Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Abbey Brass in Concert 2011!

This Saturday Abbey Brass will be performing in the Yolande Patterson Hall, St Helen's School, Abingdon. We'd love to see you there at 7.30pm for a programme of classc brass band and more modern pieces. Also, look out for some added entertainment during some of the music! What more could you as for at only £7 for adults?!

Do contact me for more details, or visit the official site.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Tune in Tuesday #5

Hosted by GReads!

After the good response to my last Queen music post, I just had to share this one. 
This is early Freddie Mercury!

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

The Stopping of Summer Special

Well, the end is here. Thankyou to all who helped out, commented and visited during my month of summer madness. I hope you picked up some tips of things to do, places to see, recipes to try, authors to read and/or blogs to visit. I'd love to hear what you thought- maybe you could leave a comment or make a blog post to tell me. Hopefully this will be the beginning of more events that I'm able to hold.

Just before I leave you to go back to normal broadcasting, I bet you want to know who won what. Well, here you are:

The Winner of Bloody Jack is Mystica
The signed bookmarks were won by Sahina Bibi
The personalised magnetic bookmarks were won by Jade Walker and Janhvi Jagtap
The Winner of the Hairdresser of Harare is Mazz Nixon
And, finally, Anne was the winner of Murder in the Dark.

Congratulations to all the winners. You have been contacted by e-mail and now have 48 hours to respond.

If you didn't win this time, don't despair- you can still win with my 100 followers giveaway (see the sidebar of 'The Story Factory Reading Zone' for more details.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Suggested Activity 18: Listen to a local band in the park

If its lovely weather- why not see if there are any bands playing in your local park. Many parks have bandstands where brass bands, small groups and even choirs might be performing. In others there may be buskers who provide nice background music for activities such as a picnic or simply reading a book.

Over to you:
What sort of music would I find in your local park?

Pop over to 'The Story Factory Writing Zone' this afternoon to read an interview with author Joanne Harris.  

Friday, 26 August 2011

Autumn Overhaul

Just a quick note to let you know that you may spot a few changes on my blogs over the next few weeks. Don't panc- nothing major's going to change, I just wanted to give the place a makeover whilst I have the chance. The main things that will be happening will be to make the blogs more similar,  so that people can (hopefully) clearly see that they're all run by the same person. I'm also hoping to make them easier to navigate.

If you have any suggestions of anything you think could make this blog better do leave  a comment. I can't promise I'll act on them all, but I certainly seriously consider them!

Recipe Resort: Bread-Maker's Bread

OK, so I have a slight confession to make before I start this post. I have a little cheat when I make bread, and that is that I use a bread-maker. This means that you may need to adjust the recipe below for your own bread-maker and you'd certainly need to adjust them for baking in the oven.

I started baking a few months ago, after my Dad found that he was often too busy to use his bread-maker himself. I just love the smell of freshly baked bread wafting through the house, and nothing can beat it for freshness. So, I thought I'd have a go myself. Now I make one or two loaves of bread most weeks, and love experimenting with new recipes. When I start a new recipe it often takes a while to get the adjustments right (you have to take account humidity, temperature, freshness of yeast and adapt for the machine), but the recipes that I know come out right most of the time. I'm going to share my favourite with you (including exactly which makes of ingredients I use- I think this is important), and then let you know about some bread-mixes that I also feel work well. I'd like to point out that I'm not sponsored by any of these makes, just honestly telling you which ones I've found to work well so far.

Wholewheat Seeded Bread (lactose free)
Put the following ingredients into your bread-maker in the order stated. This makes a 2lb loaf and works well in our Morphy Richards breadmaker.
  • 5/8 cup of warm water
  • 1 cup So Good soya life soya milk
  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 4 cup Hovis Strong Wholemeal Bread Flour
  • 1 packet of Allinson's Easy Bake Yeast (7g)
  • 2x crushed Vitamin C tablets (120mg in total)
The following should be placed in the fruit and nut dispenser, or added when the beeper sounds:
  • 4tsp sesame seeds
Use setting 2 Wholemeal, or equivilant setting.

My favourite bread mixes:
  • Wright's Mixed Grain (just add water)
  • Apple and Sultana Flour (I get mine frm Q Gardens Fam Shop, but can't remember the make- sorry). This is used as on the packet, and seems to work quite fine of th 2lb loaf setting.

