mostly singing related

On Saturday 14 Jan, I ventured forth to Kardomah 94 to take part in the inaugural meeting of the Rainbow Choir; as you might suspect from its name, it is designed for LGBT singers , but all were welcome, so I thought I’d go and lend a helping voice. I did have to confess to being a CIS female, though 🙂

The session went very well, and I look forward to the next one. Kardomah is a lovely café bar, with a big meeting room at the back hired out for all sorts of stuff, including music and City of Culture volunteer training. It’s also about 1.5 miles from home, so I thought I’d walk down. Bad move. My faithful FitFlop boots had got Very Wet Indeed a few months ago, and that was the first time I’d worn them since; they rubbed my right heel unmercifully, and by the time I’d limped home again, my foot was bleeding. Ho hum.

Last night, 25 Jan 2017, I went to my first Heartsong session. I’ve been trying to do this for ages, but Stuff has always conspired against me. So glad I made it, as I really enjoyed it. I cycled there and back, 6.4 miles round trip. Go me.

In Volunteering, I did an afternoon at Ferens Gallery on Friday 20 Jan, and enjoyed it muchly. Saw the exhibition of Bacon’s Screaming Popes, which didn’t do much for me, although I do generally like Bacon (and bacon). And then on Sunday, I did 5.5 hours helping out with interviews for the next wave of City of Culture volunteers.

That’s all for now!

do not be alarmed

Last Wednesday (7 Dec) I attended an “awareness” course on The Terror Threat. This was given on behalf of the National Counter Terrorism Security Office, and was held at Hull University’s Wilberforce Building. Now, this place is the other side of town from me, and involves quite a hairy route for a nervous cyclist, so I thought – no problem, I’ll catch a bus; only £3.10 for an all day ticket.

A slight hitch is that we have two bus companies in Hull: East Yorkshire Motor Services, and Stagecoach. Pete informed me that I wanted Stagecoach from town to Cottingham Road, so I boarded one of their buses here in East Hull, which conveyed me safely to Hull Paragon Interchange. Where I discovered that all the buses out towards the Uni were EMYS. I hurtled over to the station cash machine, thinking my only hope was to buy another day ticket, and on my way back to the bus bays, discovered one Stagecoach bus saying it went to the University. Sadly, it went near the University, but I legged it the ¼ mile, and was only five minutes late. And was offered a lift home by kind Brian.

The course was … odd. It’s the one they give to security guards, etc., and to be honest we are volunteers. I think we all felt that this sort of thing was rather above our pay grade, to be honest, but no matter – the whole point of this particular course was to get feedback, so hopefully they took it all on board.

Yesterday (Sun 11), I took myself off to St Charles Borromeo RC Church in Hull; someone at Holy Trinity a couple of weeks ago had said they needed some singers, so I thought “why not”. I haven’t set foot in a Catholic church in decades – a convent boarding school education will do that to you – but the sights, sounds and most distinctly smells don’t really leave you. It was a service for refugees, and quite nicely done, but a bit more Goddish than I generally feel comfortable with.

Oh, and I got my bike’s back brake cable fixed by Jobes on Saturday – a fiver! Really can’t grumble at that.

Eternal Father, strong to save …

Anyone who knows me will know that I don’t much care for religion, but there’s something about singing in a church.

So when a call went out to local choir people to turn up to Holy Trinity Church on Saturday 4 December, to record For Those in Peril on the Sea as a soundtrack for part of the Made in Hull opening event for City of Culture.

You wouldn’t necessarily think it would take 2.5 hours to record one hymn, but we sang it loud and soft, with accompaniment on the mighty organ and without, with words and without. And then we sang some other stuff to help out one of the people recording it with one of his own projects.

And then we had coffee and cake, which was nice. The church is becoming a minster next year, and we have all been invited to sing at the investiture (or whatever it is), so that’s something to look forward to.

I wandered up to St Stephens shopping centre after that, to return a pair of shoes to Schuh; they were perfectly obliging, and gave me a refund, which “would take up to five working days to reach my account”. Funny how that doesn’t happen when you buy something, eh?The afternoon before (Friday 2 Dec), I attended a course on Customer Service as a City of Culture volunteer, at the Hull History Centre. This was given by a chap called John Lennon (!), and was most interesting and quite useful. I was, to my horror, late, as my bike had a flat tyre, and I had to hurtle for a bus. Pete manfully mended it for me during the afternoon, and so on Saturday morning I went to fetch it from the shed, to find it had a flat tyre again. More bus, and I treated it to a new inner tube on my way home.

busy busy busy

All of a sudden, I’ve gone from no life to almost too much life. I want to record it for future memories, so here’s a megapost to bring you up to date.

Freedom Chorus
I started singing again, after a break of many, many years, and I just love it. My first gigs were at the Freedom Festival – we sang a wonderful piece under Myton Bridge (like trolls!), which was bedecked with coloured neon lights; we also sang a selection of “river” songs on the new Stage at the Dock. It was Very Wet Indeed, and we were like a choir of drowned rats, and our second performance on Corporation Pier was cancelled because the floor was too slippy. But it was fabulous nonetheless.

Then, in September, the Chorus performed on stage at the press launch for Hull City of Culture 2017. We sang a glorious arrangement of the Isley Brothers’ Caravan of Love, which has a resonance for the city, given that The Housemartins had a hit with it. We also sang at Paragon station at the crack of dawn that morning, were shown on BBC TV, etc. We were all very proud.

Lots of interesting stuff for the Freedom Chorus coming up next year, but my lips are sealed for now.

I’ve also trained as a Singing Champion for the city, trying to get more people involved in the great social activity of choral singing.

City of Culture 2017
I joined up to be a volunteer for CofC, and got in on the first “wave” – how I wish I’d heard about it early enough to be a pioneer volunteer, but I missed the opportunity.

So far I have done backstage tours of Hull Truck Theatre and Hull History Centre, have worked a few sessions on the information Pod at Hull Paragon station, conducted questionnaires on behalf of Hull Truck at Endsleigh primary school, paraded around the stadium (with other volunteers, not on my own!) at a Hull KC football match, done a guided walking tour of the city, partaken in a Woman of the World thinkin, been part of a workshop with Blast Theory, and probably more. I intend to update this blog as I do more stuff, because it’s going to be a wonderful year, and I don’t want to forget it.

Last weekend, I spent a high-powered and exhausting day doing Volunteer Leadership training, which involved Child Protection, Health and Safety, Discrimination and How to Lead. I now have two new cards to add to my lanyard, and am fully DBS checked (which may come in useful).

When we were volunteering at Cornucopia Festival in September, we encountered Bandanarama; they were so utterly barking that I went and asked them if they’d like a melodica player. It transpired that they would, and so I am now a member of the band, complete with motorcycle jacket (thanks, Ian and Carole!) and boots (thanks, eBay); I already had my own bandana. So far, I’ve played out with them in Beverley at the Flemingate shopping centre, and at St Stephens’ shopping mall; it’s always a hoot, and I’m so glad I’ve become part of the band.

A couple of weeks ago, we posed for a photograph in Quentin Budworth’s Hullywood Icons, and very mean and cool we looked too, though I say so myself.

The Wild One

Got lots of interesting stuff lined up for the next few months – so looking forward to it.