|Posted by bradwellbugle on March 12, 2012 at 6:05 AM||comments (0)|
The annual Festival of Song, now in its tenth year, takes place on Saturday 28th April at St Peter's-on-the-Wall by Bradwell.
The chapel rings with harmonies each year as two popular Natural Voice teachers return with songs and rhythms from around the world.
Sarah Pennington and Gilo are well known for the humour and sense of fun they bring to song workshops – and the high quality of sound they reach with people who have perhaps come together to sing for the first time.
They love working with whole communities – rather than just choirs – and have worked with up to 500 people in large national gatherings.
You don’t need to read music or even think of yourself as a ‘singer’ to take part! Just bring your voice, and a bottle of water to keep your vocal chords moist, and let these remarkable teachers blend everyone into a cathedral of living sound for the day.
There’ll be a variety of song styles and traditions represented – in past years the Festival has visited songs from as far afield as the Ituri rainforest, with rhythms that have got everyone dancing and pulsating.
This year promises to be the same, with a mix of gospel, tribal, sacred, and some funky barbershop chords. There’ll be about 40 singers resident for the whole weekend, but the Saturday is open to local participants who’d like to sing their socks off and learn some great songs.
Workshops start at 10.30am and go on until 5pm with coffee breaks and meals and time to walk some of the sea wall near the chapel. Some people stay on through the evening for a candle lit session and the chapel is bathed in the warm light of a hundred nightlights to create a peaceful atmosphere for gentler singing.
Meals and refreshments are included in cost: £30 with lunch. £36 with lunch & supper. Concessionary rates are available.
Participants are asked to book a place through the Othona Community:
Email: [email protected] or ring Gail on 01621 776564
|Posted by bradwellbugle on January 7, 2010 at 7:19 AM||comments (0)|
A friend once bestowed upon me words of wisdom I will never forget. He said: “friends come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime”, which rang especially true for me after starting fresh in two different countries over the past seven years. After moving from Canada to Australia for nearly five years and eventually making my way to the UK, I was quickly reminded of how valuable true friendship really is. In what seems like a short period of time, my two years in London have been filled with all of the typical critical life events-- including dramatic break-ups, subsequent heartache, employment loss, and the consequential periods of insolvency that on more than one occasion inspired me bury my head under the covers until a new day started. And whether sick with the flu, or crying over a boy who made me blue, there was only so much support I could expect with my parents and closest friends living in a different part of the world. Circumstances like these not only made me value the wonderful role my cherished friends and family play in my life but also helped me recognise how important it is to make an effort with new friends I found along the way. Whatever the reason, we all need at least one wholesome, high-quality friend we can rely on to be there in times of need, whatever the worst case may be. Friendship is so vital that we even find it included in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as part of a top-three under the love/ belonging category. In acknowledging the establishment of reliable friendships as a necessary priority, examining the meaning of a ‘fair-weather friend’ is a helpful first step in finding the most suitable people to fulfil our friendship requirements. In essence, nothing teaches us more about what we need than recognising that which we don’t need.
So what exactly is a ‘fair-weather friend’… and how best can we avoid them? Metaphorically speaking, a fair-weather friend is exactly as the term suggests: someone who is only around when ‘skies are blue and the sun is shining’. Taken out of a figurative context, this simply means that a fair-weather friend is happy to participate in the effortless good times but when the going-gets-tough this same person becomes harder to find than Osama bin Laden. One of my own examples of a ‘friendshit’ downpour includes a two week battle with the flu, where my ‘friend’ sent me an email claiming she was “sorry for not being there” when I was unwell, but that truth be told she “doesn’t do sick”. The question of whether this admission is entirely horrible comes down to one basic fundament: Expectation. The difficulty lies in the fact that we all have different expectations where friendship is concerned and it’s not unreasonable to anticipate the same quality of attention from our friends as we are willing to contribute to these all-important and special relationships. Granted, if you happen to be a free-flying social butterfly and enjoy having a billion acquaintances, lots of so-so friends and a handful of true-blue buddies, then this might not be a problem for you. However, if you are more of a social energy conserver with a lifestyle that only permits you to invest a small, but concentrated amount of time on friends, then getting it right in the buddy department is that much more important. There’s no sense in wasting valuable time on people who are only in it for the pluses and perks but ‘make like Houdini’ and disappear when needed most. Although we can’t always predict when a friend might disappointingly fall into the fair-weather category, by turning our minds to two basic questions we can avoid being ‘unfairly-weathered’ ourselves and hope that ‘like’ really does attract ‘like’…
· What do I expect from a friend?
· What kind of friend am I?
Quite simply, the two answers should practically be identical, and if not then perhaps it’s not only time to re-evaluate the friendships we are spending (or not spending) our time on but also reflect upon our treatment of those friends we depend on and turn to during tough times.