Over to you:  
What sort of bread do you enjoy eating / cooking?
Do you have any good bread recipes that you'd like to share with us?

Tomorrow, you can pop back here to get another 'suggested activity', or join us over at 'The Story Factory Writing Zone' for an afternoon interview with author Joanne Harris.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Suggested Activity 12: Take up a new instrument

Take up a new instrument

'The Story Factory Reading Zone' readers include woodwind and string players, as well as singers- who knew! As those who read this blog regularly will know- I'm a brass player and a singer, as well as an ocassional guitarist myself. Out of those I'd recommend taking up the guitar in the summer. It might take you a little while, but persevere and hopefully you'll be ready for the Christmas carols.

Over to you:
What instruments do you play?
Have you ever thought about trying out a (different) instrument?

Tomorrow, I'll be suggesting a 'Place To Visit' over at 'Living In A Time Warp'. I'd love if you'd join me there.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Suggested Activity 1: Discover some new music

Discover some new music

Its tempting to imagine that all summer days are warm and sunny. If only that were so! If you find yourself in the middle of a rainstorm and don't fancy going out, why not look for some music. Here are some suggestions made by 'The Story Factory Reading Zone' readers:


Over to you:
What sort of music do you like listening to?

Next post in the 'Summer Special' will be tomorow at 'Living In A Time Warp'

The Week Ahead: Week One

Welcome to the first of 4 'Week Ahead' posts during my August 'Summer Special'. The aim of these posts is to keep you updated with what will happening each week, including any changes from the published schedule. They may also include my response to the 'It's Monday: What Are You Reading?' meme (I don't do this every week, just when I have new reading to announce).

WEEK ONE- Welcome To The Summer!

This week is all about getting the feel for what the 'Summer Special' is about. As well as the launch post, I'll be taking you round all my blogs as I share with you some suggested activities for the summer, one of my favourite recipes and a place to visit. The week ends with the first 'Summer Sharer' and blog feature.
Click on the blog titles to be taken to their main pages.

Day One-     Launch Post (all blogs)
                    The Week Ahead (all blogs)
                    Suggested Activity 1 (Music Helps The World Go Round)
Day Two-    Suggested Activity 2 (Living in A Time Warp)
Day Three-  Suggested Activity 3 (Crafty Creations)
                    Recipe Resort: Peach Sorbet (Blog For The Thought)
Day Four-    Places To Visit 1 (Blog For The Thought)
                    Suggested Activity 4 (Blog For The Thought)
Day Five-     Suggested Activity 5 (The Story Factory Writing Zone)
Day Six-       Suggested Activity 6 (Crafty Creations)
                    Summer Sharer: Wanderer's Tales (Living in A Time Warp)
Day Seven-  Blog Feature: My Book-Crazy Life (The Story Factory Reading Zone)

Over to you: What does summer mean to you?

Summer Special Starts!

Apologies for the late start to this 'Summer Special'.
Who knew it would take me over an hour to write this post!?

Welcome to the first ever 'Summer Special' taking place across various blogs run by Abigail Ann (aka neeuqfonafamai).

So, what is 'Summer Special'?
Basically, its a change to our regular schedule where you can hang out during your summer holidays. Or, if they're already over, then you can use the opportunity to imagine them back again and begin planning for next year. Every day in August, I'll be leaving you some ideas of  things that are good to do in hot weather. They'll also be giveaways, blog features, author interview(s), recipes for you to try, and a chance for you to join in during our 'summer sharers'. That's in addition to all my usual book reviews and memes. And, at the end of each post, will be an 'over to you'- something to spark discussion in the comments, or to post about on your own blog (if you want to).
Let me now tell you some more about the types of posts you may come across during this month:
  • The Week Ahead. At the start of each week in August, I'll be putting up a post saying what's happening that week. This will be an updated post and will include the 'It's Monday: What Are You Reading?' meme. 
  • Suggested Activity. These are posts talking about activities that myself or my blog readers like to do. They contain ideas of things that could be good to do in warm weather. 
  • Places to Visit. These are brief posts telling you about various places that could be good to go and visit. These are specific places that you might want to see if you live nearby, or to go to on holiday in the future.
  • Blog Feature. Telling you all about some of the blogs that our readers run. 
  • Giveaway. Your chance to grab a prize. Thanks to the generousity of our readers most of these are international! Plus, I'll be adding a surprise giveaway if the followers of 'The Story Factory Reading Zone' hit 100 followers during this event!
  • Author Interview. Your chance to find out more about an author that may be new to you. 
  • Blogger Interview. Your chance to learn more about a fellow blogger.
  • Summer Sharer. Essentially a series of one-off memes, these posts are your opportunity to join in by sharing your photos, summer exploits, or writing. Let us know what you're up to this summer on your own blog, or via the comments.
  • Recipe Resort. I'll be sharing some recipes that I've found to be good for the summer.

