A Choir Member's Blog

 

Read through my latest blog posts and feel free to comment on them if you like.

 

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A Tribute to John Lander from our MD

Posted on 10th May, 2022

Dear friendsAs a choir family our hearts go out to Lorraine and the family of John. We have lost dear friends from our choir over the years and have greatly missed them from our midst. As I reflect on photographs from past years, sadness is somehow tinged with joy as I recall fond memories of making music and having fun with those who shared that part of their lives with us.In more recent times John has not enjoyed the best of health but has always supported our choir, together with Lorraine, whenever possible.We will miss his voice, his humour, commitment and generosity of spirit.Today our chairman Vicky’s partner, Richard, is expecting his operation at Derriford. After much delay, and enduring treatment, we hope that the surgery will go ahead and achieve a successful outcome.We are so thankful that others of our number have overcome illness and been able to rejoin us making music. Our care for each other demonstrates the fact that we truly are a community choir.Please keep Lorraine, Vicky and Richard in your thoughts and prayers as they face these challenging times.God bless,William

Trevor Meets His Maker

Posted on 5th November, 2019

Yesterday the choir gathered, with many others, at St Uny Church, Lelant, to attend the funeral of Trevor Hoskins, one of our basses. The date was Monday 4th November. Trevor, born in 1935, had attained what might be termed 'a good age'. However, while the service was in celebration of his life, the occasion was yet another reminder of our mortality.

 

Trevor's sons, Richard and Jonathan, each contributed with stories and reflections on their much loved father. This will bring them much comfort and pride in the years ahead. Richard also played a beautiful Chopin piece on the pianoforte to allow further time of reflection.  With many choir members being into their 'third age' it is easy to forget that we all come with a past. In Trevor's case we knew so little of the calibre of one who pioneered nuclear physics long before he joined us. But in recent years, as a choir member, Trevor so enjoyed his singing and the company he had with us. Just three weeks ago I sat beside him at his last practice.

 

Trevor was also a member of the National Coastwatch Institute at St Ives and received a long service award earlier this year. His colleagues from the NCI formed a Guard of Honour.

 

Several falls during the last year took their toll on Trevor's health. The first was powerfully described by his wife, Liz. He had to be air lifted from The Isles of Scilly to the mainland by the Cornwall Air Ambulance. This is the charity to which folks were invited to donate as a form of remembrance of Trevor's life.

 

MD William read from the scriptures: 2 Peter 1, which is a great comfort to those, like Trevor, who held a clear and present faith in his Saviour, Jesus Christ. Rev. Carlyn Wilton referred to this passage in an eloquent message of hope.

 

The choir contributed with two appropriate songs; Deep Harmony and God be with you. Poor John Lander tripped and fell before the start of the service and was taken to hospital with suspected broken ribs. A cracked rib was verified. We wish him a full recovery and return to the choir.

 

We will all miss Trevor. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. No doubt Trevor will be discussing how all his scientific knowledge fits in with God's great creation and getting the answers. Surely he will also join a very good choir!

 

Trevor_Hoskins

 

    Then shall I see, and hear, and know

     All I desired and wished below;

   And every power find sweet employ

     In that eternal world of joy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Trevor, outside the NCI station on the Island, St Ives.

Singing the Proms

Posted on 7th August, 2017

   The choir are currently rehearsing for their next two concerts. The first one is at Newlyn Centre, as part of the Newlyn Fish Festival, on Sunday 27th August at 7:30pm. All proceeds from this concert will go to the Fishermen's Mission which provides emergency support alongside practical, financial,spiritual, and emotional care. They help all fishermen, active or retired, and their families.

    The second concert is the ' Last Night of the Proms ' at St.Anta Church, Carbis Bay on Friday 15th September at 7:00pm, where the audience are invited to sing along with the choir to all the ' Last Night ' favourites. All proceeds from this concert will go to the Church restoration fund. It is hoped that the young musicians who played at the choir's recent concert, which raised over £1,000 for MNDA, will also play here.

    Both these concerts are always very popular so it is advisable to plan to arrive early to ensure a good seat.

