Well, what a whirlwind we have been living in since the early summer! Faithful readers might be wondering if we are still on the planet! But now, after three full days of ceaseless rain which, although very welcome shows no sign of letting up, and with Markus away on tourist duty in Central Europe, it’s time for me to bring things up to date. So here goes with a brief round up of the musical events which have shaped a truly wonderful past few months. Some of them will certainly get a post of their own over the next weeks, so this is a sort of tasting menu!
In June: the Big Boeuf de Désaignes, co-organised by Markus as the first big jazz event in this lovely medieval village. It kicked of with an acoustic apéro concert around the fountain then, after dinner a concert on the main stage where Markus played his socks off, I sang a few numbers and a great time was had by all. Definitely à refaire!
Then from mid July to mid August we were completely taken up with organising the Ephemères d’Arlebosc – full post to follow this one.
Next came our summer concert at les Sarziers, a beautiful serene programme of medieval songs, performed by Céline Magrini accompanied by her brother, our friend Vincent. This was such a magical evening, an oasis of tranquillity after the bustle of the Ephemères, and a chance for us to open up the stable for the very first time for the reception afterwards.
In a slight change of gear, our friend Elizabeth invited us to exhibit a selection of portrait photos by Markus’s late godfather during the Fête de la Reboule in Arlebosc at the end of August. We were very happy to agree, since we both think that his work is truly exceptional. We are delighted to have been asked to repeat the exhibition this week end in Colombier le Vieux to accompany a three day seminar on sustainability in food production.
September kicked off with a four day residency at the theatre in Vernoux culminating in a preview of our new creation “Berlin to New York, an evening with Kurt Weill”. Markus and I have been working on this project for the past year and this was a wonderful opportunity to work in a professional setting, with a technician and all the musicians, to get the show into shape. The preview was a huge success and the whole thing was one of the most fulfilling performing experiences we have ever had.
Straight after the performance we had to head off by car to deliver me to Antibes where I was due to welcome a group of American tourists for a two week programme the following day. We arrived, exhausted but elated, having negotiated a terrifying hailstorm, at 2 am and I’m happy to say that I was at the airport, “en place et en tenue” as dancers say, bright and early the next morning.
Just one week after finishing that trip we presented Berlin to New York for two performances in our barn at les Sarziers. We are extremely proud of the show – there will definitely be a post about this – and the audience reactions have been overwhelming. We have several proposals for further performances and are looking forward to taking this project further.
Then it was straight back into rehearsals for three concerts with Carla, our wonderfully talented pianist friend. We really enjoyed collaborating with Carla for the concert at les Sarziers in April 2018, and we are thrilled to be able to perform her music again. Together with solo pieces and others where she is joined variously by Markus on trumpet, Yasmina on clarinet and Gael on violin, there are arrangements of Elena’s poems which I sing. Carla is an unstoppable composer and has written several new pieces for these concerts, including setting a further poem by Elena. I feel so privileged to have this opportunity to perform original works, created by two of my friends. The first concert at le Trouillet on October 5th was great and we are looking forward to the upcoming dates at the end of this week.
All this wonderful fun does mean that other projects for les Sarziers have been very much on hold for the past six months, however there are big plans in the pipeline and it’s now time for us to think seriously about getting on with them. Watch this space!