Opera starts to get hard!

Don’t get me wrong, our previous Tutors have been brilliant but I think we were all secretly happy that Fergus was back with us on the Opera for Carlow Project. Not only is brilliant but the project is a joint venture for him and Brian Irvine and both of them are obsessed with opera!

Fergus is a strict but fun coach. WE did lots of warming up games and the people who couldn’t concentrate found it hard at times. After an hour of these vocal games, we began to sing opera! Fergus has composed a little ditty in his spare time. It was broken into different parts for the Sopranos, altos, bass and tenors. I’m an alto and have quite a low voice, I got quite worried at times as when I attempted the high Soprano bits, I felt my voice strain. I didn’t give up though.

We were broken into small groups of 8, which I loved and each group had to start the song at a different part. I enjoy this, listening carefully for the correct time to come in, I think I have a good auditory ability but some people struggled and had to be helped and encouraged along in the group, which was nice.

WE were then broken up invidually and had to walk around the room and sing a random line of the song at the correct time to a person, acting it out. This is the bit i find hard, it’s quite hard to let yourself go and some people at the workshop have no problems doing this so I try to be encouraged by this!

I was wrecked after this but really excited, starting to get a feel for what it will sound like to be part of a group.

If you’d like to listen in to the journey so farm, click here for details


Here’s a link to a piece that Fergus was conducting.


Alan Leech teaches me how to sing from right down in your belly! Part 2 of Opera for Carlow

Last night, the Opera for Carlow group met in a big favourite of real Carlovians-The Seven Oaks Hotel.
The room was packed full of people I didn’t know or recognise from the last workshop, which I love!
Alan Leech was our tutor for this workshop, he was a big energy ball of professional and highly talented music! Speaking to others afterwards, we all thoroughly enjoyed the session and would love to have him back to Carlow. But, he is a busy tenor!
Alan Leech gave us an energetic workshop and covered things like posture, breathing, pronunciation and emphasis on words. He taught us a new song, which was a good idea. It always nice to go away with a product of some so to work in your own time.
There was a great mix of people from all ages and backgrounds and we are back with a different tutor next week to some more ensemble training.
I’m wondering when we meet the Aspiro choir or what part they will take in it. Also, I think a bit more about the auditioning and the main roles needs to be discussed. The people I was chatting with last night seem to be under the illusion that they will all get a shot at singing solo if they like. I’m sure it doesn’t work like this. I presume you have to be pretty good, experienced and trained to sing solo at an opera! At the minute, I’m happy to be part of something new that’s helping me build my non existent skills in music!

Opera for Carlow

Oh, it’s all very exciting, honest! There is going to be an Opera in Carlow, for Carlow! We must be very important down here!

Visual, in association with the very artistic people in the Carlow authorities thought about this very idea 3 years ago. The Opera will be written by Brian Irvine and Peter Morgan Barnes, these 2 men happen to be extremely talented songwriters. Fergus Sheil will be conducting it all, Fergus has worked with loads of orchestras like the Symphony Orchestra of Ireland and the RTE Concert Orchestra, just to name a few.

The project is going to take just under a year and last month, an advertisement went out, searching for local people to lend their voices for this massive event.

I thought it sounded amazing so I trekked along to Visual, expecting to be overwhelmed by experienced singers. There were few obviously experienced and trained singers but a lot of people who are just like me-have an okay voice that needs a lot of work!

The project is to made into a 7-part series for Lyric FM and the National Symphony Orchestra are going to be playing alongside the group. I’ve heard that Aspiro are involved too, which makes sense. I did think it was a huge gamble to take just relying on local people.I would say that Aspiro will make up the biggest part of the group as I cannot imagine that it works on the premise “If you want to be in it, you can!” Perhaps, we will see!

The “audition” consisted of a 2 hour workshop, which was energetic and fun. I have the opportunity to volunteer for a worthwhile, community event while gaining musical, singing and performance skills. At the end, we took part in a solo-type circle singing activity, which took the pressure away from nervous people.

The next workshop is tonight and I’m really looking forward to it. I think it’s really going to push me in a dramatic way that I’ve never experienced before.

I’ll keep you posted!

I’ve always wanted to do that….

You know the way. There’s something you’d always been meaning to do. Learn the piano, travel the world, read Ulysses…You imagine that one day you’ll do it. You convince yourself even.Most people carry on like this until they pass this world. Some people take action.
I was thinking about how many times I reminisced on how much I enjoyed singing when I was little. I sang in our school and church choir, sometimes solo but always loved it. When I left primary school, I became too self conscious to bother with it.
But I’ve always remembered the way it made me feel.
I don’t want to be one of those people who put it off and off. So, one evening in a fit of madness and a glass of champagne, I googled “voice training”
I found this charming website and beautiful singer under the name of Charlotte Mahler. I listened to her voice and thought, yes, I’d like that! Obviously, I’m never going to be a mezzo-soprano like Charlotte but one can always improve what they have!
Today, I had my second lesson.
It went well, it is fascinating. There’s so much to take in. We started with our warming up exercises and then launched into the songs. Woah, one was far too high for me but she told me in no uncertain terms that:
” You will be able to sing this song in half a year if you practice every night!”
I’m up for the challenge.
Even if I never do anything with this, I’m enjoying the time spent on myself and proving to myself that you don’t need to put things off and off.
If you want to do it, make the steps.
My next aim?
Learning the piano!
Hmmmmm. Let’s get the singing right first!