Posts Tagged ‘NSGSO’


Protected: Weekend in the ‘shire

September 12, 2010

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Protected: It hurts

August 5, 2010

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Protected: Inconsequential?

August 3, 2010

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Es ist vollbracht! Finals etc

June 15, 2010

Well, if it hadn’t been for the funeral, the wedding to think about, for struggling with my health, and for life generally, it wasn’t so bad! Gah, who am I kidding?!!

My preparation for the Bible and People of God: Then and Now, Biblical Sexuality exam kind of began the weekend before the exam. Don’t get me wrong, I had done a fair amount of reading for this module, but my notes weren’t tidy because I’d not made it to all my lectures, and well, I can’t cope if my notes are in order. Once I’d got that sorted, I chose my exam topic to focus on. I went for the Song of Songs and a contemporary application. By the night before, I had a solid argument, but would I remember it?!! I was stupidly anxious about the exam, but somehow found peace that morning. Scott, bless him, came up to my room to check on me and make sure I got to the exam, in a way someone else who wasn’t there might have done. I felt loved. I was able to write for the entire exam, which was amazing, because I thought I’d get physically tired, which I was, by the end, but I did the best I could! It wasn’t till I got out the exam room that I remembered some of the things I had forgotten, but I didn’t think they were so vital anyway!

It was then time for manic cello practice! I was frustrated, because had I had more ‘well’ time, I would have been able to perform better. I was very blessed to have so many people come and support me, especially those from outside LST: my parents, my God mother, Katherine and her Mum, Derek, Rodney, Daniel, Hazel, David [I hope I’ve not left anyone out?!] My Cello teacher also came, which was nice, it also turned out that she and Rodney knew each other from orchestras!! It was so nice to have so much support, but if I’m honest, I felt humiliated by the whole experience! Because I was performing about 2 or 3 weeks short of a ‘good’ performance, in my books! The Saint-Seans started well, but I slipped up in places I know I can play so much better, which was frustrating. The Kol Nidrei was alright, but I think I’ve played it better. And the Toccatta was, well, I got through it, I guess. People can tell me I did well, but I know I can do better! It was surreal to have finished all my LST exams! People went out to the Pub to celebrate, but I was just too shattered, and needed to go straight to bed. Sad times.

I took Thursday off, which was needed! Katherine and her Mummy took me out for dinner, which was lovely of them, they knew I wouldn’t have much time on the recital day to see me, and as they’d come down from Yorkshire to see me…! There was a slightly awkward moment, when Katherine asked naively why I hadn’t invited her to read my blog. I managed to answer without frightening her, and her Mum backed me up, even though she has no idea of it’s content…!

I don’t remember what happened the Friday and Saturday, other than joining in games of Frisbee to discover I can’t breathe after 5 minutes which wasn’t too fun. But the Sunday, I visited Finchley, although I kinda ran out of fuel on the way, which was interesting!!! It was funny observing one of the church wardens drift off during the sermon!! We went to the pub for lunch, played Scrabble and then Dave helped me tweak my Language and Worship Liturgy, which we finished. And, as Dave said, finishing my last piece of LST work was a bit of an anti-climax!

But, as Beethoven so aptly put it: Es ist Vollbracht! It is finished. Done. Finito.

I have finished my degree. I had been dreaming of life at LST since spring 2004. I got my place in January 2005. I embarked on this journey in October 2006. It may have taken me 4 years rather than 3 to complete, but I have finished. And, in all honesty, I don’t know how I feel about it!

On the Monday, I finally rang the LST bell for real. It’s an LST tradition to ring the bell in the library (which was a chapel when it was St John’s) to mark the end of assessments at LST.

