet with Nicholas Armour! It was the best thing ever! A nice little bit of Mendelssohn that was easy enough for me to learn. Ann Sloboda accompanied. She is fantastic. Nicholas is fantastic, and it is so easy and natural to sing duets with him, even though I was very nervous and worried about everything. Everybody said they liked it, which was most gratifying, and what a nice song it was. I will have to learn some more duets, so I can sing again next year. Hannah was in several items as well, all very good.
Tip: I finally found a use for the cleaning rod that came with my recorder: to stir my bloody mary.