Competitions are not normally a great strength for me as I get quite nervous and can often be debilitated by the pressure before performing. I have learnt the best way to tackle this is to go in the deep end and apply to more!
I was delighted to win the Audience Prize and Best Individual Song Prizes at the John Kerr Award for English Song in Buckinghamshire last week. All of the finalists had fascinating programmes and I envied several of their voice-types being able to sing some fabulous contemporary rep (not yet available for low voice, sadly!). The awards were presented by celebrated Tenor Neil Jenkins, soprano Julie Kennard and Christopher Ball. I had a wonderful time performing a programme of Haydn, Holst, Harty, Howells, Byrd, Sullivan and Britten. I also learnt a valuable lesson on timing the programme accurately having lost a few marks-whoops!
Prior to this, in November last year, I was also delighted to win the Hugh S. Roberton Scottish Song Prize and the Carmichael Trophy at the RCS, performing works by Beethoven and MacMillan. I had the pleasure of being accompanied by great friends and colleagues on piano and strings and whilst the Drinking Song by Beethoven is normally performed by a male voice, I decided it was time to break the tradition, much to everyone’s delight!
Continuing to combat my fear of competitive performance situations, I am delighted to be competing in several competitions across Europe over the next year from May onwards in Italy, Germany, Austria, France, the Netherlands and Switzerland. The results of these become much less important once I feel prepared in my programme. Confidence in my preparation means that I can be happy with my attempts whatever the outcome.