Today one of the choirs I am in sang at a local school for “sing up day”. We sang some a capella songs from Loud Mouth Women’s reportoir and also “New light ” a new anthem based on “this little light of mine” composed and written by Greg Stephens and Steven Seabridge (the potteries poet laureate).
It was a pleasure to sing infront of a full school assembly. The children joined in and even did some of the gestures for the song. I hope they enjoyed it, although some of the little ones seemed a bit perplexed by what we were doing at first.
One of the teachers is a member of the choir and enthusiastically explained what we were doing, and Penny Vincent (who helped organised Stoke Sings choir festival in February) and Kate Bardfield, our choir leader, helped teach the children some of the song including sections of”this little light of mine” and adapted versions of this and a section about the six towns, Burslem, Tunstall, Hanley, Stoke, Fenton and Longton.
The anthem talks about coal mining and hard clay. It talks about regeneration and a feeling that the city of Stoke-on-Trent is worth fighting for. It was a very enjoyable occasion.
The old school walls were damp and the paint was peeling off them. There were holes where ceiling tiles had fallen down and sunshine had broken through the roof.
She walked between discarded chairs, the tables were stacked against the walls. At the front of the classroom stood one of those rotating chalkboards. Grey with layers of chalk.
She reached out and pulled on the join between the boards but the thing was jammed up, no movement.
She remembered the first day she had taught here. Registration followed by the history of the celts. Teaching about Boudicca and the ancient Britons.
Nowadays children didn’t come to school. They were all home schooled, isolated, plugged in. Teaching was easy. Link to the local computer by an imput in the cranium. Download all the information, sit in a chair and learn the curriculum.
She remembered the sweet feeling of imparting knowledge The look of wonder when a pupil understood a new concept. Ideas flying from lips to ears to brains.
No more, no enthusiasm, just imput, data, no fun.
She sighed, closed the door to the classroom. She walked home.
A couple of years ago I went to a calligraphy workshop. As well as doing English Calligraphy we also tried doing Arabic script (I don’t have much memory of it). I do remember we used sticks cut down to make a chiseled edge to write with. Then like children learning the alphabet we wrote each letter over and over again until we started getting the shapes right.
I enjoy drawing patterns so it was really interesting to see how this style of writing worked. The artist who taught us showed us some beautiful calligraphy. Unfortunately I did not take any photos of his work. Calligraphy is clearly an art in its own right. I would love to learn more.
This is a form of Broccoli, the pattern seems fractal, where it repeats in smaller and smaller forms but in the same pattern. Another example is the Mandelbrot set. The now famous pattern that constantly reveals and renews itself the deeper you look into it.
Have you heard of Fibonacci numbers? They relate to the spirals on this Broccoli plant too. There are two spirals if you look closely. One is more curved than the other. It’s based on prime numbers. Like 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, and so on.
Now this is where I have to admit only a slight knowledge, I only know about Fibonacci because of programmes I have seen about him and they were based on art. I have also heard of the golden section, which is based on another spiral, and is said to allow you to place objects in a painting into the most beautiful composition. But I am no mathematician.
If you look up Fractals, Mandelbrot and Golden section, you should find interesting information about them all, and Chaos theory which seems to link them all. They are all fascinating.
There are several books out there about Chaos theory. It’s worth reading around the subject.
Image copyright Sue Vincent. From Sue’s #writephoto photo prompt.
This is my first ever ping back so I hope it works……
The stone gateway was imposing, the heavy gates looked too big to push open easily. The first time I walked through the gates I was 10 years old and very nervous. My grandma lived in the big house, but as we had only just moved back after several years abroad I had never met her. Seeing the gates and the stone gateposts made me think that someone very important lived there.
I remembered the long tree lined drive. The dappled sunlight warming the golden gravel. I wanted to know how far it was to the front door so I started counting steps, but lost track around 300. As I turned a bend in the path I saw short, grey haired lady in horn rimmed glasses, she didn’t look as scary as I imagined her. She was waiting at the top of three steps made of grey stone. I wanted to run up to her, but mom had told me to be polite. So I walked up slowly and quietly said hello.
That had been 40 years ago. My gran must have been about 50 but I had thought she was very old. I remembered her putting a record on for me, a Beatles song. ” Help ” I think it was? From then on she would always play music when I arrived, some pop music, other times classical music like Stravinsky or Rachmaninov. Sometimes we danced together and laughed at each other.
Today was a sad day. The last time I would walk through those gates. I remembered all the happy times I had spent there. Afternoons after school always seemed sunny. Gran would give me a snack and Mom would pick me up when she finished work.
Now both of them were gone. Today I had to lock up grans house and hand over the keys to the estate agent. The funeral had been a week ago. I had her favourite music played at the ceremony.
As I left I shut the gates gently, knowing I would never walk there again…..
I wrote this poem in response to the prompt “light”. I am not sure how to do ping backs so I will put a link of it on Megha’s page. I am not sure if I’m doing it right. Anyway here is the poem:
Photons, floating through space
At breakneck speed.
The tiniest seed…
Particles or waves
Does anyone know?
It took scientists like Einstein
To try and show
That light is a constant
But only in space
In air it actually
Slows its pace
It pings and zings
It refracts and glows
Insubstantial as mist.
Light is strengthened
and made to Lase
A coherent beam
That can burn and amaze
Light is part of the greatest equation
E=MC2 bright burst
Singing is part if my life now. I started singing lessons about 15 years ago then joined a choir a few years later. I met a variety of people who loved music and I was swept along. We were all interested in learning music from around the world and the group learned acapella songs by heart so that we don’t need sheet music.
Singing calms me down, excites me, can be really irritating when it’s something I don’t like, or enthralling when it’s something new or an old song I love but had never previously learnt fully.
After being a choir member over several years I joined another choir so now I go and practice at least twice a week. Sometimes I join other groups and sing with them too.
I also try and sing when there are music nights at pubs. It has helped my confidence and calmed my nerves. Without it I don’t think I would have got involved in amateur dramatics. If there is a group in your area why not join?