….do take that cheese out of your ears. I’m sure I’ve mentioned the Miffy attempts at making not-so-sweet music before now. I’ve been having singing lessons for around five years now; beginning with a group class with the local college. Then when that folded for lack of numbers, a select group of us decided to continue with our tutor on our own. And great fun it was. We were so keen that we used to practise our warm-up exercises in the car on the way to the lesson. Fellow motorists who happened to glance across and caught a glimpse of four ladies of indeterminate age apparently mouthing goodness knows what, must have wondered what on earth we were up to! A couple of years ago our tutor moved out of the area, we decided to go our separate ways. Since then I’ve been taking individual classes with the music director from Oldchurch. It’s only 30 minutes once a week, and the quality of the Miffy voice is..how shall we say…well, ‘variable’ might be the kindest way of describing it. As any wibsiters who’ve been unlucky enough to be next to me in church at Wightmeets will certify.
Be that as it may, I’ve found that half hour really important in all kinds of ways, not the least in the confidence stakes. And even more as something which I do just ‘because,’ and not because I ‘should.’ More especially back last year when I was going through a bit of a bumpy patch. Singing on your own of course, means having to focus (no sitting back and letting the others do the hard work). I quite often come out with if not always a spring in my step, at least a smile on my face and whistling away not so much like a nightingale as a slightly demented sparrow. I’m currently ‘murdering’ that beautiful Purcell aria ‘Music for a While.’ There’s a certain amount of ‘willing suspension of disbelief’ needed for this of course, as I’m a quavery alto and it’s usually sung by a counter-tenor. It’s got a wonderful, ethereal quality about it; versions here by the late Alfred Deller and Philippe Jaroussky. Wonderful!