Songs of praise

 

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So, in among the Autumn season, with all it’s mellow vibes and vistas, the slow turning of Summer hues edging into Fall’s more glorious gold and amber tinged days.
Blood red & burnt orange berries (so plump and plentiful this year), the rustling leaves, and blustery days,… I get the ‘call’ to go to church.

I hasten to add I’m no longer a Christian nor was I ever a traditional church goer. My upbringing though firmly of Christian tradition was the dissenting kind.
I am pleased that it was!
(But that’s another blog story) to be told when turned back clocks will suddenly make our daylight hours much shorter.

So why or what ‘called’ me to church earlier this Autumn? … I’m not sure. Maybe the memory of the harvest hymn with it reassurance….”all is safely gathered in”. The gathering together of people for other than material needs?

I went to a faith school as a child, and there learned to love many of the things which at home I’d been told I ought abstain from! But I loved Harvest Festival, I loved the old hymns, and songs of praise in daily assembly. And so did my parents when I sang hymns for them at home possibly reasoning that ‘true’ Christians saints could well have written them…”For all the saints…”

Church buildings? …I was a little fearful of them when young especially the gargoyles but not these days, now I embrace the iconography of dark and light, the cherabim, seraphim and gargoyles alike.
I like the musk or myrrh incense, polished wood pews, mosaic stained glass windows and that rather musty smell.

At the start of Autumn I attended church and though none of the old hymns were sung it was lovely to have a live music  trio to play the newer ones. New tunes, a newer dogma for a different era of belief. The sermon was more like a public talk, and the prayers led by a young female member not clergy. I liked the fellowship that happened halfway through the service when everyone circulated and greeted each other, “peace be with you” and shook hands.

I’ve a regular visitor who comes to my home after attending their Sunday morning church service, and we do sometimes lapse into songs of praise or …nursery rhyme after our hastily assembled corner shop lunch offering.

Mr Kipling still does ‘fancies’, and Del Monte, their fruit cocktail, which probably aren’t full of vitamins, or health giving but they seem to aid the snooze factor, because soon after eating we doze off in our respective chairs! We are after all well over a certain age.

And then on waking a sing-song before we bid farewell.

It happened this last Sunday, I’d thought to cancel the visit as I wasn’t too well, but low and behold a dose of “Love divine all love excelling”…and other old hymns, together with an interchange of simple pleasantries with “my good friend”,* perked me up.

A ‘taste’ of former days when sans landline, gadgets & digi devices people popped by, and ‘entertainment’ was spontaneous….often accompanied by corner shop bought fodder. Angel Delight! Anyone remember that? Or Spam…when spam only came in cans with a key! None of your ring pull modernisation..

I love many of the advances we’ve made technically and gastronomically!
…but I hope we can still hang on to enjoying face-to-face times with good friends along the way.

Lily.P

* “my good friend”.My visitor who I’ve known 30+ years  (we were only on “good morning” terms back then, as part of our respective daily commutes) always greets me this way.
Most other friendships don’t need this kind of affirmation, for it’s taken as read, but I still find it pleasant, and one of an earlier era where quaint was welcome.

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Quercus at the Howard Assembly Rooms, Feb 7th

Quercus

The Howard Rooms are a great place to hear live music. The hall is big enough for a sizeable crowd, but small enough to feel like you’re in a friendly pub, and the wood everywhere, including the amazing wooden ceiling, gives the place a warmth, even in a cool February. Quercus (meaning ‘oak’) are singer June Tabor, Iain Ballamy (playing saxophone) and Huw Warren (piano), and on Saturday they played a repertoire that ranged from traditional folk to experimental jazz, from extraordinarily gentle to wildly exuberant. June Tabor’s voice has a huge range of emotion and colour, and it worked well with the saxophone as a second voice – the human tones and the sax’s metallic hoarseness weaving together, backed by some really versatile piano playing that could be hauntingly delicate or sometimes cacophonous as it created the effect of a whole band behind the voice and solo instrument.

