Monday, 24 March 2014

Stafford Sinfonia - Spring Seranade Concert 22nd March 2014

It was a huge pleasure to be asked by my good friend Miranda Sadek (and player in the second Violins) to come along to the Stafford Sinfonia Spring Concert which took place at the Rising Brook Baptist Church, Stafford on the 22nd March at 7:30pm.

Rising Brook Baptist Church, Stafford.

I sat in the first row beside Particia Wurtz (who normally also plays in the Sinfonia) of the packed out Stafford Church. To my amazement I spotted a few under 5's, one little boy who sat close to the orchestra was decked out in his Pj's and blue spiderman slippers. As the orchestra started to play I watched the boy who seemed entranced and totally mesmorised by the sound of all the instruments. I must admit that I too was totally submerged into the glorious music. Many of the Sinfonia players are family members like Miranda and her mother who are in the photo below. The orchestra also includes the conductor's wife: Marie Wade - percussion and son and professional violinist Richard Wade.

Miranda (2nd Violin) and Patricia (1st violin) at the interval

The orchestra is made up by amateur and professional musicians. The ages range from the early 20's to the mid 80's! The Orchestra is lead by Mandy Hallam who is a professional Violinist and graduate from the Birmingham Conservatoire. The conductor and Director of music of the Sinfonia is the  Darrell Wade, an accomplished musician of considerable weight having been a violinist in the Royal Opera Orchestra. He has also taught many of the violinists in the orchestra including the leader.

The concert opened with the Cenorentola overture which was played with an assured strong and exciting orchestral sound. It made me happy to see how much each orchestral player as well as the conductor was enjoying making music. The soloists of the evening was Mandy Hallem who played Beethoven's Romance in F for violin with great feeling.

Wendy Hallam - Leaching the orchestra

Wendy Bufton - Flute and the self taught Robert Downing - oboe played Holst's Fugal concerto with much playfulness and joy. The highlight of the evening was Schubert's Symphony Number 3 in D.

Miranda Sadeck and leader of the 2nd Violins Jamie Parkes

A thoroughly enjoyable evening of music. Stafford Sinfonia next performs at the Baptist Church on the 28th June 2014.

   Conductor Darrell Wade and the Stafford Sinfonia

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Shira - my new little addition

After 10 years of wait Shira my new little Chihuaha has arrived. Due to so much travel with all my concerts and operas my family bid me not to have a dog (as they knew they would be the one's looking after her when I'm away.) Two days before my 31st birthday I decided that the time was right for me to have a little bundle of joy - Shira. Now met and greeted my family adore Shira and she is the diamond in the Raval family tiara!

Shira and I on her second day with me as her mummy. Shira is 8 weeks old.

Shira came from a litter of 4 - two boys and two girls. Her mother is a long haired black and tan Chihuahua and her father is a short haired black and white Chihuahua. When I came to view the pups in Devon there were just the two boys and Shira left. 

 Shira curled up on the right with her two brothers

I was lucky that when I decided Shira was the one for me, my cousin and Veterinary surgeon Roshni was right there with me checking her out. I was glad to hear that she is very healthy. The next day we all went to the surgery where Roshni Administered her first Injections and microchip.

Shira getting her first Vaccinations by Roshni

Once injected we were on the long journey back to Staffordshire. I put her in a crate with fluffy toys and chews and soft towels. She was very good - whimpering a bit but then she soon fell asleep.

Shira in her crate

These past three weeks Shira has been an absolute star. She is now a seasoned traveler having done hundreds of miles in my car already. Last weekend my family and I all decided to climb to the top of Rodney's Pillar in Wales - she did it! She probably walked 2 miles out of the the 6 and she was so assured. I am now training her on the leash (this is taking a little time) and teaching her the commands sit and come which she has almost mastered. I am hoping that by the time I fly off to Luxembourg in a couple of months she will be fully potty trained and know the simple commands so that my lovely mummy can take care of her for a few days whilst I am away. 

Shira at 10 weeks watching me have my photoshoot

Shira being part of my photoshoot

Shira posing in the car

Shira at 11 weeks socialising with her new friends Johnny the Cav x Bischion and Goldie the Cocker Spaniel

Monday, 17 March 2014

New Georgian Opera


Monday 15th March 2014

New Georgian Opera

The Bringing together of Opera and Great British Historic Buildings...

Well we finally set it up! My best friend and Counter Tenor Oliver Gerrish and I launch our opera venture - New Georgian Opera on the 3rd of May 2014. We met in 1999 at the Eton Choral Course although I must admit I couldn't really remember him as I was far to busy being studious whilst he was having fun with the boys which included the wonderful Tenor and now world famous actor Eddie Redmayne. However our lives met with a bang in 2001 as we became the best of friends during our time studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. During our first year at GSMD Oliver became president of the Young Georgians - of which I am a founder member. The Young Georgians is part of the Georgian Group which exists to preserve Georgian buildings and heritage. We decided to put together our love of architecture and Opera in our NGO venture. We look to bring opera to Great British buildings and to help bring attention to those historic buildings in need of some saving. 

Oliver and I at Sutton Scarsdale Hall - the finest Baroque ruin of a beautiful Georgian palatial home in Derbyshire.

Both Oliver and I are from the Midlands - I from Staffordshire and Oliver from Derbyshire. Thus it was decided that our first NGO concert would be held at the Grand Pavillion - Matlock Bath to help raise money and awareness to this building in need of some TLC. The Pav as it is lovingly known by the locals-  (partly named as it was used as a nightclub in former years) was once a grand Edwardian Pleasure Palace with its huge hall and proscenium arch stage. Even in its current condition it is host to many shows, however our concert "A Night At The Opera" will be the first opera act to performed there in decades. 

All Proceeds shall go to the Grand Pavillion and the Derbyshire Historic buildings Trust.

Sutton Scarsdale Hall

Hardwick Hall - Derbyshire

My little angel Shira who came along to our photoshoot.