Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Speech of Angels

Between the various concerts, plays, dance recitals and assorted events we've been involved in lately, it's been hard to even take a stab at keep this blog up to date.( And I still have FOUR more concerts to sing in before this month is over!!)
 But I'll make a valiant attempt...
Ensemble Vocale of the Music Conservatory of Annemasse
Mallory singing "Nel se ben"

On June first, Mallory and I performed in the end of year concert of the music conservatory where we both study voice.

The Ensemble Vocale did five pieces: two by Purcell (in English, FTW!) and three well-known French Renaissance works.

Mallory did her first-ever solo performance- a really lovely Italian Baroque piece by Stradella;

She did so well!!!! I'm so proud!!!!
For my solo piece,  I sang one of the songs that I performed for my music exam in May.  I chose "If music be the food of love" because the jury (two music specialists from Lyon) pronounced my interpretation to be "flawless"!!! And they are not easy people to please, so, it seemed like a solid idea.

In fact, it went quite well at the concert, despite the fact that I was a bit sick.
Upcoming concerts are on June  16 (a concert in the village of Marignier where I'll do my solo piece plus three duets with my friend Annie), June 19 (a programme of gospel music), and then , finally,  two different concerts on June 21- one at 4pm and another at 7pm.

After that I don't have anything musical planned until we sing at a small medieval fair in mid-August...

* "Music is well said to be the speech of angels"
 -Thomas Carlyle, Scottish philosopher and music-lover

Monday, June 11, 2012

Grandes Medievales: Weekende the Seconde

Waiting for Sev's show to begin.

No, the picture on the left  is not a cast photo from "Game of Thrones".  (Though I did keep calling Sev "Lord Snow" all day long)

It is my four kids and my eldest  daughter's patient and good-natured boyfriend Mat.

My offspring are quite used to going out in public in unlikely costumes (see here and here), but it was more than I had hoped that Mat would ever be willing to play the game.
But it seems that Swedish people are, perhaps, more amenible to dress-up than the French are.  He was perfectly willing to be outfitted by us.
Valentine, Alexa and I stayed up until 1am the night before, hand-sewing a shirt for him.
I personally designed and sewed his cap, which turned out, I believe, to be rather fetching.

He's such a good sport....

As usual, Sev was in the daily parades and in the daily show "Two Centuries of Combat", in which he plays an English soldier and generally avoids being killed.                         
Sev in his black slashed doublet,holding a pike.

Sunday started out a bit overcast, but by noon it was POURING rain. This deluge of epic proportions seriously put a crimp in our day.

Not that it was a total loss.  Tya, Alexa, my friend Annie and I had a good time hanging out in a tavern and entertaining  other performers and the few tourists still around.with some acappella period music. Fortunately, we know lots of medieval drinking songs....

By 4pm, though, we were ready to leave.
Sadly, my car ended up stuck in the mud.  And I have to admit that pushing a big car out of a mud pit while wearing medieval clothes and shoes is NOT an activity I'd highly recommend.  But we managed....

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

A Musical Interlude: Fa La La etc....

While Sev spends his days at the Grandes Medievales
I performed in a Purcell trio with a couple of basses.
hacking away at people with a sword, I pass my time otherwise....

On the first Sunday of the event, I was (like last year) joined by some of my pals from the Music Conservatory of Annemasse. 
Happily, they are all a big bunch of geeks like me and think that dressing up in medieval gear and singing period acappella music sounds like a really fabulous way to have some fun.

We performed at five different venues throughout the park.

Considering how huge this festival is, there is very little music being performed there. 

There's a cool group of singing monks, but my group is the only mixed vocal music ensemble.

People really seemed to appreciate us and we even had a few people ask how they could join!

Monday, June 04, 2012

Grandes Medievales d'Andilly: Weekende the Firste

 First of all, I'd like to take a moment to consider the colorful colloquial phrase from American English  " I'ma get medieval on your ass".
Apparently first used in the popular 1994 Tarantino film 'Pulp Fiction, it means "to use violence or extreme measures on, to become aggressive."

This seems very unfair.  It is highly unlikely that all the European people  who lived between the 5th to 15th centuries spent all of (or even most of) their time inflicting violence on each other.

In all fairness, "getting medieval" could just as easily refer to playing the lute and eating marzipan...which, frankly, sounds like lots more fun.
 (The irony of writing this and then posting it next to a photo of Severin wearing armour and holding a pike is not lost upon me, btw.) 

But still.... our first weekend of medieval-type activities at the huge Andilly event was NOT a never-ending bloodbath of horror.
Which is nice.


 As you can see, Tya and I were  in the daily parades (that's me in dark blue and Tya in green beside me) and  the twins even brought along a pal (who also dressed up and got into the spirit of things).

I also kept busy helping out with things  at the soldiers' camp...like guiding small children through the "Become an Awesome Knight" obstacle course.
And then there was answering all of the questions of the many, many, many tourists.

Did I mention there were a LOT of tourists?
On Saturday alone they sold 16,000 tickets to this event!  And that number translates into lots of lost small children weeping along the charming forested paths.  The ones with smart parents had their folks' cell phone numbers written on their arms (Well...semi-smart parents.  I guess the really bright ones managed not to lose their offspring...)  At any rate, I did manage a few child-rescue operations, which was a feel-good kind of thing.  I do love a happy ending...

As for my medieval faire "stardom" consisting of (if you will recall) being featured in the program photo this year-  I actually had a woman recognise me! She was sitting near me at the falconry show and asked "That's you, right?"...Which was astonishing, as the photo isn't very large and I was wearing totally different clothing.  I'm still completely  mystified by her apparent super-power....