Some of the highlights for me were a Robbie Burns love song (you can hear the studio version of this at http://player.ecmrecords.com/quercus ), a moving lament for first world war fallen from Coope, Boyes and Simpson, and a great, sad, slow version of Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright – a song that was so popular and well played in folk clubs of the 70s that it seemed to became a cliché and almost disappeared for many years. This version brought out the ache behind the deceptively simple chords and made you remember why it became so popular in the first place.

I first became aware of June Tabor through the album Silly Sisters that she recorded with Steeleye Span singer Maddy Prior in 1976, and then through albums like Anthology (1999), which has much the same jazz/folk span as Quercus. I’ve always loved the uniqueness of her voice and her defiance of being held within any one tradition. On Saturday I did impromptu interviews with members of the audience to test their reaction to the music:

“She still has a wonderful singing voice and a really easy comfortable rapport with the audience.” (Franz, harpist)

 

“I particularly like the pianist.” (Jean, jazz aficionado)

 

“Put it this way, I shan’t be asking for my money back”, (Pete, art critic)

 

“I just loved them. They’re so good at drawing you in, and although that can be quite intense they’ve got an openness you can really relax into. There’s something sea-shorey about the sound. She’s the rock at the centre that frees the other two ” (Gail, crime writer)

 

There’s  a lot going at the Howard Rooms over the next couple of months, from classical film like Metropolis (2nd April) to more musical feasts like the Northumbrian piper Kathryn Tickell (17th Feb) and the saxophone playing son of John Coltrane, Ravi Coltraine (11th March), as well as Opera North’s ‘Little Voices’ Saturday morning programme for under 4’s and a lot of other stuff worth checking out at http://www.operanorth.co.uk/whats-on

 

Terry

 

 

 

Festival additions: Singing and Resilience

I’m pleased to see that two additions to the Love Arts Festival accommodate the participation of people whose availability might be limited during the Festival, or if they can’t attend at all.

Giving Voice for Peace, October 17

FROM THE COMFORT OF YOUR OWN HOME!

The idea is to get you singing, using your voice

“learning to use song to promote peace in your home,  your life, and in the world”

In recognition of World Mental Health Day, The National Foundation or Giving Voice invites you to participate at a distance (wherever you are!) in Giving Voice for Peace:

You will need to have a phone conversation with Rachel before and after the session, and you will be sent a CD or tape to work with between 7.30 and 8.30pm on 17th October,….. hopefully there is still time to do this ahead of the event.

 Giving Voice say you don’t need to be able to sing – in fact if you think you can’t, you may be at an advantage.

RESILIENCE 21st – 27th October, Leeds Met Broadcasting Place

This week long event, on a subject close to my heart, because of it’s impact on emotional and mental  wellbeing, will explore the topic through art, discussion and food sharing, it is a collaboration with Leeds Met staff and students, the show will explore how we must all be resilient to face life’s challenges. But is it so simple? Go along if you can to one or all sessions, ..see what conclusion you reach and maybe blog a post for us?

 Su

Singing My Way Well

Voices of the Day choir, Leeds

Singing with Voices of the Day, photo by Chris Sharples

Do you like to sing?  I have always loved singing, but my voice got lost about the time my primary school music teacher wouldn’t let me join the choir.

It’s surprising how many people, like me, have been told not to sing.  What’s not surprising is the negative effect this can have on self-esteem or confidence. Continue reading

Free singing event for men – Saturday 22nd September

This event described as a ‘kick start’ for possible future sessions, will be at the Yorkshire College of Music and Drama, St. Marks Avenue, Woodhouse Lane, starts at 10.00am with the option to continue until 4pm after the lunch break.

An invitation for the ‘good, the bad and the ugly’! of all singing abilities.

Contact: 0113 2560450

emai:       itsasingleeds@gmail.com

There is much documented evidence that singing can help relieve some types of mental distress, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-10732106.

Enjoy it guys if you get there!