Advent Already!

So, where has all the time gone since my last blog? It was July….I have had quite a busy time since then. I did manage to have a good break on holiday this year which was very much needed, but since getting back it’s been a bit of a roller coaster ride. My concerts have been varied – it began at Hampton Court Palace, then a World War One commemoration concert at Huddersfield Town Hall with the massed voices of Altrincham Choral Society, Chesterfield Philharmonic Choir, Honley Male Voice Choir and Unlimited Voices – an amazing sound and a delight to see all my choirs on the same stage at the same time. October got quite busy with trips to Belfast, Prague and Venice! Belfast hosted the annual conference of The British and International Federation of Festivals for Music, Dance and Speech and I was privileged and humbled to be voted in as the Chairman of The Federation. Prague was next and I was able to conduct in some fabulous places, including the Military Chapel in Prague Castle, where we were privileged to hear the military prayer read by the Chaplain. Venice next and my visit happened to coincide with the Venetian Marathon – needless to say I enjoyed not taking part, but was nevertheless inspired by those who took part and their amazing stamina!

November saw some terrific concerts – Messiah in Chesterfield, the first performance of The Poppies Blow with Altrincham Choral Society and we were delighted to be joined by Stockport Youth Orchestra and Bowdon Preparatory School Girls Choir. Two lunchtime recitals in St Paul’s Cathedral in London, my final Festivals of 2014 in Colne and Fleetwood and a lovely lunch with the Lady Taverners at Chester Racecourse.

It’s been a busy, yet rewarding time and I have even managed to catch up with an old friend and met someone from my schooldays, which was a lovely surprise. So, tomorrow is 1st December and as for many musicians it is a busy time so I expect it will be the New Year before you hear from me again! So, have a happy time and enjoy one or two mince pies!

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A Lovely Day!

My, my….what a busy time I have been having! A day off today, but I shall be celebrating the wedding of a very dear friend this evening! It always surprises me the twists and turns in our lives, the opportunities that come along that we must grab at all costs……but perhaps the most valuable lesson I have learnt recently is to value friendships! Real friendship is timeless, there are no expectations, no pressures, they just are…..and even when we think we have let far too much time pass since we last got in touch….make the effort!

I have been lucky to have some wonderful opportunities lately, especially the many varied concerts I have conducted and the wonderful people that have been on this journey with me! Of course my last blog announced the honour of becoming patron of the EnRich charity….although given the opportunity to think about the request, it actually required no thinking at all. Richard Tolson was a former student of mine who went on to become a colleague. Those who knew him, will agree that he was an inspiration, always smiling, always supportive, always there for you and always nice! He was honest, talented, full of integrity, kind, generous and a great person to be around and was always interested in what you were doing. I haven’t mentioned any of his skills as a musician, great as they were, but it was his manner and enthusiasm that never failed to impress those whom he met. I had the utmost respect for Rich and feel privileged to be able to remain to be a small part of his life, his family and his friends and am very proud to support EnRich.

I have also done quite a bit of travelling lately and as an adjudicator I really do get to hear some wonderful talent and the work of the many festivals that I am fortunate to attend deserve every credit for continuing to provide a platform for performance in so many ways. Truly the work of this dedicated group of volunteers is outstanding and long may it thrive.

Every time I look at my diary….I think oh my I’m busy….then just realise how lucky I am to be doing what I enjoy! The many varied facets of my life centre around music making, but of late some interesting turns have taken place which have seen me back in University…..teaching no less and perhaps the opportunity of renewing my love of contemporary dance….but more about that another time!

The other thing that strikes me every time I travel is how beautiful this country is and how privileged we are to have such amazing heritage and dare I say, it’s always more beautiful when the sun is shining!

So, still a few more rehearsals to do before a little break, but I really would like to thank everyone for all the enjoyment and music making we have done together! Have a great weekend everyone and maybe I will try and blog a little more frequently in future…but don’t count on it!

EnRich! – Feel very proud and humbled today!

