On Friday 9th May I arrived at Jamie Lonsdale's beautiful mansion home ready for a weekend vocal master class and concert with Arwel Treharne-Morgan and Richard Henders.
I had been looking forward to spending the weekend surrounded by beautiful countryside, lovely people who are all amazing professional singers, and plenty of interesting conversations about music! It certainly didn't disappoint!
The other singers in the class were Flora Mcintosh, Alexandra Kennedy, Jon Valender, Elizabeth Slade, Virginia King, Susie Parkes, Marianne Vidal, and Jamie Lonsdale, who all have vocal coaching with Arwel.
The master class started in the four storey high hall which has a fantastic amount of reverb. Each voice floated effortlessly up in to the rafters. It was a wonderful place to start as not only did you have great focus points for the voice, like the incredible staircase and statues inside the great hall, but great focus points looking out of the enormous windows, on to the rolling hills and in to the distance.
We each had a little lesson with Arwel to begin with, and then we worked with Richard on our songs. We started by putting the arias in to our own words, then finding the main needs and wants of the character, and then relating that to a time in our lives so that we could really become the character and have the same wants and needs as them in our performance.
I was going to be singing a duet that I wrote with Chris Eaton called 'I Never Left You'. We wrote it after he and his wife found out that someone they had become friends with was very ill. It's an emotional song for the both of us.
I showed Jamie the duet after our concert together in February and was thrilled that Jamie really connected with it and wanted to perform it with me.
After working on our songs and our performances during Friday and Saturday, everyone was really looking forward to the concert, which was in aid of the local Church.
Just before the concert, my nerves were higher than normal because this would be the first time I'd ever performed 'I Never Left You' live. I was going to be singing from the balcony and Jamie was going to be by the stage.
I really didn't need to be nervous, I loved singing the duet with Jamie and with Lyndall Dawson on piano, and the response from the audience was even better than I could have hoped! Jamie's emotional performance brought the audience in and really helped them connect with the sadness of the song; I think we even had a few tears.
At the end of the concert, all of the performers came to the front of the stage to take a well deserved bow together.
A great big thank you to everyone involved. Special thanks to Cat for all the wonderful food served over the weekend, to Arwel and Richard for their guidance and advice, and to Jamie Lonsdale, who very kindly put us all up for the weekend, provided lovely company and lovely food for everyone, and who arranged this wonderful experience!
I'm looking forward to next time!
Thank you to Marianne for taking this picture so that our photographer Steven could be in the picture with us.
All photographs by Steven O'Gorman. For all enquiries contact Steven via his website: http://www.stevenogorman.com/