Enough of the posts, where do I find them?
They'll be spread across my blogs. But don't worry, they won't be hard to find as each day I'll leave a note for you of where you can find the next post. Plus, there's a list below of what will be happening when and where, which I'll leave (and update as necessary) on the new 'Summer Special' page of each of my blogs.
Just to make sure you don't miss anything, here's a list of the blogs participating:

The Schedule
These are the posts that I've already got planned for the 'Summer Special' event. Also, look out for all my usual posts, as well as the possible additional giveaway or interview.

WEEK ONE- Welcome To The Summer!
Day One-     Launch Post (all blogs)
                    The Week Ahead (all blogs)
                    Suggested Activity 1 (Music Helps The World Go Round)
Day Two-    Suggested Activity 2 (Living in A Time Warp)
Day Three-  Suggested Activity 3 (Craft Creations)
                    Recipe Resort: Peach Sorbet (Blog For The Thought)
Day Four-    Places To Visit 1 (Blog For The Thought)
                    Suggested Activity 4 (Blog For The Thought)
Day Five-     Suggested Activity 5 (The Story Factory Writing Zone)
Day Six-       Suggested Activity 6 (Craft Creations)
                    Summer Sharer: Wanderer's Tales (Living in A Time Warp)
Day Seven-  Blog Feature: My Book-Crazy Life (The Story Factory Reading Zone)

WEEK TWO- Giveaways Galore!
Day Eight-   The Week Ahead (all blogs)
                    Suggested Activity 7 (The Story Factory Reading Zone)
                    Summer Sharer: Recipe Resort (Cradt Creation)
Day Nine-    Suggested Activity 8 (Music Helps The World Go Round)
Day Ten-      Places To Visit 2 (Living in A Time Warp)
Day Eleven-  Suggested Activity 9 (Blog For The Thought)
Day Twelve- Suggested Activity 10 (The Story Factory Writing Zone)
                     Giveaway 1: Bloody Jack (The Story Factory Reading Zone)
                     Blog Feature: Ann's Reading Corner (The Story Factory Reading Zone)
Day Thirteen-Suggested Activity 11 (The Story Factory Reading Zone)
                     Giveaway 2: Assorted Signed Bookmarks (The Story Factory Writing Zone)
Day Fourteen-Giveaway 3: The Hairdresser of Harare (The Story Factory Reading Zone)

WEEK THREE- Sharing the Summer
Day Fifteen-  The Week Ahead (all blogs)
                     Suggested Activity 12 (Music Helps The World Go Round)
Day Sixteen- Places To Visit 3 (Living in A Time Warp)
Day Seventeen- Suggested Activity 13 (Crafty Creations)
                     Summer Sharer: Crafty Capers (Crafty Creations)
Day Eighteen-Suggested Activity 14 (Blog For The Thought)
                      Recipe Resort: Beetroot Cake (Living In A Time Warp)
Day Nineteen-Suggested Activity 15 (The Story Factory Reading Zone)
Day Twenty-  Suggested Activity 16 (Living In A Time Warp)
                      Summer Sharer: Holiday Snaps (The Story Factory Writing Zone)
Day Twenty-One- Giveaway 6: Magnetic Bookmarks (Crafty Creations)