 

courtesy of Emma Bungay MND Cornwall

    If you enjoy singing and would like to join a fun, vibrant choir, who sing in four part harmony, then why not come along to one of our practices which take place every Tuesday evening from 6.30 - 8.30 at Carbis Bay Wesley Methodist Church. You will be assured of a warm and friendly welcome, will not be asked to audition and subs are only £1 per week. For more information have a look at the choir website: stivescommunitychoir.org.uk or phone Malcolm on 07971 390673 or Lynda on 01736 796832. By the way, your comments are always appreciated and can be posted through the website.

 

Malcolm Donaldson (Publicity Officer)

 

And Take Me Home

Posted on 7th June, 2016

   On Monday 30th May another of our choir members sadly passed away.  Lynda Morlaine was one of the sopranos. She had finally lost her fight against cancer, leaving her husband, Christian, and son, Daniel, who had arrived from his home in Australia.

 

   The funeral took place at Hellesveor Methodist Chapel, St Ives, on the morning of Friday 3rd June. She was an staunch member of the congregation at Hellesveor, where she will also undoubtedly be sorely missed. Lynda knew where she was going and was ready to meet her Maker and Saviour.

 

   A large group from the choir attended, many with fond memories of Lynda. The church was full.  'Make me a channel of Your peace' was chosen as the opening hymn, one which suitably and aptly reflected the person that Lynda was. To close there was a resounding rendition of 'How Great Thou Art'. The second line of the last verse sums it up...'and take me home, what joy shall fill my heart'.

 

   Our thoughts and prayers are with the family. May they also find peace in their time of grief.

 

lynda_morlaine

 

 

   The choir is currently enjoying a break of several weeks. As for Lynda, akin to the chorus of that last hymn, 'then sings my soul', no doubt she continues to sing, with the best voice she ever had.

 

Now on a Higher Plane

Posted on 2nd May, 2016

 

 A number of the choir gathered with family and friends at Chy an Gweal Methodist Church, Carbis Bay, for the funeral service of Rose Buckley.  Rose was a committed member of the choir and sang in the alto section.

 

  Rose was also a committed Christian who regularly attended Chy an Gweal, where she would often lead worship. At the funeral the congregational songs were 'Amazing Grace' and 'What a friend we have in Jesus', which are a reflection and testimony of what she believed. Knowing God's grace and having Jesus as a personal friend and Saviour meant that Rose would sing such songs with confidence that gave her peace and joy. She was 'on a higher plane'.  Now her faith has taken her, literally, to a higher plane, forever with her Lord.

 

   We remember Rose with affection and miss her presence with the choir. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family.

rose_buckley
1In loving-kindness Jesus came

  My soul in mercy to reclaim,

And from the depths of sin and shame

  Through grace He lifted me.

 From sinking sand He lifted me,

With tender hand He lifted me,

From shades of night to plains of light,

  Oh, praise His name, He lifted me!

2
He called me long before I heard,

  Before my sinful heart was stirred,

But when I took Him at His word,

  Forgiv’n, He lifted me.

3
His brow was pierced with many a thorn,

  His hands by cruel nails were torn,

When from my guilt and grief, forlorn,

  In love He lifted me.

4
Now on a higher plane I dwell,

  And with my soul I know ’tis well;

Yet how or why, I cannot tell,

  He should have lifted me.

Another Year Over....

Posted on 22nd December, 2015

   Just about all of us in the choir can say, "Well, that year has gone by really quickly. In fact, they seem to be getting quicker every year!" It could be something to do with age OR it could be a reflection of how busy we have been. You may have already had a look at the '2015 in Pictures' page, newly added. This is an easy and relatively speedy way to look back over all the events we have attended in one form or another. Hopefully, this will also bring back some fond memories that we all too easily forget.

 

   Our first engagement was in January. We returned to the venue of our first annual dinner at West Cornwall Golf Club. We were invited to support The Inner Wheel as they enjoyed their dinner.

 

   Not everyone on the choir would choose to have a uniform. However, a group from the choir were invited to lead the singing at a wedding at Towednack Church and wore choir uniform.

