Who would dare have an encore?
Lexden Choral Society’s Perfomance
of Brahms Requiem & remembrance day gala 2016
The real Eureka moment, the apple dropping on my head in my life, was my favourite girlfriend from Don Quixote leaving me in 2009. From that moment on I felt nothing but blessed as if I could do anything. She left me half way through my Masters dissertation and I just about got it done in time and passed my degree. The fact I know it was a real Genieschlag was that absolutely everybody hated me for it, but that I know from reading about such characters in history is that life gets very difficult for them from that moment on but they can achieve anything. I was obsessed with the fact that she wasn’t coming back and I wrote 3 novels about it each over 50,000 words. That was the first thing I did, and I started to sing again. I had this little voice in my head saying I had the best voice in the world. So, I practiced some bass and tenor arias and found that I had a Baritone voice that had everything according to my experience. In the countertenor I’d had problems with breathing, but that was not the case with the bass voice and the range was exceptional. I have everything as a baritone except for a Wagnerian top Bb. I can go all the way down to an E or a D below the bass clef and I have a top G sharp on a bad day and a tenor A with a following wind. Indeed, when auditioning for Ian Ray’s choir in 2017 he suggested I might even be a second tenor and not a baritone.
Singing Renaissance Dec 2014 – 2018
My mugshot with Aldeburgh Voices in 2016
During my Genieschlag I became very tense and had to go into hospital. I am a flawed genius because I get very tense if my blood sugar is out of order because. I have to be very careful with what I eat. In fact before the latest medication I was literally dying of my condition, but this new drug, Trulicity has really saved my life once again. I have two potentially fatal health conditions.
The catalyst for me pressing on with my creativity and singing is literally that since diagnoses in 2005 I’ve never known when I’m going to die. The Germans in Klinikum Barmen which is one of the best hospitals in Germany did mention to me they thought I had 10 years to live realistically. That’s devastating news to a 27 year old. I just had this vision of being some kind of Freddie Mercury. I remembered the line from Hammer to Fall “Build yer muscles as your body decays!”. He was a fantastic inspiration to me in that situation because I loved his music as a boy. He had an absolutely heroic effect on me because I didn’t know if I had longer than 10 years. So, I just said lets go for everything I want to do in life right now without passing go and collecting 200 pounds. Let’s see just how much I can fit into that time. Over the last 10 years I’ve been though incredible physical and emotional pain due to my illness. I’ve also been bullied by my family who have not been very understanding sometimes and blamed the whole thing of my illness on me, but I’ve got 90 compositions out of me, I’ve got 11 books and anthologies, I’ve been slowly transcribing and editing my 350 or so poems and publishing them, I’ve improved my languages, and my music theory on my own. I’ve built a self publishing set up and I’ve enjoyed this singing Renaissance.
It all began with a crush on a certain violinist. I got the fiddle out of the cupboard after having driven the neighbours mad practicing piano six hrs a day after university. I started doing five hrs on the fiddle trying to imitate this wonderful Ladies in Lavender sound of 2011. Totally bonkers. Anyway I popped up to the town one Sunday on my birthday in fact in 2014. I didn’t know why I wanted to go to the Istore and it wasn’t at all planned. It was closed until 10:30 it was only ten am and so I walked around block very bored and these people were all going into the Baptist Church for a service you see. I thought, why not? I haven’t been to church for years! They were all really enthusiastic and competent musicians and they had this wonderful evangelical worship group. I prayed with them, and then they asked if anyone was musical enough to join the worship group, so I put a hat in the ring. He didn’t want me to sing there but play the hymns on the fiddle. So, I ended up playing with my sweetheart Alice on the flute. We played all these lovely songs for worship I’d missed out on in the bells and smells tradition I’d grown up in. I also attended the one o clock evangelical service and prayed with them beforehand. They were some of the hardest evangelical love bunnies on the planet. I was the nicest religious experience I’d ever had and I was fully prepared to take the plunge. Unfortunately, Alice, Ian and I had a wonder jamming session playing the Rend Collection hit My lighthouse and really going for it on the Friday night and fell completely head of heals in love with Alice despite her having 3 kids I asked her to see me. For that I was excommunicated from the worship group but luckily I’d been invited by one of the Baptists, called John to sing with a concert choir at St Leonard’s Lexden run by John Chillingworth the cellist and Sarah Blake.