WEEK FOUR- Writing and Reading the World
Day Twenty-Two-   The Week Ahead (all blogs)
                               Places To Visit 4 (Living In A Time Warp)
Day Twenty-Three- Suggested Activity 17 (Crafty Creations)
Day Twenty-Four-   Suggested Activity 18 (The Story Factory Reading Zone)
                               Summer Sharer: A World of Writing (The Story Factory Writing Zone)
Day Twenty-Five-   Author Interview: Karen Tyrrell (The Story Factory Writing Zone)
Day Twenty-Six-     Places To Visit 5 (Living in A Time Warp)
                               Recipe Resort: Bread-maker's Bread (Music Helps The World Go Round)
Day Twenty-Seven- Suggested Activity 19 (Music Helps The World Go Round)
Day Twenty-Eight-  Blogger Interview: Hilde (The Story Factory Reading Zone)

WEEK FIVE- Reaching the End
Day Twenty-Nine-  The Week Ahead (all blogs)
                               Giveaway 7: Murder in the Dark (The Story Factory Reading Zone)
Day Thirty-              Places To Visit 6 (Living in A Time Warp)
Day Thirty-One-      Wrapping Up The Summer (all blogs)

I hope you'll be able to join us for some summer fun this month!
If you want to be certain not to miss anything, please consider following one (or all) of the blogs

Over to you: What are your plans for August?

Monday, 25 July 2011

Countdown To Summer Special

LESS THAN A WEEK TO GO until our 'Summer Special' event!

Spead across 6 blogs that I run throughout August, 'Summer Special' will be full of suggestions on how to make your summer just that little bit more fun.

Look out for:
  • suggested activities
  • book, arts & crafts and other giveaways
  • featured blogs
  • blogger interviews
  • author interviews
  • book reviews
and more.......

It's not too late to get involved as well! Simply fill in the form below before next Monday to get your activity suggestions or blog featured, be interviewed, or donate a giveaway item.

Music Monday #2

Hosted by Butterfly Feet

On Saturday I was part of a group of Abbey Brass members helping out 'Jubilee Brass' (Oxford) at a local fete. This was one of the songs we played and I've had it stuck in my head ever since:

Monday's Music Moves Me #3

Hosted by Xmas Dolly

Today's theme is your favorite TV show's theme (suggestion offered by our Lorie)!  So show me whatcha got! 

Monday, 11 July 2011

Music Monday

Hosted by Butterfly Feet

A comedy tune for you today. I'm enjoying listening to this one in my car at the moment:

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Weekly Geeks: Blogger Playlist

Hosted by Weekly Geeks

"This week, I thought we could share blogging-inspired playlists. The idea of this one is to choose song titles that sound like they have something to do with reading or blogging. Songs that reflect how you feel about blogging in general. This has more to do with the titles themselves than the actual genres or styles of the songs. So you might include on your blogger playlist songs that you'd never actually put together on a playlist."

Here's mine:
  1. 'Don't Stop Me Now' by Queen
  2. 'ABC' by The Jackson Five 
  3. 'The NeverEnding Story' by Limahl and Beth Anderson
  4. 'Never Let Me Go' by David Bowie
  5. 'Paperback Writer' by The Beatles
  6. 'Push A Little Button' by Ninette
  7. 'A Whole New World' by Katie Price and Peter Andre
  8. 'Circle of Life' by Elton John

Thursday, 30 June 2011

How Do you Make Your Summer Special?

I'm hoping to run a series of posts on things to do this summer. But, in order to make this a success I need your help? I want to know if you have any activities, places you enjoy, or things that you do in the summer months. I would especially like to know about your favourite summer music and where you like to listen to music in sunny weather. Maybe you go to the beach, or sit by the side of a swimming pool. Maybe you attend a festival or two. Whatever it is, I'd love to hear from you.

Band in the park

Just a quick note to tell anyone that may be in the area that my brass band will be playing in Henley bandstand this Sunday afternoon- just down the road from the Henley Regetta. Do come along for what promises to be a sunny day out.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Choir of 1000 enters Abbey Road

Yesterday a choir of 1000 visited Abbey Road Studios to record a new CD- and I was lucky enough to be one of them!