I packed the car with as much stuff as I could take home and waited for dissertation results to come out, final recital marks were back also. I can’t complain, but to me, they don’t add up! Last year, when I was pretty darn ill, for my assessed mid-year recital for my dissertation, I got 69. This year, I KNOW I played a heck of a lot better, playing 3 times more stuff… I got 66 for the recital. It’s a good mark, don’t get me wrong, but it doesn’t make sense! I also know that there was more than 6 marks difference between my dissertation recital and my final recital! My Head of Department pretty much admitted that the marks would have been different had Chris Redgate still been part of LST faculty. I was also frustrated with the comments on my written submission. Again, 68 is a good mark, I’m not complaining at that in itself. But the person who marked it questioned why I hadn’t looked at Beethoven’s specifically religious works, giving examples. I had done in my research! But due to the very tight restraints of the essay, I focussed on Beethoven’s cello works, and acknowledged in both the introduction and conclusion the tremendous role the other works have in this argument. Gah. Anyway, I got 67 overall. Which is, pretty good for a dissertation, I feel.

I left LST Monday evening, drove to Cosgrove and met my parents off the narrowboat, another leg of the journey nearer to LST completed. And we all drove home from there. I was home for the week prior to Victoria’s wedding 🙂


Personal Statement for RHUL MMus application…

May 7, 2010
‘Without music, life would be a mistake’
Bill Bailey

Obviously this statement is right in what it affirms and wrong in what it denies, but I concur wholeheartedly with its sentiment. I cannot comprehend my life without the tremendous influence of music and the passion it invokes.

Following an audition, I was granted a place at The Minster School, Southwell, where I was involved with many groups and ensembles at school, including Main orchestra, Choir and ’Cello Group. I was also involved in county-wide programmes including Nottingham Youth Orchestra and Nottinghamshire Education Symphony Orchestra. In 2001 I joined the National Scout and Guide Symphony Orchestra, becoming principle ’cellist in 2003. Prior to my studies at London School of Theology (LST), I was a member of Nottingham Symphony Orchestra and was also asked to play with the Ensemble of Southwell. I have been involved with the All Souls Orchestra since embarking studies at LST in October 2006, with whom I have had the opportunity to play in venues including Birmingham Symphony Hall, The Sage Gateshead and The Royal Albert Hall.
My experience as the principle ’cellist of various orchestras has taught me the need of comprehending the music, as well as being a good player, in order to communicate this understanding to others. Music is not only about expression, but the mechanics of the art. The notes; the chords; the instruments; the history; the context; the genre: music is not about selfish creation, it is about selfless appreciation.

When I was in sixth form, whilst working through some difficult personal situations, I felt able to play more than just the notes on the page. I had my first experience as a soloist with a local orchestra, performing Elergy by Faure. I discovered a passion for the music I was interpreting in my performances. I had become a ’cellist.
As a member of the Queen’s Scout Working Party, for the Centenary year of Scouting, I was chosen to be a member of the Chapel team for the annual Scout Service for the St. George’s day parade at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor. I was asked to perform Prayer from Bloch’s ‘from Jewish Life’ as a reflection during the service. Not only did I perform to a congregation of Queen’s Scouts, but also to Her Majesty, The Queen.
I achieved ABRSM Grade VIII with distinction prior to commencing reading Theology, Music and Worship at LST. During the course I have grappled with Theology of Worship and the debate of Performance in Worship within the church. In the Arts and Worship module, I have been delving into a philosophy of the arts, specifically the relationship between creativity and suffering, which is continuing to aid my understanding of the artist. I have grown as a person, as a musician and as a performer. At level two, I elected to take Individual Performance as well as my end of year recital, which enabled me to spend the time practicing and understanding Haydn ’Cello Concerto in C, my first concerto. In final year, my dissertation, entitled; ‘Beethoven’s Faith; Discerning a Trajectory’ incorporated a recital containing movements from his Piano and ’Cello Sonatas spanning the length of Beethoven’s compositional life, as well as a written discussion paper as to how the development of Beethoven’s faith may be evident within his music.

Areas of study I wish to pursue include the philosophy of performance, maybe with the possibility of taking an elective in a related area.

I feel the next step for me is to pursue my gift of playing the ’cello at a more advanced level, in order to further develop and refine my technique and ability. This will enable me to understand and perform at my best, in the hope that I might be able to pass on my enthusiasm for the ’cello to generations to come.

