A bit folky

Hi everyone, I’ve been working on some repertoire using my voice with the cello, and am focussing on folk songs, mainly English ones. Here’s a recent live recording of Lavender’s Blue I did at a The Cellists recital on the Lakes!

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A contemporary trip to the beach…

What a lovely weekend! I took a trip to Yorkshire on Saturday, first to Leeds to play Dream of Gerontius – which was a very dramatic performance! Thoroughly enjoyable! Then on Sunday I was in Scarborough with Dark Inventions. We played in the very atmospheric Rotunda building, which houses the museum of geology. It is based in the works of a Mr Smith, which was great for us as three members of the ensemble are Smiths! We are campaigning to rename ourselves The Smith Effect in response to a display we found at the museum, but so far the other members aren’t so interested…
Anyway, so we played in the gallery of this round building, with the audience below. They couldn’t see us (well, certainly not me, anyway, as I was sitting down), and we couldn’t see them, which made for a very interesting and atmospheric concert. We had some newish works from Mssrs. Leedham and Scheuregger, as well as a world premier of a work for flute, clarinet and vibraphone by Benjamin Gait. Mingled with this was a Telemann violin fantasy, and Bach cello gavottes, and the programme was centred around Durations 4 by Morgan Feldman, for cello, violin and vibraphone. The concert was recorded, but unfortunately the lift below joined in with a lot of the concert – it worked very well in the vibraphone piece but unfortunately not so well in the Gavottes as I was playing in D and the lift beeped on a D# and F#… So not sure how much of the concert will be on the website, but you can check out what else we’ve been up to and have a listen at: http://www.darkinventions.co.uk

Oh, and it was all topped off by a trip to the beach – chips and a visit to the 2p machines. Lost all my 2ps, oh well!

Research: Music in Hospital Settings

I thought I’d post a little bit about the benefits of music to children in hospital today. I’m a music in healthcare mentor at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, as part of LIME, so this is something I’m passionate about. I was really lucky to have some initial training in this as part of my course at the RNCM, and then went on to train in this field at this hospital throughout 2011. We were fortunate in having a fantastic research team from the University of Salford, who followed us around the wards, observed carefully, and asked lots of questions to us and the people we were working with. The key findings from this first year were:

Music-making can contribute to the health and wellbeing of children and parents; that it can alleviate boredom, isolation and anxiety; that it can create shared positive experiences and help create powerful connections between all people involved within the hospital.

The report is very well written, and can even be understood by somebody not so sciencey, like me! Here’s a link: http://www.salford.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/152174/medical-notes.pdf

Happy Reading!

2014 – lots of dates to follow

Well, I’ve started my new post as evaluator, and so far it has proved to be really interesting.  I’m looking forward to seeing how it all develops over the next few weeks.

On the cello side of things, I have a few exciting things to announce:

The Cellists will be appearing in a series of recitals in Brockholes, the Lake District Visitors Centre, more info to follow, but we are really looking forward to it!  You might even get to hear me sing!

Any fans of contemporary music mixed with some more traditional stuff will be excited to hear that Dark Inventions has a series of concerts taking us up to August this year, so I’m looking forward to getting stuck in with that!  I’ll write dates when they are confirmed.

An exciting opportunity has arisen closer to home, in Chorlton, Manchester, in fact.  I’m running a concert series in Chorlton Cental Church in the first half of this year, I’ll be playing but also will be getting some musicians from around the area to give a series of top-notch and varied concerts, which will be advertised on here.  Hopefully see you at some of these events!

I’m being an evaluator!

For the first three months of next year I’ll be working as an Evaluator Fieldworker for Nottingham Community Music on their project Mr Mangle’s Magical Musical Factory, and I’m very excited! Evaluation is key for long-term and short-term community projects alike, to assess what worked and what didn’t, how the project has benefitted the community, and to secure funding for future projects. I’m really looking forward to developing my skills in this area and very interested to see how it will help me assess what has happened in my current projects as well.