We were recording the choral parts for two new movements composed by Karl Jenkins. There were so many of us that recording had to be split into 6 different groups who took turns to record. It was the first time I had ever been inside Abbey Road Studios and recording there was an amazing experience. We were conducted by one of The King Singers during rehearsal at a local church and then Karl Jenkins himself recorded us for the actual recording. We wore headphones on one ear so that we could listen to the pre-recorded orchestra and beep-tracks, whilst still being able to listen to the choir with the other ear. It was an interesting experience to hear the people at the recording desk stating the take, but what was truly amazing was the thought of all the people who had recorded there before us.

The photos of some of the artists who had recorded their lined the walls of the stairs down to the studio. And then there were movie posters downstairs from some of the soundtracks that had been recorded there. I must admit that every time I hear music I'm now thinking- was that recorded where I was yesterday?

I'll post here again when the CD comes out. In the meatime, look out for the mass choir on the 'sing for peace' website in September- I'm somewhere in that amazing sound!

Monday, 13 June 2011

Monday's Music Moves Me #2

Hosted by XmasDolly

Today's theme:  It's my Happy Birthday to me.  So, play a song you think I'll like for my birthday!

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Suggested Activity 8: Listen to some light music

Listen to some light music

'The Story Factory Reading Zone' readers say:
I listen to lighter, more fun, up-beat music in summer and more ballads and classical in winter
I listen to lighter stuff instead of heavier rock.

It seems that I have a lot in common with our musical readers. I also like 'more fun' music in the summer. There's nothing like up-beat music and a sunny day to put you in a good mood. Whether you listen to it whilst dancing around your kitchen, or driving the car, it always seems more appropriate in the summer some-how. If you haven't given it a go, I recommend some of the more pop-py stuff from your youth- nothing like some cheese to bring back good memories.

Over to you: What sort of music do you recommend for hot summer days?

Pop over to 'Living in A Time Warp' tomorrow to read about another recommended 'Places to Visit'.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Text Your Support

If you enjoy brass bands please consider supporting Abbey Brass (my local band) by texting a donation. Its easy and convenient.

Simply send a text to 70070 including our code – BAND14 – and a monetary amount:
To: 70070
BAND14 £5
You can donate £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10. After you’ve sent the text, you’ll receive a confirmation text back containing details on how to add Gift Aid, meaning Abbey Brass could benefit from an extra 25%.

And, if you're not yet sure, then keep following this blog for more about the band. 

Sunday, 15 May 2011

The Final Eurovision Countdown

Well, the Eurovision results are in and counted up. Let me begin this post by saying that I was pleasantly surprised how much more varied the voting was last night. One thing that's always got me down about Eurovision is how predicatable the voting has become, but last night most people actually seemed to be voting for the songs rather than because of the politics. Well done Europe!

Anyway, this post is where I share information on the winners for those who were unable to see the results, or simply couldn't be bothered to wait for them.

At number 3 its....... Sweden:

Next, a number 2 it's........ Italy:

But, finally, at number 1 (and winners of Eurovision 2011) its Azerbaijan:

So what do you think of these winners? And what would you like to have seen as number 1?

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Eurovision Evaluation

Last year I very much missed Terry Wogan's commentary, but either Graham Norton's got better this year I'm more used to his style as I enjoyed hs wry comments.

The opening version of last year's winning song was interesting. I enjoyed the comedic beginning and the pyrotechnic danceable ending, but the middle was a little bit strange in my opinion. 'Germany's Simon Cowell' showed off his musical skill to great aplomb, but I wasn't too sure about his singing. 

What follows is a list of the 25 participating finalist countries with my comment on their songs. If you want to watch them then I suggest you check YouTube, as I've posted this as soon as possible after the performances were finished, so they weren't yet available to embed.
I loved the last winning entry. This one was totally different, featuring a very tuneful singer. The background of the earth made a great prop for his song abot saving the earth- twee but something close to my heart.