It was during a recent recital that I realised how much performance means to me;

It was the most natural feeling in the world.

‘…the most natural thing in the world…’

April 29, 2010

Wednesday 28th April was my dissertation recital ‘Beethoven’s Faith; Discerning a Trajectory.’ I played a selection of Beethoven’s works for piano and cello.

Today I was found saying that while playing my ‘cello last night it felt like ‘the most natural thing in the world.’ When Chris Grey, one of my lecturers picked me up on this, I realised what I had just said.

My last lesson with Margaret last week, we agreed I didn’t really need to see her again, which took pressure off early this week 🙂
My rehearsals with Steve Robbings, my pianist, had been going well, although I wasn’t so happy with it all last week, but content, knowing it was the week before my recital!
On Tuesday I had a lesson with Sue at Eton, I hadn’t seen her since November. I played through my recital in order, after which Sue sat back and explained how she was trying to picture herself in the audience, not knowing who I was, and she’d never have known how ill I’ve been! She wanted to know where I was able to get all my musical energy from?! And, she was really impressed, saying it was ‘excellence!’ She did pick up on a few bits and bobs to tidy up which was helpful 🙂
It was a lovely surprise to see Matthew, Sue’s son at Eton too, he’s teaching there one day a week. He was encouraging as always and wanted to read my dissertation essay, which I sent to him. He sent me a good luck message yesterday afternoon, which was very sweet of him!

The whole of Wednesday felt surreal. I don’t think I really did the being nervous thing, because even today I don’t feel like I’ve done it, you know? It hasn’t sunk in!

Especially as when I moved back to LST my dissertation recital had a massive question mark over it! Even a month ago I doubted I’d have the stamina to survive!

Have I really just finished my dissertation? Have I done with Beethoven (for now)?!!

Es ist vollbracht!

The recital itself, went fairly well. I slipped up three times in the 40 minute recital, which isn’t too bad, especially considering they were all things I’d never done wrong before, and I didn’t let them affect the phrases too much!

I was so blessed by the amount of people who came to support me! I’d printed 60 programmes, but there were none left at the end! Phil estimated at about 80 people in the audience!
My parent’s had come down from Nottinghamshire with Victoria (bride-to-be), Mick had got the train down from Southwell! Sarah and Helen came over from Muswell Hill. Some Scouting/NSGSO friends also came which was a lovely surprise! David had come over for the day from Finchley. Simon James-Morse and Mark Jenner, who were both in my class last year, came back especially to hear me play! Mum’s friend from orchestra/quartets, Malcolm also came all the way down, too, and took the opportunity to mock me still!

Thank you to everyone who came and supported me in so many ways!

I spent some time compiling all the messages of support and encouragement I’ve received… I still haven’t finished and there’s over 5 pages!!

14 of us went out for a meal at ASK after wards, which was lovely. I was so hungry by the time we got there, as I hadn’t eaten much before my recital! But I didn’t manage to finish off my pizza, which is a first for me! I don’t understand how I got full so quickly?

I gave Helen, Sarah and David lifts back to Muswell Hill/Finchley to save them spending ages on public transport!
I got back to my room at 12.15am.
I crashed physically and emotionally. I’d felt it coming when David and I took my ‘cello, chair and music back to my room before going for the meal… my legs were burning, but I ignored it!
I was in so much pain, I could barely move. Trying to take off my shoes, whilst sat on a chair, I almost wound up on the floor. The thought of getting changed to go to bed was beyond comprehension, I just couldn’t do it. I wound up taking my trousers off, cause I was too hot, then I felt a bit naked, so put my PJ bottoms on, but hadn’t changed my top half!
I was overwhelmed with emotion, I had gone from performing to 80 people, to going out for a meal, to driving, to being so alone. I just wanted to be held. To fall asleep in someone’s arms.
My body rested for a few hours (not asleep) by which time it gathered enough energy to cry. I cried for about an hour and a half. I texted Lizzie during the crying, knowing she is sometimes awake at these early hours. She came round and sat with me till I finally drifted to sleep at 5.45ish. I didn’t get up till lunchtime. I crawled back into bed numerous times throughout the day. I missed my lectures.

