Pirates of Penzance
We ended an amazing June and launched a slightly less busy July with our pop-up Pirates of Penzance. What a weekend! It takes a good dose of courage even to sign up take part in the project, and buckets-full to arrive and follow it through. Nearly forty adults prepared to give up a summer weekend to work very hard to put on an instant and very entertaining show.
When I was getting going with music things as a teenager, I was rather snooty about G and S. Maybe I was put off by the performance I was taken to as a child. In my memory it was terribly long, boring and full of screechy women. There were the songs we had to learn in school choir - including Poor Wand’ring One, in order to bolster some G and S concert - more screechy women. There was the occasional orchestral experience - being passed a couple of polo mints by a bassoonist just before two pages of non-stop playing, or the wig which fell from a cast-member onto my head during a difficult bit. I enjoyed playing for “The Sorcerer” at university, but put G and S into the not-me category for years.
Then, when Felton Music was just getting going a few people said they’d fancy returning to their G and S glory days, and, with lots of input from Chris Jones the concept of the instant show emerged, with the Mikado in 2016. It would be a way of afficianados getting their fix, and a fun project for all. This year has made it clear that we’ve got the capability to put on a thoroughly rehearsed show really well, but hardly anyone has the time, so we’ll pop up again in 2018.
I’ve found it all tremendously enjoyable. The more I get into Sullivan’s music, the more I value it. Glorious tunes, and all eminently singable. Scoring the music for our resident band means one really gets to know each piece, and I’m beginning to get a feel for how Sullivan’s harmony works. Yes, lots of tumti-tum, but that allows the words through - and now I find them so funny.
Of course, the main pleasure is working with everyone involved. Those intoxicating qualities of commitment, creativity, collaboration, stepping-forwardness, good humour and generosity of spirit energise everyone. Even the electricity had to good manners to spark back into life when we were ready to start on the Saturday.
It’s been fun for me to do the directing bit. That’s something I did little of in previous existences. Very good for the waist-line too. Easier this time with a larger, sturdier music stand - I’ve bought one for myself and one for Felton Music as well so pianists using the big keyboard at the Village Hall are at less risk of the music capsizing.
I’ve learned a lot from these two G and S celebrations, and look forward tremendously to next year’s - whichever it is. Meanwhile, it’s back to business with a Felton Music Saturday coming up and the end of term Instant-Irish-Evening on Tuesday. I look forward to seeing people there - and at Felton Fair.