How can you accelerate the speed, accuracy, and quality of learning songs for performance situations?

On this blog I share my 'learning adventures' as I continue to improve my performance as a singer.

I share web resources I find helpful, and reflect on my experience using various technologies and ideas.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

ShowWest SIngers performs in Onehunga, 4 pm, Sunday 28 June, 2009

St Peter's Anglican Church

Corner Church Street and Onehunga Mall,
Onehunga, Auckland.

Songs selected from

I have a Dream - Mary Donnelly
And So it Goes - Billy Joel
The Lily and the Rose - Bob Chilcott
Lakme - Delibes
Baylero - Trad.arr G. Richards
I'm Martin Guerre - Schoenberg & Boublil
Non T'amo Piu - Tosti
Ar Hyd y Nos - Trad.arr. Bob Chilcott
The Skye Boat Song - Trad.arr.Bob Chilcott
Danny Boy - Trad.arr Bob Chilcott
Ill Wind - Flanders and Swann
Orpheus and the Underground - Offenbach arr, Cantabile
American Trilogy Mickey Newbury
Steal Away - Negro Spiritual arr. Burleigh
Ching-A-Ring Chaw - Adapt.Aaron Copeland
The Water is Wide - arr. Mark Hayes
Bess you is my Woman - Gershwin
My Mans Gone - Gershwin
How Could I ever Know - Lucy Simon
Dem Bones - Trad. Arr Larry Nickel
Wrong Note Rag - Leonard Bernstein
Operator - William Spivery
All that Jazz - Kander
Enhanced by Zemanta

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Review - The Deep Blue Sea - Terence Rattigan

The Deep Blue Sea

Rattigan's play is a complex intertwining of human emotions: obsession, unrequited love, despair, forgiveness.

The story revolves around Hester, unhappy with her illicit relationship with Freddy, the ex World War II flying ace. Her love is unrequited, and the play opens with her attempted suicide. The neighbours in her apartment call attention to her plight. Her ex-husband, a senior judge, comes on the scene. The complexity, mystery, and suspense expands from that point.

Cover of Cover of The Deep Blue Sea (Nick Hern Books)

I enjoyed Titirangi Theatre's nuanced production of the play, directed by Liz Watkinson. Although Hester takes the central role, the other seven roles present very strongly.

Posted using ShareThis
Enhanced by Zemanta

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ark in the park: concert for the birds

The Waitakere Branch of Forest & Bird invite you to a CONCERT FOR THE BIRDS

7:30 pm, Friday June 12, 2009. Glen Eden Playhouse, Glen Edern, Waitakere, Auckland.

The concert is a musical variety concert, being held as a fundraiser for the Ark in the Park project. This is a community environmental restoration project, a partnership between the Waitakere branch of Royal Forest & Bird and the ARC.

Special Guest Artists Include:
  • Helen Medlyn (mezzo soprano) with accompanist Lee Martelli
  • The Three Mezzos
  • Jubate (Irish, American and Gypsy music)
  • Yuko Takahaski (mezzo soprano) with accompanist Setsuko Strang
  • Show West Singers (conductor Judy King)
  • Peter Mellalieu, singing "I'm Martin Guerre"

Bookings: events@iconevents.co.nz Phone 09 845 5540

Volunteers currently control pests to low levels of 1200 hectares of parkland at the Cascade Kauri Park in the northern Waitakere Ranges. Our goal is 2000 ha.

Proceeds from this event will be used to return threatened native bird species, including kokako, to the Ark in the Park.

Events Calendar | Ecoevents

Posted using ShareThis

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

REVIEW: A century of song from Yale University Whiffenpoofs in Auckland

Click on the image to view a high-resolution image.

The Yale Whiffenpoofs sang to the delight of an animated audience of sixty people at the stunning location of the Tamaki Yacht Club in Auckland on Sunday afternoon.

The world's oldest collegiate a capella songsters presented a variety of songs presented with their own distinctive arrangements - both musical and choreographic - as one might expect from a group including several budding composers and musicians, a robotics scientist, an economist, and a philosopher who when he grows up just wants 'to be'. Folk favorites such as 'Down by the Salley Gardens' joined contemporary arrangements of 'A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square', the distinctly collegiate 'Daddy is a Yale Man' and the penultimate finale of 'The Whiffenpoof Song'.

Every year, fourteen senior men are selected to be in the Yale Whiffenpoofs. Commencing rehearsal in August, the current Whiffs have toured through America and Latin America prior to commencing their world tour. Remarkably, each year's Whiffs are a completly new group of men, some of whom have observed and rehearsed with the previous year's Whiffs. The current 14-week world tour, commencing in New Zealand, takes in Australia, Malaysia, India, Europe, and Israel. Their tour blog can be viewed at: whiffenpooftour2009.blogspot.com

At Yale Commencement 2009, the Whiffenpoofs released their newest album, CENTURY, commemorating 100 years of the group's storied history. Produced and engineered by multi Grammy Award winners Steve Barnett and Preston Smith, CENTURY is a special tribute to the group's Centennial Year. The album includes a repertoire that spans the full one hundred years. The album may be purchased through: www.yale.edu/whiffenpoofs/cds/

The ‘Whiffs’ in New Zealand
The Whiffenpoofs have visited New Zealand on several occasions, presenting in Auckland as guests of the Northern Club. This is their first performance with the American Club in Auckland.