Bosnia & Herzegovina
Is it just me ordid the guitarist look like Spike Milligan? A good rhythm to this song, but the dancer/trumpeeter didn't seem to match the rest of the band. I was also put off by the fact that I couldn't understand all the words despite the fact that they were singing in English. 
Catchy start with clear words and going into a good rhythm. Enough repetition of words to have me singing along, but not overdone. It felt very much like watching a proper live concert. You may have gathered that  liked this one!
 Interesting harmonies in places. As commented on the UK commentary, a song that could have come straight out of an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical (had it not been sung only partly in English). To be honest, I got bored with this one quite quickly, not helped by the camera-work which made me dizzy.
Not really my cup of tea- too poppy for my taste. The women's oufits didn't do anything fr me either. Managed to give me a headache.
I'm afraid that I automatically approached this song with dread. And, whilst it seemed quite well performed, it certainly didn't redeem myself in my view. My Mum comented that Jedward appeared like overgrown imps and I tend to agree. Plus, it was hard to hear them as the backing singers were at the same volume almost all the way through.
The drumming certainly made an impact from the start. The words to this song seemed to make the singer seem rather desperate ("I will be popular"). The backing dancers actually made more of an impression on me than the lead singer. The breaking out of the box stunt was pretty good though.
 Interesting scenery and backing dance. And what was with her dress? Quite catchy, but I'm not sure I really want it stuck in my head.
Certainly made an impact right from the beginning. An interesting mix of contrasting styles using hip-hop and opera together- not sure it really worked though. I did enjoy the bits where the opera singer was doing his bit, but I was put of by the other bits. And what was with the section where they danced together?
A talented performer, good at both singing and dancing (and pretty good loking as well). There was to much happening on stage though and in my opinion it detracted from the performance.
This made a relaxing break from all the pop so far, especially set against the scenes of sunsets and clouds. A very talented tenor, whose music I could appreciate despite not understanding the words. 
A good start going into a toe-tappin rhythm. Very smooth! The piano solo was particularly good in my opinion. An impressively long and high note at the end. I enjoyed this one.
A catchy opening melody, as were the smiles onstage. A real feel-good song, encouraged by the 60s style animations on the screen behind.
United Kingdom
Am I allowed to comment on this one? Why not, its not like I can vote for them!
Unforunatly the pictures at the beginning of this piece made them look like criminals. This is one of Blue's best songs in my opinion, although I have heard it sounding better than in tonights performance.
What were they wearing on their heads? In fact, what was this full-stop? I can only guess that they were setting out to make an impact- well they certainly did that. There's always at least one like this in Eurovision, but think this might be the most perculiar I've seen yet. Where else would you see a woman ddresed as a fairy with a pointy at riding a unicycle in a pop/rock song?
This is only the third time that a Eurovision singer had defended their title. I quite ehoyed the bizarre white-clad dancers. Pity I couldn't say as much about the song, which really just failed to make an impact on me. The 'cathedral' of lights at the end was pretty cool though.
A very swarmy, but good singer who reminded me of John Barrowman. A twee message set against a rhythm which only just failed to make me want to dance. I liked his attempt to try to get the audience to join in, which wouldn't have been to hard to do given the repetative nature of the song.
A brave start siging acapella, which paid off because of the singer's lovely voice. A simpe, but engaging song peformed with true feeling.
I enjoyed parts of this song, but I didn't feel that the performance was of a consitently good quality. At times I thought the lead vocals were excellent, but at other times they seemed almost out of tune. Overall, I didn't think much of it really
I enjoyed this piece until the singer came in, but the beginning of her bit didn't seem to fit somehow. The swaggering walk forwards didn't impress me.
Some talented singers amongst this group who performed a good, but not particulary striking song. Quite jolly, but I'm not sure if  I liked it or not.
 I would havee liked to have understood the words to this song, as its catchy tune and rhythm weren't quite enough to make it for me. I would have liked it if they'd extended the drum solo, as the short snippet sounded quite promising.
The singing was almost a backing track to the beautiful sandart going on behind it. A nice song as well.
A very 60s feel to this song, the background of which unfortunately made me dizzy in places. I got the feeling that this would have been very good had I understood the words, but it lost something without them. Having said that, it had a feel-good feeling to it.
A very striking dress in this one- swirly green on a black background. A lot heavier than the other entries this year, with a little bit of rap thrown in. It felt almost like they wanted to ram their song into a high position with sheer volume. 

What was your favourite song? Do you agree with my evaluations, or do you have different  views?

Parting Mozart

Last weekend I went of to Bristol to sing Mozart's Requiem with only a few hours rehearsal time. Now, normally I'm a soprano but, since I had a cold and knowing how high this piece went, I decided to take the alto part. Having sung this piece before as a soprano, it was really interesting to see the differences between the two parts.

