500 Voices at the Barbican

March was a very busy month for me. Aside from the usual Monday night choir rehearsals, I’d managed to book something almost every evening as a way to distract myself from the political shambles that is Brexit, which we all know was due to happen at the end of the month. It seems to have done the trick because it’s now April and nothing seems to have changed

Ha.

Anyway, for me, March consisted of a choir performance with Kensington Singers where I had a solo 😱, going to a couple of recordings of QI (one of which was the Christmas special – I know, this is March), watching some films from the Banff film festival, dinners out, a comedy night, joining the Put It To The People March, working on 6 Music Festival as a video publisher, trying out the Pandemonium Drummers, and somehow I still managed to fit in 8 evenings for a pop-up volunteer choir to perform a piece called the public domain by David Lang.

Wow, that was a long sentence. I said I was busy!

I heard about the opportunity to sing at this special event from my conductor at Kensington Singers, who had posted a link to it on my choir’s Facebook page back in December. The sign-up page looked like this:

Be part of something big this spring, as 500 people from all walks of life come together for a once-in a lifetime performance at the Barbican Centre.

Whether you’re a first-time singer or regular choir member, the London Symphony Orchestra and Choral Director Simon Halsey are inviting you to join over 500 people from across London to perform the UK premiere of David Lang’s the public domain. As a vocalist you’ll sing, whisper and chant together under the guidance of a dedicated vocal leader, telling a story through sound and movement and drawing together shared experiences into an exhilarating and exciting performance.

The three groups will then come together for two final rehearsals, before the piece is performed live in the Barbican foyers on 24 March 2019 as part of a London Symphony Orchestra performance.

I couldn’t quite imagine what it would sound like, but it seemed like an exciting opportunity, so I signed up! There were different rehearsal groups that we could sign up for: I picked the group that rehearsed on Tuesdays and Thursdays because that fitted best with my schedule.

Continue reading “500 Voices at the Barbican”

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Cosmonauts

I went on a spontaneous trip to the Science Museum yesterday to look at the Cosmonauts exhibition. I’ve always been a fan of space: my favourite book as a child was the DK Guide to Space; at the time I wanted to be an astronomer (strangely not an astronaut – I wanted to keep my feet on the ground), but then I realised that that should be more of a hobby than a career, so I went into computing instead.

The interest in space never really faded though. In 2012 while I was working at STFC, I helped out at their stargazing event for families. I operated the ‘Magic Planet’ – a spherical projector which would display the surface of planets and moons in the solar system at the click of a button. It fascinated adults and children alike, and inspired them to make comments like “That’s not Saturn, there aren’t any rings”, “That’s not how Uranus spins” and “Jupiter’s not supposed to be that blue”. I was able to answer most of the questions that were asked, reeling off facts I learned from another childhood book about the solar system.

A few years on from there and I’m now living in London, with the aim of getting cultured whenever possible. Yesterday was no exception.

The Cosmonauts exhibition ran at the Science Museum ran from September 2015 and today was its last day. It was focussed on the Russian side of the space race. I’d always thought that the Americans putting man on the moon in 1969 was the biggest feat, but the Russians had done so much more before that which kind of belittles the whole ‘Man on the Moon’ thing. It wasn’t a huge exhibition, but I somehow managed to stay there for 2 hours.

Here are a few photos with a bunch of interesting facts I learned along the way. Continue reading “Cosmonauts”

yellowbluepink

Last week I went to London with a few of my flatmates from first year. It was Halloween and we wanted to do something a little different. The first thing we did was visit the ‘yellowbluepink‘ installation at the Wellcome Collection, right next to Euston station.

It was a fairly large room filled with dense fog, lit in 3 colours. When we entered, the fog was thick but you could see the floor, ceiling and people from around 5m away.

Continue reading “yellowbluepink”