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I am a high soprano and sing with Solway Singers and my own group, Eight + 1, as well as being available for other concerts and groups. Deborah Hewertson-Tisdall (mezzo-soprano) and I are also in the process of setting up and promoting Two Red Heads and…
Forthcoming events this year with provisional dates follow at the bottom of this page (no doubt more will appear throughout the year, and I will keep this updated via the Projects and Events page as things are confirmed).
Comments about my singing:
– ‘you sing like an angel’
– ‘pure’ voice
– ‘beautiful voice’
– ‘sensational – best Bluebird [Stanford] I have ever heard’
– ‘made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up’
– ‘brought tears to my eyes’
– ‘gave me goosebumps’
April – Friday 22nd – Brampton Methodist Church
Eight + 1 performed …and a little bit of Shakespeare… to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death. Proceeds in aid of Medecins sans Frontieres. Great feedback from those who were there. Here is a copy of the review from the Cumberland News:
May – Solway Singers‘ spring concerts 6th and 7th; recorded a CD 13th and 14th (with me singing the soprano solo in Stanford’s The Bluebird – so exciting!). Review of the concert from the Cumberland News here:
On Friday, the Solway Singers, gave a wonderful concert in pretty Scotby Church under conductor Anthony Peacock – and what an exceptional choir this is. With 28 items in the programme, however, it is only possible to give a flavour of the evening. Six groups of songs, some accompanied by Avril Tisdall, others unaccompanied, were interspersed with talented members of the choir stepping forward to perform solo. Finzi’s lively, unaccompanied ‘My spirit sang all day’ immediately got our attention and was followed with contrasting songs by Elgar and Parry. Kathleen Douglas then held us spellbound by her sensitive, clear readings of poems by Browning, Frost and Kipling, evoking the season and each with hidden depths. Later in the evening she read Shakespeare’s ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?’ with equal feeling.
Three of the groups of choral songs were arrangements of popular traditional folk songs by eminent composers such as Rutter and Warlock, and all were performed with character, precision and panache. A guest member of the choir, Robert Henderson, sang works by Vaughan Williams (‘The Turtle Dove’) and Dowland, both beautifully accompanied by Avril, and then the unaccompanied ‘I wished to be single again’, causing the audience much hilarity. The feeling with which he communicated the songs showed unusual maturity for a 17-year old. Later in the evening he played three movements from Paul Reade’s Victorian Kitchen Garden Suite on the clarinet, displaying admirable technique and a mellow tone. What a talented young man.
The choir sang two Shearing songs based on Shakespeare of which the singing of the inspired ‘Sylvia’ was quite exceptional. Head’s ‘The Green Cornfield’ was sung charmingly and beautifully by Deborah Hewerson-Tisdall, and soprano Sarah Lewis-Briggs soared above the choir in Stanford’s ‘The Blue Bird’, with the choir later putting very realistic raindrops into Elgar’s ‘The Shower’. The evening’s final item was the rousing ‘O, No John’, a super end to a delightful evening.
The Solway Singers’ confidence has grown noticeably in the last few years, enabling conductor Anthony Peacock to employ a huge range of expression, rubato, and tempo changes with ease and unity, no matter how complex the music. Quality of choral singing at this level is only achieved with a good deal of hard work and by each member watching the conductor, which was apparent throughout. This was choral singing at its very best.
June – Wednesday 22nd -lunchtime recital as part of Lanercost Festival. This lovely testimonial from one of the Lanercost Festival Committee, Jane Davidson, who was in the audience:
“Delectable Duets! Sarah Lewis-Briggs, soprano and Deborah Hewerston-Tisdall, mezzo-soprano entranced the audience at Lanercost Priory during Lanercost Festival week, June 2016, with their selection of delectable duets and other songs. The festival committee and audience were riveted as the pair evoked emotions from pathos through to joy in a varied repertoire which culminated in an hilarious rendition of Rossini’s comic Cat Duet!”
September/October – date yet to be finalised but an evening of song in Coffee Genius, Carlisle
October 8th- soiree in Catterline, near Aberdeen, in aid of Care for the Family.
November – date yet to be decided – Eight + 1 concert in Carlisle to celebrate the re-opening of St Aidan’s church following the floods of December 2015.
After that we head towards Hallowe’en and Christmas, so there will be the usual seasonal music.
February 2017 – Saturday 4th -‘Raise the Roof’ at St. Cuthbert’s, Carlisle
Good Friday – Deborah Hewertson-Tisdall and I plan to sing Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater (the entire work). We have beautiful new editions of the scores… now we’re looking for string players to accompany us…
Previous events 2016:
January 23rd – vocal masterclass with Pat McMahon, Austin Friars school, 2pm.
February – Friday 12th – Songs of Love and Longing, Capernaum bistro, Brampton
Carlisle Music & Drama Festival 2016: read a review in relation to Solway Singers, Deborah Hewertson-Tisdall and me here.
April 9th: Songs for Bob. Deborah and I, accompanied by Martin Johnson, travelled over to Stocksbridge to give a recital for a friend’s elderly husband who is housebound. It went down really well – there were a few tears shed by audience members – and we’re keen to sing in Care Homes or at other venues for people who can’t get out to a concert hall.
June 4th: Two Red Heads and… performed our first open mic night at the John Peel theatre, Wigton: we seemed to go down well and are keen to go back there!