People often make the mistake of thinking that its easier to sing soprano than alto because you have the tune. Whilst this may be true with some music, its not the case with Mozart's Requiem! For a start the 'tune' moves around the parts, and then you have notes which 2nd sopranos will find hard to reach. This is why when you pick parts it is important to consider your range as the main factor in your choice. When I was younger I was an alto for sure and yet, as an older child, I was told that I had to sing soprano in a production of Joseph which I'd joined. The result was that I ended up being told to sing higher all the time as I had problems with the tops notes- not a pleasant experience at all! So, what do you do when you're clearly a second soprano and you're faced with something like Mozart's Requiem where you havea choice of medium-high soprano or medium to low alto? Well, the answer is that its not easy and I'm afraid I don't actually have the solution. Anyone else got any tips?

Countdown to EuroVision

Well, its that time again that you either love or loathe- EuroVision finale night! If you're of the loathe bunch then yo have my permissin to skip this post, but if you're in the love posse (or one of the few inbetweeners out there) then read on for some (great?) videos.

As someone living in the UK its almst an obligation to start this post by sharing my country's entry for this year. So here are 'Blue' singing 'I Can':

We're all hoping this song will win this year, since the last win for the UK was way back in 1997 when 'Love Shine A Light' by 'Katrina and the Waves' won:

Anyway, enough about the UK entries.
This year Germany will be the hosts of EuroVision and the host city will be Dusseldorf. This is the entry which they won with last year, 'Satellite' by 'Lena':

This year Germay will be putting forward 'Taken by a Stranger', also by Lena:

If you're excited about EuroVision why not share with us your country's entries for this year, or the entry from the last time they won. Alternatively, if you're country is not taking part, whyy not tell us what you think of the above videos. I'd love to hear from you!

I'll be sharing my thoughts on some of the songs after tonight's show. If you'd like to join me then the BBC has a great scorecard to help you keep a record of your opinions. Click here to go to the webpage where you can download it.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Being Brave at Abingdon Air Show

On Sunday I was lucky enough to be able to play at Abingdon Air Show with Abbey Brass, the brass band that I belong to. It was a fantastic day during which we not only played 3 short sets, but were able to listen to other musicians as well as visiting all the stalls. One of my favourite music groups was a group playing traditional folk instruments and dancing- very interesting.

The organisers requested that we played the piece 'Braveheart' which they'd heard at our last concert. The music is taken from the 1995 film of the same name which starred Mel Gibson. Its very moving and I very much enjoy playing it, especially since may instrument gets some of the tune near the beginning in the version we play. The movie's not bad either, in my opinion.

Anyway, this got me thinking about film music in general. On radio 2 this morning I heard the latest Take That single, featured in the latest X-men film. It was another film theme tune, that of Stardust, which got me interested in the Take That reunion- I loved the song when I went to see the movie and was surprised when I discovered who sang it. I can work the other way round as well. I enjoyed the song 'Everything I Do' by Bryan Adams and when I heard it in the film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves then it quickly became my favourite Robin Hood movie at the time. The insperability of movie and music in many people's minds can clearly be seen by the fact that Andrew Lloyd Webber kept many of the original film songs when he took 'The Wizard of Oz' to the stage. Incidentally  'Somewhere Over the Rainbow', taken from this movie, was another song that Abbey Brass featured at the air show.

Do you have a favourite movie song?

Monday, 9 May 2011

Monday's Music Moves Me

Hosted by Xmas Dolly

This song was on my CD player as a drove thrrough the rain on the way back from singing Mozart. Its been in my head ever since:

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

My blog intentions

I've been writing a reading blog for a while now, as well as one dedicated to my sites about my favouurite band (see my profile for more info), so I thought it was about time I dedicated one to my musical activities.

Music is an integral part of my life, especially playing it. My favourite instrument to play is the Eb Tenor Horn, but I also play guitar and basic keyboard. I have even been known to play tambourine in my church music group! I can't imagine life without being able to sing, both for my own and other's pleasure.

So, you can get an idea now what this blog is going to be about. I'll try to keep you updated with all my musical activities and I'd love it if you'd share some of yours as well.