Writing this blog entry made me realise I haven’t blogged for two weeks which is rather unusual for me! I must have had a quiet time before the start of the Devizes Eisteddfod. The event runs each year and is a festival of music, speech, art, literature, drama and dance. This year there were over 900 children and adults taking part. More about the event can be found Devizes Eisteddfod.
The pre-adjudicated classes I entered were photography, handwriting and composition. I didn’t win any of the classes but was pleased with two distinctions and a commended.
On Thursday, the performance classes started. My first class with St John’s choir treble line. We sang two pieces, ‘So Gentle the Donkey’ (Barnard) and ‘I Waited for the Lord’ (Mendelssohn). We received a distinction and were thrilled to be awarded Wiltshire Senior Choir of the Year! Later that afternoon I played in the Under 14 years organ solo class and Under 18 years organ solo class. Receiving commended for both performances I was pleased to win the classes and the Organ Solo cup.
In the evening the full St John’s choir were part of the Choral Festival and I conducted Locus Iste in front of an audience, the first time I have done this. I was slightly nervous, but enjoyed the experience and as I grow in confidence I am sure my technique will improve. Still I kept the beat and maintained eye contact with the choir.
Friday was a busy singing day with three classes. The Folk Song class was out of my comfort zone, requiring more ‘performance’ than I like to give. None the less, I maintained the tune on Sally Gardens and my nerve and was pleased with a commended. The next class was Vocal Solo for which I performed ‘O for the wings of a dove’. This music is much more familiar (and accompanied) and I was very pleased with the commended and winning the class. I was also delighted to receive the Senior Vocal Solo cup. The final class of the day for me was Vocal Repertoire. My pieces for this were Ave Maria by Schubert and The Corpus Christi Carol by Britten. Again I was awarded commended and won the class. I was then awarded the Rose Scudamore Cup, the Overall Vocal Cup. To say I was stunned is an understatement, but very thrilled!
Saturday was the day of piano classes. Where I have been so busy with musical and school commitments, it is fair to say my piano pieces were not ready for a public outing. Having said that, Ella and I received a distinction for our duet, Playful Pizzicato by Britten and went on to win the Gapper Cup for Overall Piano Duet. My Piano solo, Toccata in E minor by Bach did not go so well. Nerve and being in a class with some outstanding competition and not being sufficiently prepared meant I only received Moderate. I didn’t think my playing was that bad, but I have some constructive comments to help me improve.
Having considered many pieces for the Recital Class, I finally agreed with my teacher Michael that I should withdraw my entry and enjoy watching and learning from the other performers. They were superb, all at Diploma level and all so talented. Two of them have gone on the the Wiltshire Musician of the Year competition which takes place next week. My intention is now to concentrate on the music for my Diploma which I hope to take in the summer and be properly ready for the class next year.
So, it’s been a busy few days, some highs, some lows, but as always a brilliant performing and learning experience.