During my two years at Guildhall I was mainly focusing on developing my skills as a flute player. However, since I arrived in Montserrat it has been my piano skills that have been central to the job.
In December I had the great pleasure of accompanying international opera singer Abigail Kelly in a fundraising concert for St. Augustine Primary School. It turned out to be a fantastic event incredibly well received by a packed audience of both locals and expats.
I really enjoyed the challenge of learning some extremely tricky piano music and accompanying a fantastic singer. I’ve been playing a lot by ear recently and so it was nice to get stuck back in to some difficult note learning! (In particular some Jamaican folk songs that had been arranged in a fiendishly difficult manner. Far more challenging than any of the operatic arias).
Playing by ear is a skill that I have been forced to improve since being here, and I’m glad I did! During the encore I realised that all the pages were in the completely wrong order, but I was able to abandon the music and play by ear, something I would not have been able to do half as well a few months ago!
A note from Abigail:
I had the most wonderful performing experience in Montserrat in December of last year when invited to perform a fund raising recital at Look Out Roman Catholic church. I was particularly impressed by not only the skilled organisational forces of Dr Barnes and Mrs Watts but also by my accompanist Rebecca Chalmers. Some of the pieces which I had chosen for the recital were very complex. The most demanding were the arrangements of Jamaican folk songs which I like to describe as mini virtuosic piano sonatas accompanied by voice. I was so impressed by Becky’s ability to get to grips with these pieces especially as piano is not her first instrument (flute being her primary). The practice, effort and dedication that she gave to these pieces especially made me feel reassured during both the rehearsal period and the concert. I would be very happy to perform again with Becky and hope to do so in the future.
I also prepared the St. Augustine school Glee Club to perform two songs at the concert.. A few pics…