Grace Notes: Two very different ways of appreciating Bob Dylan…

Last night, just after finishing dinner and washing up, I wander into the kitchen where my Dad is listening to BBC Radio 4. Playing is a program called ‘The Freewheelin’ Mitch Benn’ where Mitch looks back at how Bob Dylan changed the face of the singer/songwriter with hilarious anecdotes and awesome imitations of his style of singing.

When I was about 3, we didn’t own much music. I mainly listened to ‘Troed yn Taro’ (a collection of Welsh nursery songs), The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, and Bob Dylan. In fact, I loved Bob so much that I honoured him by naming my doll (with big blue eyes and luscious blonde curls) Dylan after him. I mainly listened to the albums ‘Highway 61 Revisited’ and ‘Blood on the Tracks’ and hearing them again all these years later I remember a surprising amount of the songs! One of my favourites is ‘Ballad of a Thin Man’ from the album ‘Highway 61 Revisited’.

I really enjoyed ‘The Freewheelin’ Mitch Benn’ because he was light and funny in his approach to the material and made some observations about Bob that had my Dad and me laughing out loud. If you fancy taking a listen it’s available on the BBC website here.

Hope you’re all having a good summer! I’m currently trying to get back into practice and not get too distracted by all the other, less stressful options like sewing, meeting friends or eating…..


Grace Notes: NYOW 2015 – Hereford Cathedral

The first time I ever played in Hereford cathedral was in my first year in NYOW, seven years ago, as part of the Three Choirs Festival. I was excited to play in such an amazing place and the concert didn’t disappoint. Performing Mahler’s first symphony to a full house was an experience I’ll never forget.

I remember it being a boiling hot day and as we waited around for the concert to start (the changing rooms were in a school which was unbearably warm) we sat outside the cathedral on the grass eating ice cream and relaxing.

This is my third performance in Hereford Cathedral and every time the NYOW has visited it’s need a beautiful sunny day and this year was no different. The programs however, are polar opposites. As I’ve said previously the main piece in the program is the Rite of Spring. I love this piece, but I was a tad dubious how well it would come across in the cathedral, due to the booming acoustics.

I needn’t have worried. Although you couldn’t trust your ears with all of the echos bouncing around, the audience was full and I thought that the performance was exciting, even if there were a few bits where the ensemble rocked.


The 'nash' rehearsing in Hereford Cathedral (I do not own this photo)

The audience seemed to love it and were very complimentary afterwards.

It’s now the last day of NYOW 2015, we’re currently on the coach driving to Cardiff, and I’m not quite sure how to feel. I’m obviously very sad that it’s all over and I’m at a slight loss as to how I’ll spend my summer next year, but at the same time I’m really looking forward to the Cardiff concert tonight in St David’s Hall. It’s going to be an amazing way to finish off the last seven years as a member of the NYOW.