 

   Next request was for some Cornish songs at the Guildhall, St Ives, to help with the May Day celebrations. The Tourist Board even took a video of the event. Also in May, the choir joined forces with the West of England Salvation Army Youth Band at the St Ives Citadel for a well attended concert in very warm conditions.

 

   We completed May with an outdoors event. We supported the proceedings at the launch of the latest St Ives lugger, built by Jonny Nance of the St Ives Jumbo Association. The harbour slipway provided the ideal backdrop.

   At the end of June members of the choir with a few friends performed Mr Hamilton's Lazy Days. Written and directed by choir member, Jenny Duda, this was the third play and it proved to be a great success and a great fund raiser.

 

   The following week some of the choir who were able and available were back outdoors and singing at the Towednack Church Garden Party.

 

   Practices became fortnightly for everyone, especially our very busy MD, William and Alison, our wonderful accompanist. It was not until 30th August that the choir made their next appearance. It was the Last Night of the Proms at The Newlyn Fish Festival.

 

   In September, The St Ives Jumbo Association had all their boats afloat in the bay. To help with the celebrations, the choir were invited to sing from the platt above the slipway. Not everyone could make it, but those who did gave a well received performance. Later in the month the choir accepted an invitation to lead proceedings at the St Anta, Carbis Bay, Last Night of the Proms, another regular venue for the choir. It proved to be a splendid evening, full of sound, talent and colour.

 

   With the autumn came the first ever tour of the choir. We ventured abroad; well, across the Tamar anyway, to Devon. We stayed at St Mary Church just outside Torquay and gave a concert at Paignton Methodist Church, raising over £600.00 in the process. Fund raising is a key part of our 'work' in the community and this has certainly been true of 2015.

 

   In November we fulfilled a request to join the festivities of The Old Cornwall Society in The St Ives Guildhall. As we often do on such occasions, we led the audience participatory singing as well as rendering songs from our repertoire. In the week following our talented and incredibly patient MD, William Thomas, achieved terrific success at the Camborne Music Festival. This meant that by the time we arrive at West Cornwall Golf Club for our annual choir dinner we had much to celebrate.

 

   A further five events for the Christmas period, with a number of the choir also joining the Cornish Carol choir brought the year to a triumphant end. Hopefully this chronological reminder will underline what we have achieved for our community and others, with dedication, teamwork, perseverance and talent.

   New choir members are always welcome. If you follow us on-line from a distance, God bless you and we trust you have a peaceful Christmas and a healthy New Year.

  

  

  

Self Reliance and Interdependence

Posted on 28th October, 2015

   After spending just a few minutes via a search engine, I easily found articles about singing in a choir. The trouble is, once you find someone else's writing you can't use that yourself. I spent a lot of time explaining plagarism to my students when they were doing coursework for GCSE.

 

   My own thinking is currently surrounding the fact that all choirs have some members who are more confident than others. They may be able to read music, understand the theory of music, have a louder voice, seem to learn their part more readily. The choir relies on them leading their section. This may be a formalised role or one that has simply evolved in the life of the choir. It is more likely when the choir is for anyone who wants to enjoy singing together, where there are no auditions.

 

   I looked for advice from other blogs about relying on others within the choir, or your section of it. Equally, I was interested in the ones being relied upon. Should they sing more loudly so the notes are heard? Would this create an imbalance in the overall sound? Should they sing more quietly to draw out more from others? Certain pressures occur both ways.

 

   I am not sure there is a simple answer. Some folks are daunted by the standard set by 'the better singers', while others like to have someone else taking greater responsibility so that they can get what they came for; enjoyment. We have a lot of concerts coming up in a short space of time. Not everyone can make every event. Sometimes key singers will be missing. It is important that we all do what we can to enhance the experience for the choir as a whole and each individual within the audiences that listen to us.

 

   With this in mind I leave you with my top ten tips for enjoying practices and concerts. They are not particularly enlightening. Many of you would probably come up with something similar. At least I have not copied them from anyone else off the Internet. I hope you find them useful.

