In which the Singing Librarian is very busy


I had thought that my weeks would be quiet and peaceful now that the librarianship course is truly in the past, but this was clearly foolishness on my part.  The life of the Singing Librarian is rarely quiet, and I’m not sure that I’d like it very much if it was, which is a rather good thing.  Aside from the usual work and church life, I have managed to pile rehearsal upon rehearsal in a glorious mixture of different ways to fill my evenings and weekends as I work towards four different projects.

First, a series of concerts with Canterbury Operatic Society, to be performed from 12th to 19th July.  These include a mix of old and new tunes from George Gershwin’s ‘Summertime’ to pop hit ‘You Raise Me Up’ and numbers from Spamalot and Wicked.  In addition to the choral work, some of which I love, some of which I’m really not enjoying, I’m wheeling out old faithful ‘Mister Cellophane’ as a solo.

The next project is West Side Story, to be performed in August at the Marlowe Theatre.  I have managed to get myself drafted in as a replacement for an adult cast member who disappeared somehow, possibly lost down the back of the sofa, and am in the slightly bizarre position of rehearsing the role of Doc, who owns the store which the Jets hang out in.  It’s a nice part, appearing in only three scenes but going quite an emotional journey.  However, Doc is usually played by someone about twice my age, so I don’t yet know (having only had one rehearsal so far) whether I will be aging up or whether Doc will just be unusually young in this production.  I’m working with Phoenix Performing Arts, a local performing arts school, so I have the privilege of working with a whole host of enthusiastic, talented young people.  This role is very different to anything I’ve done recently, as Doc does not sing a single word – I haven’t been in a show where I have ‘just’ acted since I left school eleven years ago.

Once the whirlwind of learning and performing West Side Story is over, my main focus will return toTitanic, which is to be performed in November, also at the Marlowe.  We are currently learning the music at super-speed, which is great fun but somewhat scary, trying to remember everything, particularly as very little of it is easy.  But, as is also true with West Side Story, I do enjoy a challenge when I’m performing.

Last, but certainly not least, is a Christmas oratorio written by a very talented friend of mine.  This will be performed in Dover in December.  At present, I’m laying down some vocal tracks for his demo CD of it, which is intended as an aid to members of the choir, and also attending some early rehearsals.  It’s wonderful stuff, great fun to sing, in a variety of different styles.

Most days see me attend at least one rehearsal or performance, with some days involving more than one of my projects.  Thus far everything has stayed straight in my head, but before long I expect things will start to leak over.  I shall communicate with students in Morse code, or arrange the Jets according to a strange interpretation of Dewey Decimal System.  Harold Bride will tell people to “call him Jesus, the Messiah and the king” or the ‘Quintet’ in West Side Story will unexpectedly gain Bride’s refrain of “the night was alive with a thousand voices”, which appears at least 18 times in the Titanic score.  Or perhaps my brain is handily compartmentalised.  We can but hope.  The Singing Librarian is very busy, and he’s loving it.

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