As a current example, identifying true friends seems especially important now considering the recent credit crunch that has everyone treading on shaky ground in some form or another. With a drastically changing economic climate comes a potential increase in social storms as we begin to depend on our friends for so much more than their usual sage advice. But looking on the bright side, this hard time provides an opportunity to not only reassess our financial investments but also encourages us to re-examine our ‘people investments’. Whether the trouble is financial – such as the loss of a job, or personal – like a painful break-up or divorce, adversity plays a key role in discovering who our friends really are and whether we might be wasting valuable time on high-risk/ low return relationships. It is equally important to choose new friends carefully and not rush into full disclosure about every detail of our lives. People are not always as they initially seem and waking up to sunshine is no guarantee it won’t rain by early afternoon… especially in a city like London. Taking things slow with a new acquaintance is wise and should involve the same caution executed when getting to know a new love interest. In fact, we might consider taking things that much slower, as romantic relationships come and go but ideally our friends will linger for the long haul.
At the end of the day, in both good times and bad, close friends serve as one of the greatest investments we will make in our lifetime and as such they are well worth the effort. The fact that there isn’t a Hallmark day devoted strictly to the celebration of friendship the way Valentine’s Day showcases love, simply means that everyday presents an opportunity to nurture our platonic pals. It takes little more than a quick five minute phone call or even better, a good old-fashioned handwritten note or card, thanking even one friend a day for enriching our lives. Showing a bit of gratitude is a healthy way to protect our social stock and ensure that our friendship supply remains plentiful for when we need this support the most. Life throws many curve balls and dodging these might feel like a full time chore; but bear in mind that once the dust settles we are sometimes forced to take inventory to discover which of our friends are still standing beside us… and the best ones stick around to help clean-up the fallout.
|Posted by bradwellbugle on May 6, 2009 at 12:22 PM||comments (1)|
That's the time when I pop down to the newsagent down the street and pick up the local paper.
I flick through it quickly in the store, take it home and devour it at a more leisurely pace as I eat my Cornflakes.
Like the Sunday papers, the local paper has always been an important, habitual part of my adult life.
It's a thrill to see your friends smiling down at you from the pages, celebrating an anniversary, maybe getting married, or having achieved
It's also interesting to see what your neighbours and people you know are up to - are they planning work on their home, have they been up in court for something or are they up in arms about some proposal or the other?
Also, of course, there's the public service the local paper provides - keeping you in the frame over what the local council and businesses are planning and letting you know the latest in BMDs (births, deaths and marriages).
And then there's the chance to pick up a veritable local bargain from the array of classified and display adverts.
But now this valuable source of local news, entertainment, buys and services is under threat as never before.
As The Guardian newspaper so succinctly put it recently: 'For the first time since the Enlightenment, large communities face the prospect of muddling through without any verifiable source of news...their potential disappearance should be a matter of some public alarm.'
Indeed it should - we need a thriving local Press, it is as much a part of the local community as the local police bobby or the library or town hall.
In the 1960s our local railways suffered a similar nightmare of decimation - with local branch lines and service lost for good after the report of axeman in chief, Dr Richard Beeching.
Beeching recommended the cuts to 'streamline' local services but the inevitable result was that there were no services left to streamline after his savagery was implemented.
Ring a bell?
It should do - similar cuts are now being suggested, and implemented, at local level in the world of newspapers.
This is something we should fight against.
Why is it happening?
Essentially, because classified advertising is migrating to the internet - but also because local councils are sticking the boot in by suddenly producing their own freesheets on 'cost efficiency' grounds.
How are they 'cost efficient'?
Well, simple really - their existence means there is no need to spend money supporting local papers, because the jobs and council ads now appear exclusively in their own freesheets.
The council freesheets are invariably dull, poorly produced and full of puffs about how good a job the local council is doing.
They are in no way viable substitutes for the local papers they are replacing and helping sentence to a slow, painful death.
So what can we do about it...how can we help our valuable local papers survive?
We can keep buying them, of course - but that in itself may not be enough.
As far as I can see, we can also explore two other avenues...
We can demand of our local councils that they divert their adverts out of their freesheet and back into the local papers.
And we can demand of the Government that they divert some of the astonishing sums of money we plough into the BBC towards helping the survival of local papers.
They do, after all, provide a more important service to the normal man and woman in the street than say some avant-garde, little-listened radio station or some so-called worthy cause string of programmes on BBC4.
We need to lobby our local MPs and councils - and ask them for their help.
Subsidies and advertising returned to its rightful place may be the key to survival.
Otherwise, Thursday mornings will one day hold a less special affection in my heart.
And probably yours too...