I started to sing for Sarah Blake’s church choir at St Leonards and did over 100 services for them between Easter 2015 and Easter 2017. It was a good solid choir doing similar things to school and I really learned to sight read from my friend Robin Greatorex who was a Kings Ely Cathedral Scholar in his youth. We did a new anthem every week plus chanted canticles and psalms, occasionally we did full choral evensong with Stanford in C. It get’s pretty busy being a high church, conservative evangelical style of worship around Holy Week and Christmas but I wanted to do it as well to make my peace with God having had my doubts in me 20s and I didn’t know how long I was going to live. I fully enjoyed those two years. They just didn’t realize how much I gave them as a choir in terms of voice they were all about being modest and I can be forthright at times. Sarah did appreciate me but the guys were ultra competitive with me and the woman priest hated me and we fell out. We just spent too much time together. Because I was sick and went to morning and evening prayer and she didn’t like me at all it got a bit out of hand. I was unhappy about my friend Owen being cut short talking about his candle duties at the PCC and she was like that with him too patronizing. I complained to Bishop Stephen. I think he asked her to moved on. I was politely discouraged from going there again on a regular basis. In my catholic fraternity we discussed those sorts of things all night long if necessary and he wasn’t allowed to make a single point. She asked Owen to stop singing the Lent prose solo because she felt it should be sung be a woman. Sarah was lovely because I really fell for her but she was so kind to me because she knew I needed someone and she never complained about me. She was such a good friend to me because she knew I was in need. She was such a good Christian. So sweet.
Anyway I did some concerts for her concert choir as well. Lexden Choral with John Chillingworth we did. the John Passion, Trial by Jury, Faure Requiem, Handel’s Messiah Brahms Requiem and some carols. Apart from that I got into Aldeburgh Voices for a couple of concerts back in the big time with Ben Parry in 2016. I did Aldeburgh Sing Christmas and a performance of Handel’s Messiah with AV and they were the two most enjoyable concert of my entire life. Oh, it’s so wonderful to sing with Martin Stevens, he should have been a pro, he nails every note and is so committed singing. One of the best amateur singer I’ve ever known faultless, genius and it such a pleasure to sing with him. Ben Parry is so good at developing people into that person too and I was delighted beyond comprehension to sing with the best 8 young singers in GB the NYCGB fellowship scholars on the solos in the Messiah at Snape Maltings and we blew audience through the back wall with the Hallelujah chorus it was faultless from me too and we didn’t sing it in conventional parts either but as soloists sitting next to members of other parts ladies and men mixed up. That is the best way to sing it because you have to reach out for a member of your voice and listen to him rather than destroy what his doing for your own prowess. It’s wonderful I wish I could sing like that all the time.
I’ve also done 5 concerts for TRBC The Really Big Chorus 4 for ex King’s singer Brian Kay at the Royal Albert Hall and in Guernsey, St James Hall, St Peter Port where we performed the Gounod St Cecilia Mass from scratch, and I’ve the Royal Albert hall four times with Bob Chilcott and Brian Kay, singing Carmina Burana, Verdi Requiem, The Armed Man and Mozart Requiem. I also sing and continue to sing for the Roman River Festival Choir with Orlando Jopling and Ben Vonberg-Clark, I had a brief spell with Ian Ray and Colchester Choral. I also now sing for Daniela Bechly and her choir which is a great choir of really competent amateur singers mostly women of my age, but with some guys. Daniela is a professional and international competition winner and soloist.
I’ve now performed 21 oratorios 4 operas and operettas. Over 200 hymns, over 250 carols and about the same in anthems. My bumper year was 2016 when I did 9 major concerts and over 50 services. I’ve stepped off the gas since then to spend time on Europe and on writing and composition. If the concerts come the come if they don’t they don’t it’s always been the way with me.
I have an audition on 30th August, an exciting one for Brussels Choral Society who are just like AV. I’ve finally become a musician anyway.
Hugh Waldock 2018.