My birthday is rapidly approaching and it’s giving me the chance to reflect on the past twelve months. This time last year I was about to embark on my journey to French Woods summer camp and spend thirteen weeks living in a shed in the Catskills with a load of teenagers; I can’t believe I’m not going back to work there this year! While work commitments are keeping me IOM-based for the summer, I will be going to visit my amazing friends in New York for Forth July bank holiday. Five weeks to go! 🇺🇸
The Guild was another smasher, and I was pleased to win the 16-25 class and perform in the ‘Songs from the Musicals’ for the first time in eight years!! I had a fantastic time and really enjoyed performing ‘Just One Step’ from Jason Robert Brown’s ‘Songs For a New World’.
It is TT fortnight here on the Isle of Man so I’ll be focusing on not being run over by a motorbike and enjoying the atmosphere and visitors. The beer tent is up so if you are trying to find me for the next few weeks, that’s probably where I’ll be.
I’ll make sure to post any singing engagements on my blog as and when they come up. For now, do have a listen to my Soundcloud clips, which are on my homepage.
The Manx Music Festival is mere days away and the Facebook group is starting to light up with excited countdowns and people panicking about not knowing their words (me). For the uninitiated, the “Guild” is a very old music, speech, dance and drama festival which takes place at venues around Douglas every April. This year there has been the addition of rock band classes, which has opened up the festival to other genres and new performers.
I’ve been busy with my fabulous accompanists rehearsing pretty much every evening, and I’m starting to get excited (I assume it is excitement because every time I remember I need to sing in public soon, my stomach gurgles). As a former Cleveland Medalist, there is certainly added pressure when it comes to performing – but hopefully also experience, and a level of ‘it’s ok, I can do this’…
The classes I am entered into are:
Sunday 24th April ’16 and Under 26 Vocal Solo’ @ 3pm St. Thomas’ Church
Wednesday 27th April ‘Special Mezzo Solo’ @ 4:30pm (ish) Royal Hall, Villa Marina
Thursday 28th April ‘Songs from the Musicals’ @ 8:30pm Royal Hall, Villa Marina
Hope to see lots of friendly, supportive faces there!
The weather may have been terrible but overall it has been a very relaxing and enjoyable Christmas holiday. It has been great to spend time with friends old and new and I’m sad to be saying goodbye to those who have made the leap across the Irish Sea (they’ll come back one day… everyone does).
2015 was undeniably one of the most challenging years I have ever experienced, but the payoff for those challenges was enormous.
I began 2015 as an NQT at Castle Rushen High School, working as a music teacher in a two-person department. The rigorous training I received at Bristol University the year before proved to have been worth the blood and sweat, as I was able to ‘hit the ground running’ and remember most of my students’ names within the first half term (tip: this is the most effective behaviour management technique any teacher can utilise). It was a lot of fun and I wish my former pupils all the best; if you’re reading this, I’m sure I’ll see you at orchestra soon.
My experience working at French Woods Performing Arts camp in New York state over the summer was quite unlike anything I could’ve ever imagined. I hoped I’d make some new friends, meet a cute guy or two, travel a little and learn some new skills. I am forever indebted to my brilliant, eccentric, talented, magnificent and overall bonkers co-staff throughout the summer, who laughed and cried with me for thirteen weeks without so much as a sour word. It was one of the toughest challenges I have ever attempted – including my fairly brutal teacher training – but it has made me a much stronger person. For that I will always be grateful.
My post-camp travels took me on a journey, both literal and (dare I say it without sounding pathetic) spiritual. I started where I began, in New York city. I travelled to Philadelphia, Washington D.C., then on to Los Angeles where I spent an unforgettable week living the ‘Hollywood Dream’ and spending more money than I care to admit. I then met two of my co-counsellors in Chicago, a city in which I felt unusually at home and didn’t want to leave. I enjoyed the view of Boston from the plane as I flew over the Cape, despite leaving the city a day early for the sake of seeing my friends in NYC again before I flew back to the UK.
I have recently made the decision to stay resident on the Isle of Man for the foreseeable future, which is good news for those who were expecting to see me performing in the Guild and other concerts in the next twelve months. After six years of moving back and forth between the UK, US and the island, I am finally settling down to a full-time career and the opportunity to do as much singing as possible. 2015, for its virtues, was fairly unstable, and I am breathing a sigh of relief knowing that I can now refocus my mind on the things that make me most happy.
Long term, I am fully committed to building up a portfolio of songs and repertoire and working closely with other Manx musicians in order to develop broader performing skills.
I am keen to be involved in concerts for charity or otherwise, both as a soloist and as part of choral groups. As always, my email address is email@example.com.
Blein Vie Noa! Here’s to a happy and prosperous 2016.