Ok, so everybody's doing Education and Outreach things these days, its clearly the 'thing to do'. I've always had a strong interest in youth education and was a keen member of and leader within the Guide Association from 0-18 years! However, I've never been able to turn my hand to specific arts and music education.
But then, a new opportunity came up at college and I just couldn't say no. We will be going into local schools in groups of 4 or 5 with composer and educator Kate Pearson, devising a new opera titled 'Into The Labyrinth'. It will be performed by the studentsin the RNCM's Opera Theatre in early November.
To say I'm excited to get stuck in and try something new would be a gross understatement, I can't wait!
So I did a last minute cover gig on Saturday singing Possession and On The Road by Ethel Smyth. This was the final part of the Working Class Movement Library's Centenary celebration of Ethel Carnie Holdsworth (working class novelist, poet and - in this case - lyricist.)
I only caught the end of the discussion as my performance was the last of the day, but it really struck me how little we research lyricists. Well, me at least. We research the poetry we're singing and work out what it means for us, what it means for the composer (who we've no doubt also researched) and how those two meanings come together to produce a cohesive performance. But it's rare for me to put too much effort into researching the lyricist. So unless its someone with whom I'm already familiar, I might know nothing whatsoever!
Given this conference was all about the lyricist, I thought I'd do a little research. What I found was extraordinarily interesting, much of Carnie's work was highly influential in the Women's Rights movement and in promoting the work of the Working Class, particularly of women. This gave me a whole host of other ideas for my performance that I hadn't considered previously, and has certainly influenced how I will look at lyricists in the future.