Last Friday (20th May) saw the final All Together Opera workshop at Millman Street Community Centre. With Ashley again at the much-maligned piano, singer Rebecca was again joined by Charlotte, who warmed up for her upcoming stint at Glyndebourne by performing at the Centre. There was also a Tea Party afterwards, laid on by Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC) volunteers, who served tea and cakes to our members. Other PwC volunteers were at Bedford House.
The final All Together Opera workshop also gave our members the chance to showcase what they had learned from the singers over the previous five sessions. They sang Shosholoza, My Ship and The Anvil Chorus, as well as Haul Away Joe, a sea shanty.
Charlotte sang Dvorak’s Sing To The Moon, and ended the proceedings with a rendition of Mozart’s Placido e il Mar. The latter was very well received by an awestruck audience of our members, staff, volunteers and the PWC contingent. Yet it was Charlotte who was full of praise for our members’ efforts: “It went well,” she said. “They sang well; sang beautifully.”
As for our members’ reactions to Charlotte’s singing, Edna enthused: “It was lovely! Beautiful!”
“Fantastic!” said Ivy. Her voice is a gift from God. She’s better than any other [opera singer] I’ve ever seen!”
Most of our members sang along to the other songs and clearly enjoyed the experience. “Great Britain has talents!” Anne beamed, adding: “It was very good!”
“It was lovely,” said Queenie. “I didn’t know we had so much talent! Really nice!”
Tom enjoyed himself and sang along, as did Maria. “Very nice,” she said. “I felt it went down very well – especially the pastries afterwards!”
“I enjoyed it, as always,” said ‘King’ Canute. “Anything in entertainment, I’m up for it,” he enthused. He felt that it went, “Not only well, but great!”
Volunteer Bridie found the operatics “very good!” Although “That sort of music” is not usually her cup of tea, she said, “I appreciate it.”
Perhaps the most unique tribute of the day came from Margaret Leahy: “They’re all full of rucker-ducker!” This reporter assumed that this is an old Irish expression of approval.
“It was very good!” Fred said, adding: “Terrific girl from the opera house!” He and Olive also sang along and enjoyed themselves.
“It was beautiful,” said Len, who happened to be on his last day at HCA after a year or so in the job. “I love the people I’ve worked with, and the members, and will miss everybody,” he added in valediction. HCA would like to thank Len for his service to Holborn Community Centre and we of course wish him all the best in his next job.
As for Mulegetta’s reaction to the final All Together Opera workshop, “I’m trying not to complain,” he said with characteristic understatement, before breaking out in a huge grin. “It was very nice! I like to sing, I like songs!” he beamed. He especially enjoyed singing along to Shosholoza.
George also enjoyed himself, both with the singing and cakes and tea. “People turned up that I hadn’t seen for ages,” he smiled.
“It was marvellous!” Helena said, “Absolutely lovely! I love the opera!”
“Excellent, it was!” said Joyce. “I hope they have some more [opera workshops]!” She has sung with the Mary Ward Centre Players since 1971 and, “I’m still giving it the old heave-ho!”
The PWC volunteers usually work in auditing and assurance, so it was a nice change as they helped out with our members, providing them with cakes, pastries and tea. “We’ve had a great day and integrated well,” said Hanna, adding: “We really enjoyed it!”
“It was a great atmosphere – go opera!” said Dimple. “It was nice to hang out with everyone here,” she added.
For Conrad, “People were really nice and energising. The opera was really great.”
The PwC volunteers also wrote a few words of feedback about their experiences at Millman Street Centre: For Oliver, it was a “Great day and activities/atmosphere.”
Hanna: “It was a great day out and atmosphere. Loved the opera.”
Will: “Superb day with lovely people, really enjoying chilling with the group and helping!”
Sarah: “Amazing day! Very fulfilling :).”
Daniel: “Great fun! Lovely to meet so many people and hear about their experiences.”
Conrad: “Great choice of songs and singing. Lovely people.”
Kirsten: “It has been a fantastic day, thank you very much for inviting us for the day. I feel very lucky to have been watching the concert and looking forward to coming back soon.”
James: “Lovely atmosphere, nice to hear all the stories!”
Mulegetta became reflective afterwards. “I’ve never been disappointed in this place [Millman Street Centre]. At home [his native Ethiopia], when we were young we used to sing in groups. I had a good voice – whether I have it now I don’t know,” he laughed. “The staff are very polite, very nice. You can ask anything of them. So many good people in this place. Really good!”
Holborn Community Association would like to thank Rebecca, Charlotte and Ashley for the All Together Opera workshops.
HCA would also like to thank the volunteers from PwC for giving up their time and spending the day with us, and of course for laying on the Tea Party.
Photos by Sarah; Report by Notes Smudger