  1. Commit to the practices
  2. Try to be available for any concerts
  3. Organise your music folder to find pieces quickly
  4. Learn the words to each song
  5. Learn your part thoroughly, the notes, the timing
  6. Watch the conductor
  7. Learn from more talented choir members
  8. Practice at home using technology
  9. Sing your part at home once learned
  10. Avoid making the same mistakes over and over

Let's get ready

Posted on 29th June, 2015

   A month has passed very quickly without a single practice and on Saturday there is a concert! One which I will not be able to attend. Breaks in routines are good and "a rest is as good as a change", as Tezza informed wife Babs in the play. Our break will extend a further two weeks. The voice will be a little rusty, maybe even fusty, but it is important not to let the break become a new way of life.

For those of you in the choir who are not on holiday, you'll need to hit the ground running at Tuesday's practice tomorrow. While there is a possibility that we may not think of you between 6:30 and 8:30pm tomorrow, I am right now. Let's hope everyone who can, will attend and be rearing to sing.

While breaks can be good, they can mean that some fall by the wayside. Let's encourage each other to get right back into it and enjoy all the benefits our choir has to offer.

Welcome back to William and Tricia. We trust you had a resorative and revitalising time too. I know William has some very fishy tales to tell.

Performance Plateau

Posted on 22nd May, 2015

   Over the last few months the choir has set the goal of singing our repertoire from memory. To be a little more precise, the choir members rely solely on the musical director should their memories fail them.  At first there was quite a degree of resistance, but with several concerts behind us, confidence is growing.  We can certainly see the improvement that comes from having our eyes on the conductor.  Also, with our heads up, our sound has become richer.

 

   One of our songs is "Without Music", which is rather ironic. Sometimes, when we sing without music, we think we know our parts well enough, only to discover that we stray from the exact notes as written.  What we sing might fit and sound OK, but it is still wrong.  The challenge is to return to the music and re-discover the correct notes.  Many of our songs require much page turning during the learning stage, for as long as we need the music.  An interim stage to memorising everything is to have the whole piece, words only, on one sheet of A4. This is even colour coded to show who sings what. Ultimately, we just have to spend time learning everything.

 

   This leads to the strong possibility of a plateau in performance, borne out of a degree of familiarity.  Every performer or team hits a plateau in performance.  It is important that we press on and not become discouraged, bored, falsely content or complacent.  The key is self belief that we are capable on the one hand and willing on the other. 

 

   Let's give it our best shot, keep working and see a break through to even better performance.

Virgin London Marathon

Posted on 2nd April, 2015

Probably many of you know that I am running the London Marathon this year. Did you realise that is now just over 3 weeks away? Training continues, but, due to a knee injury (a bit of patella tendinitis) I am rather short of long runs. I managed 14 miles on mountain tracks in Lanzarote, but little else during that week. Currently I am able to 'run' on the cross trainer in the gym. A two hour session on Monday produced 16 miles and a full marathon distance in 3hrs 28mins on Friday.  But the roads, especially when there are downhill sections, cause problems. It's difficult to run far in Cornwall without encountering a hill or two!

 

William has often remarked that running and singing are, in some ways, similar disciplines. You have to train, but be careful not to over do it. Make sure you warm up before hand. To be performance fit you have to do a lot of repetitive training to create muscle memory and reach your peak at the right time.

 

It is a while since I have practised with the choir, which makes me feel I am somewhat out of the flow. But what a privilege to be part of a choir that is asked to sing at the funeral of Frank Thomas Rawlings on Tuesday 7th April. What an opportunity to help in a small way as the family bear their grief.

 

A lack of road miles also makes me feel under prepared for the Virgin London Marathon. But I have a much prized place and will count it a privilege to be on the start line on Sunday 26th April.

 

I am running with Hayle Runners as a proud member of that group. I am also running to raise funds for the charity I have directed and guided since 1998. Sporting Chance International is close to my heart. I hope you will consider helping me to get around the course to its finish line, whatever my knee feels like.

 

I have a fund raising page online: https://www.justgiving.com/AlanThomasSCI or you can simply pass any sponsorship / donations to me or Lesley any time.  Together we can get me over the line and every penny raised will go directly to Kenya.

 

I hope to see you all on Tuesday where we can make a difference with our hearts and voices raised in memory of Frank.

 

Alan