Over the next few days we have some very exciting news which we cannot wait to share with you…
EnRich Trustees are delighted to announce Mr Steven Roberts – a man with a wealth of experience in music and in the wider performing arts – as one of the Charity’s Patrons.
Steven is Conductor and Musical Director of Altrincham Choral Society, Chesterfield Philharmonic Choir, Honley Male Voice Choir and Sing and Discover. He is also an adjudicator member of The British and International Federation of Festivals and regularly adjudicates throughout the UK.
Before 2006, Steven also worked at Barnsley College and during 17 years at the College he held a number of posts including Head of Performing Arts and Music, Head of Quality and Director of External Relations. As a result of his time there he knew Rich T well. He said: “I am honoured to be asked to be a Patron of this wonderful Charity which will help support Barnsley people who love the performing and creative arts. Richard was a kind and a very special person and I am sure he would be very proud to know this charity has been created in his name”.
During his career Steven has also been conductor of Dodworth and Skelmanthorpe Male Voice Choirs, the Allendale Chamber Orchestra, the Liverpool Welsh Choral Union, Sing Live UK and The Huddersfield Choral Society. He has worked with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Jose Carreras, Lesley Garrett CBE and has also been chorus master working with the Hallé Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for concerts with the reformed ELO.
Alongside his choral work he has conducted the Manchester Philharmonic, Derbyshire Sinfonia, the National Festival Orchestra, the Yorkshire Wind Orchestra, Black Dyke Band and a variety of other bands and ensembles.
He has conducted at the Royal Albert Hall, London and has also in many international, sacred settings including St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City and Montecassino. He became a Life Member of the Royal Philharmonic Society in November 2013 and is proud to be a member of The Lords Taverners. He is also very proud to be Guest Conductor for the amazing Barnsley Youth Choir.
Steven said: “I can find myself travelling all over the world for my work and as an EnRich Patron I will be doing my best to raise the profile of the Charity; to help its success for the people of Barnsley and to ensure Rich T’s legacy lives on”.
Further information is available on Steven’s website: http://www.stevenroberts.net/index.php
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Photo: Over the next few days we have some very exciting news which we cannot wait to share with you…
EnRich Trustees are delighted to announce Mr Steven Roberts - a man with a wealth of experience in music and in the wider performing arts - as one of the Charity’s Patrons.
Steven is Conductor and Musical Director of Altrincham Choral Society, Chesterfield Philharmonic Choir, Honley Male Voice Choir and Sing and Discover. He is also an adjudicator member of The British and International Federation of Festivals and regularly adjudicates throughout the UK.
Before 2006, Steven also worked at Barnsley College and during 17 years at the College he held a number of posts including Head of Performing Arts and Music, Head of Quality and Director of External Relations. As a result of his time there he knew Rich T well. He said: “I am honoured to be asked to be a Patron of this wonderful Charity which will help support Barnsley people who love the performing and creative arts. Richard was a kind and a very special person and I am sure he would be very proud to know this charity has been created in his name”.
During his career Steven has also been conductor of Dodworth and Skelmanthorpe Male Voice Choirs, the Allendale Chamber Orchestra, the Liverpool Welsh Choral Union, Sing Live UK and The Huddersfield Choral Society. He has worked with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Jose Carreras, Lesley Garrett CBE and has also been chorus master working with the Hallé Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for concerts with the reformed ELO.
Alongside his choral work he has conducted the Manchester Philharmonic, Derbyshire Sinfonia, the National Festival Orchestra, the Yorkshire Wind Orchestra, Black Dyke Band and a variety of other bands and ensembles.
He has conducted at the Royal Albert Hall, London and has also in many international, sacred settings including St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City and Montecassino. He became a Life Member of the Royal Philharmonic Society in November 2013 and is proud to be a member of The Lords Taverners. He is also very proud to be Guest Conductor for the amazing Barnsley Youth Choir.
Steven said: “I can find myself travelling all over the world for my work and as an EnRich Patron I will be doing my best to raise the profile of the Charity; to help its success for the people of Barnsley and to ensure Rich T’s legacy lives on”.
Further information is available on Steven’s website: http://www.stevenroberts.net/index.php

 

A Day Off!

Well, today I am having a rest! Yes, a day off! It doesn’t happen very often, so I am going to enjoy it. It has been an eventful month since my last blog. One of the highlights was performing in Montecassino as part of a very special Mass. It was great to catch up with a friend at the performance of his musical Miss Nightingale, which if you see it advertised anywhere, it is not to be missed! Interesting too to find out that I was booked into two hotels, on the same night and under the same name – will the ‘real’ steven roberts step forward. I have also had some great rehearsals and appreciate everyday just how lucky I am to be able to do what I love.  I have also taken part in a little bit of strategic planning, which brought back memories of my days at Barnsley College and realising I actually quite like ‘admin’ based work! Not right for a creative person – but hey ho!! Had a great evening raising money to support young singers and then a great day exploring the music of Karl Jenkins. My moment of the week, to quote This Week’s Andrew Neil was the moving tribute to Stephen Sutton by his headteacher. “We want to be better people, because of Stephen.” If only we could all live our lives in such a way. None of us know what lies around the corner and we should cherish every moment allowed to us. So, that’s it for now, as I am not very good at this, but will aim to do better. Enjoy the sunshine everyone.

Good Friday!

So, I failed again at this blogging lark! But at least I am still here and determined to say something. It’s been a great 6 weeks – two very successful concerts, adjudicating in Hastings and Coleraine, a fabulous trip to Barcelona, lots of rehearsals, meeting up with old friends and lots of new projects to look forward to and of course the obligatory catch up on all my favourite TV shows! Really enjoyed the final of The Voice and am now firmly into BGT! But this weekend is one of reflection and relaxation, so that’s just what I intend to do and I hope you are all doing the same. Have a very Happy Easter everyone!

Almost a month!

So what happened to the once a week blog? It’s not as easy as they say it is…but, here I am ready to ramble again. It’s been quite a busy time since I last posted – a concert at the fabulous Liverpool Philharmonic Hall and the equally fabulous Bridgewater Hall in Manchester. The usual round of rehearsals! Some great adjudicating and at two very friendly Festivals….and a few other bits and pieces thrown in for good measure! It was nice to catch up on a bit of TV – namely The Voice UK and the final of Dancing on Ice – Ray Quinn just had to win! Oh, and watched Gravity too – undecided really, but a good film! So, it’s another busy week with lots of variety and new challenges….but the sun is shining and everyone feels good when the sun is out! So, have a good week and I promise (well, will try) to chat next week! Bye for now!

Happy Valentines Day!

Well, it’s been a busy time since I last blogged – rehearsals, adjudicating, arranging, more rehearsals, an odd infection from trapping my thumb in a gate (ouch!) which meant a visit or two to the hospital, more rehearsals and some very strange weather! Phew …I think I need a lie down now. Well, I am conducting at the Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool tomorrow and very much looking forward to it. It’s such a great feeling to be able to do what you enjoy and I get to do that a lot! No strange dreams of late and no quizzies, so all in all a quiet time, well if you can call the above quiet. And finally did you know that Saint Valentinus died in Rome on this day!