I was worried as I had a rehearsal at All Souls for Prom Praise Royal Albert Hall next Saturday, between 7 and 10 this evening. I struggled getting into London, I didn’t think I’d survive the evening at all. But, once I was playing my ‘cello again, everything felt so much better! I lasted ’till 10.

Paul Hammond very kindly recorded my recital for me. I’ve just listened to it just now… it’s weird listening to myself. The microphone was quite close so it picked up a lot of surface noise and I don’t sound in tune some of the time.. I didn’t think it was that bad in real life? ack.

I’m looking forward to seeing Mr Marriott’s photographs soon 🙂

I saw David Peacock and Richard Hubbard (my examiners) at lunchtime today, they wouldn’t even give me a hint as to how I’d done!

I found Chris Grey to apologise for not getting to Arts and Worship this morning… we wound up having a conversation about ‘what next’ and performance. I think I should pursue ‘Cello related things. Scrap that. I know I should.
We talked about post-grad’s and music colleges vs. universities… he suggested I looked at Durham, Royal Holloway and King’s. The latter of these would mean I would still be around London and could thus still be near friends, play with All Souls and stuff.
Holloway want an application by May 10th to be considered for scholarship funding… they also want a CD of my playing and an essay! Ack.

But I’m still lacking the confidence in my ability, I doubt I’m good enough to do post-grad. After all, I’ll be the first person in my family to get an honors degree, I never thought I’d get to University when I was at school! So for me to be thinking about Masters’ is crazy.

I’m crying again; I am such a musician it’s untrue. It’s taken me till now to really realise this; I’ve been suppressing it all this time. When I was at school, my ‘cello was just a hobby, nothing else. I knew music college was there, but I never thought in a million years that I could go.

And yet, when I was sat in chapel last night, behind my ‘cello, in front of 80 people, I was praising God and it was the most natural feeling in the world to me.

I am so very blessed.


Thinking Day

February 22, 2010

22nd February in WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts) is World Thinking Day. [Within the Scout Association it’s Founders Day]

It’s a day when members throughout the world come together in their units and districts to consider the meaning of Scouting and Guiding and remember others involved throughout the world. Donations are collected for the Thinking Day Fund which supports projects to help Guides and Scouts around the world. February 22 was chosen as it was the birthday of Scouting founder Robert Baden-Powell and of Olave Baden-Powell, his wife and World Chief Guide.

Each year WAGGGS choose a theme for Thinking Day. This year, in the Centenary year of Girlguiding, the theme is “Together we can end extreme poverty and hunger.”

In my home District, there was a service at the local Methodist Church yesterday afternoon for all the units in our village. Colette and I have both been a bit cynical about it, in that it seems a bit of a cop-out especially as it’s the Centenary and all!

I have been thinking about friends who I have met at various points in my Guiding life, at Internationals, NSGSO and random other places.

  • I had a good phone call catch up with Colette.
  • I’ve been thinking of Sarah who has just returned to Britian having been working at Our Cabana (one of the four Guide World Centres) in Mexico. She is about to start work in London for WAGGGS – exciting times!
  • I received a text from Helen, who I met just recently at Innovate, asking how I was doing back at college 🙂
  • I thought about NSGSO folks, and was happy to hear that Dad has been asked back again to be Assistant Scouter on this summers course, so he’s responsible for activities and logistics.

I saw Adrian today, he said he thought of me over the weekend, as his daughter had been on a Brownie Thinking Day event in Watford, and came home with a badge for her sash, and Adrian told her about my Campfire Blanket! Heh! I emailed him the pictures to show his daughter!

It was really ace to hear from a Father’s perspective how they really valued Brownies, giving his daughter that ‘girls only’ space which is such an integral part of the movements ethos, despite her being, like I was at her age, a tom-boy!