Bairbre Lloyd talks about that perfect performance moment and why we keep singing.
I can count on the fingers of one hand the times I’ve experienced it, but deep down, it’s probably the ultimate reason I keep singing in dozens of concerts and turning up for hundreds of choir rehearsals.
Singing in a choir is fun. An hour or two’s workout of the lungs and vocal chords gets the endorphins buzzing round your system. It’s good to spend time with a group of friends all engaged in a common purpose. And it’s emotionally satisfying, if you love the music you are singing. Even better is performing in front of an appreciative audience, who are letting you know how much they’ve enjoyed it.
But very occasionally something happens in performance which is unforgettable. Like a divining rod or a radio signal, the conductor tunes into something magical which captures the soul of each and every performer. As the atmosphere shifts, each person’s thoughts and ideas take a back seat and they become solely a channel of the conductor’s will. The choir locks on to every gesture, every facial expression, as if each individual singer has been melded into one giant instrument.
To be part of that sublimation, to let go, be completely in the moment and at one with your fellow musicians is an incredible experience. And when the audience gets caught up in the music, the whole room seems to vibrate with an energy unlike anything else.
So while every concert is a special experience, always involving anticipation and maybe even nerves – there is always the possibility of a transcendent experience...
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Act of Remembrance. Every year the nation unites to make sure that no-one is forgotten and to remember and honour those who have sacrificed themselves to secure and protect our freedom. Remembrance honours those who serve to defend our freedoms and way of life.
Thousands of people will be taking part in services and acts of remembrance across Gloucestershire. You can find the one closest to you by clicking on this link.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
From 'For the Fallen' - Laurence Binyon
Sarah McKee describes her experience of Gloucester Cathedral's latest installation.
I have been talking in superlatives since visiting the incredible ‘Museum of the Moon’ in Gloucester cathedral.
This fabulous touring artwork by UK artist Luke Jerram has used detailed imagery from NASA of the lunar surface to create a perfect replica of the moon, lit from within and suspended from the ceiling. He describes the installation as “a fusion of lunar imagery, moonlight and surround sound composition”.
The stunning, seven-metre sphere takes your breath away as it hovers theatrically in the nave of our beautiful cathedral. Artistically lit, the whole effect is highly atmospheric. Visitors create their own silhouettes against the light of the moon or create pictures where they appear to be holding it in their hands. Or simply walk around and underneath, bathing in moonlight and music.
The extraordinary installation itself is only part of the picture though. The placement of this impressive replica in the magnificent context of the cathedral makes the experience truly inspiring. The Very Reverend Stephen Lake, Dean of Gloucester said “One of our hopes is that the Moon installation should help people think for a moment, to reflect on what it means to place a scale Moon, inside a cathedral. What does it mean to them?”
A friend of mine, made another observation: “I love how the children come in to see the moon, but just stop and stare when they see the beauty of the cathedral!”
There is no doubt that combining the grandeur and beauty of the cathedral with the ethereal moon installation provides a peaceful, spiritual and entirely unique experience.