Choir practice

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I’m off out to choir practice today. Learning new songs, and old ones to different tunes.

I’m sure my mental health has been better since I began going to a choir over ten years ago. It’s good for things like relaxation and concentration. I would recommend it to anyone who nerds some stress busting.

I can be sitting with the choir with no memory if the words or tune. Then almost miraculously they come to me as we start singing. We sing mainly acappella and my voice is most suited to alto and low parts.

We learnt a version of let your little light shine for the Stoke sings choir festival the weekend before last. With words that were appropriate to the cities history of pottery and mining.

I hope we sing it again tonight. It was fun to sing with 600 other people belting out the various parts. It is on YouTube  somewhere.

Wedgewood artisan market

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It was a fairly bright morning once you dodged the rain showers so we decided to visit wedgewood artisan market (2nd Sunday of each month). It’s at the Wedgewood factory, near Barlaston,, Staffordshire. We had a fine potters full breakfast in the dining room there (with beans and oatcake). Our friend from Yorkshire was visiting so it was good to show him one of the local attractions. Once we had eaten we went round the outdoor and indoor stalls. Charis Jones with her Sculpted Steel was there, together with Pat Myatt and her potteries art work. Other stalls included whisky fudge, crafted wool blankets, various cheeses and cakes, you could even buy your own fairy kit to make a fairy like the ones at Trentham Gardens. My partner bought me a kit and I bought him a wood turned pen. We also went inside the wedgewood visitor centre and I spent a happy hour trying to create a cat design plate. The pens and pencils they had were not very good but hopefully the image on the plate (a lithograph) will be OK.

I took a couple of progress photos but not one if the finished design. It might take 6 weeks for it to be delivered though…

Barn dance coming up..

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Imagine whirling around with a bunch of people… Then imagine some of them looking completely confused, going in the wrong directions and flinging each other about in mad abandon. That’s a barn dance. Add amazing live music. A caller explaining the dance moves to people trying to understand what on earth he’s saying. The fun that can be had getting dizzy, twisting and turning, jumping about….

And a pie and peas supper that has both meat and vegetarian options.

It’s all in aid of the Penkhull Mystery play this July.

If you are in the area perhaps you would like to come along to these February Frolics and then get involved in the mystery play itself where there are openings to act, make props and help paint scenery. You never know you might enjoy it.

Illustrations

Two pictures of a canal illustration I did last year and the photo I used. Each illustration was done in acrylic paint on water colour paper. I posted a couple of other images here last week.

They were painted in rough ovals to assist fitting them on the leaflet they were for. They were then cropped at the printers.

Im not sure if there will be a reprint of the leaflet. I know they have all disappeared from the leaflet stand at the canal museum where they were on display.

Icy

You know it’s cold when the ice that was put in the sink on Friday night is still frozen in the sink on Sunday.

This is what had happened at the “an, exhibition of Blue”, which I was helping invigilate yesterday.

The exhibition space is in part of the old Spode Factory which has been converted into artists studios. The building used to be full of pottery machinery and pottery kilns. I imagine they did not need much insulation in those days. Now, however, thin walls and single glazed windows together with thick concrete ceilings high up which allow all the heat to rise make for icebox conditions in the winter.

We also did not know where the switch was for the space heater that sits next to the lift. So guests and artists alike stood next to or inside the kitchen where a small electric fan heater was trying to defrost the ice in the sink! People tried to sit on the couches to keep their feet off the freezing concrete floors. I’d been there three hours before one of the other artists at Spode found the heater switch in a cupboard! I did feel foolish for not looking.

Even though it was cold we got a good turn out. The exhibition will be coming down soon but it may be possible to get one of the exhibitors to show you round if you are interested.

Charity singing day.

I’ve been out all day singing at workshops with various tutors. Then in the evening 16 choirs were involved in a concert to raise money for three charities.

The day started early at a local theatre, groups went off to various changing rooms, bars and the auditorium to learn new songs and vocal techniques. In the same way as artists have different styles so do musicians. The first workshop I attended was called “joy” and it was joyful and bonkers. Fast cheery tunes and ” jazz hands”, it woke us up and some of us even threatened to join the teachers choir. The second workshop I went to was called “raise your voice” and helped us to harmonise and listen to each other while we learnt two folk songs.

In the afternoon around 400 of us.. Yes that many, learned a new song written specially for the day. Based on “let your little light shine” the lyrics were written by a local poet and music by a local musician. The result was filmed this evening when we sang it at the end of the concert.

It should be going on YouTube.

Each choir also sang one or two songs. Some of the singers were in 3 and even 4 of the choirs so they were busy.

We had a satisfying day and I think everyone should be proud of what they did.