The concert entrance fees contributed to the costs of the event, a donation towards the Yale Whiffenpoofs’ world tour, and to to the American Club Inc. (NZ) Friendship Award.

More photos of the Whiffenpoofs Auckland concert for the American Club are here: http://homepage.mac.com/petermellalieu/Whiffenpoofs/index.html

The American Club Inc (Auckland)
The American Club was established in Auckland in 1966 to provide a social venue for persons sharing an interest in American culture, history, and sport.
The club holds regular monthly meetings, including activities and events that mark Memorial Day, Independence Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, as well as local activities and sporting occasions.

Through its 'Friendship Award' program it seeks to support friendship and understanding between the peoples of the United States and New Zealand. The Award is a scholarship offered yearly to a New Zealand student planning to complete studies in a United States university.

The Whiffenpoofs were interviewed on Breakfast Television (8 June, 2009) by Paul Henry here: http://tvnz.co.nz/breakfast-news/whiffenpoofs-perform-8-36-2772062/video


American Club:

Phone: +64 (9) 336 1666
Postal: PO Box 589, Auckland

President: Kim Daly (Photo right)
Phone: +64 (9) 336 1666

Membership: Beth Coleman (Photo left)
Phone: +64 (21) 325 461

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Popera - Celtic Woman - A New Journey - You Raise Me Up

It seems 'popera' is not a widely-used word. But here is one example, apparently.

I don't see this piece of music compares favorably with the challenge and complexity with the music of Boublil and Schonberg.

Pretty and cute. I prefer Il Divo, and Amici - if what they do could be called 'opera'.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Martin Guerre - A Musical Journey 1/8

Tomorrow is my first rehearsal with my music director and accompanist for my forthcoming performance of "I'm Martin Guerre" at the Arc in the Park concert.

Today I've been refreshing my memory of the song from my performance in the NZ Aria competition last year, culminating in a rehearsal with my singing teacher.

Just before I go to bed, I've been transposing the music from the original key of B flat minor to G minor using Smartscore - to drop the pitch five semitones. I've also enjoyed seeing the multitude of performances of the song on YouTube - from amateur efforts, to the the scintillating performances of several professional productions.

Now, I am starting to follow my curiosity about the production of the first London show. This video (from a series of eight), introduces the composer and writer as they began to conceive the project. The video concludes with the first rehearsal of the orchestra with the chorus and soloists - a SitProb.

Music entrepreneur Cameron Macintosh notes how Boublil and Schonberg have endowed us with a legacy of fusing the modern musical with opera. I totally agree.

What excitement! I look forward to viewing the remaining episodes in the series.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Martin Guerre - UK Tour (snippet from "I'm Martin Guerre")

This YouTube selection shows great video of a the UK stage performance. It presents the last half of the first point in which the song "I'm Martin Guerre" is presented. My earlier posting presents the "reprise" of the song, which is repeated late in the show with different words, and jointly sung by Martin Guerre, and his comrade in arms, Armand.

"Martin Guerre (Reprise)" and "Imposters" from MARTIN GUERRE

I'm reworking my performance of "I'm Martin Guerre" for a performance with "Show West" for the Arc in the Park concert on Friday 12 June.
Boublil and Schoenberg

I deliberately avoided listening to a performance prior to developing my own performance last year. Now I have heard an original production - presented hear from YouTube.

What a fantastic, powerful piece of music! It embraces rejection, love, mistaken identity, jealousy, and religious war... all based on a true story from late 16th century France.

There's a French movie, and a US adaptation of the story, too. The US version is set during the US Civil war, whilst the original French version is based around the religious wars between the French Catholics, and the Hugenout Protestants. Given my Hugenout heritage - we arrived in England from France in 1624 - I'm rather taken by this story.

I learned the song "I'm Martin Guerre" in June last year as part of a project to develop my whakapapa and mihi for a course in Iwi Environmental Management I studied last year at Te Wananga a Aotearoa. I perfmed the song at the NZ Aria Competition, in October 2008.

I'd LOVE to perform this show ... wherever/whenever in the WORLD!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Yale Whiffenpoofs - America's oldest collegiate a capella group perform in Auckland

Click on the poster to view a full screen version

America's oldest collegiate a capella group, the Yale Whiffenpoofs, perform in Auckland as guest of the Auckland branch of the American Club.

American Club members, their friends, and the general public are invited to attend a concert by the Yale Whiffenpoofs at Tamaki Yacht Club 4:30, Sunday June 7th, 2009.

Songs to be performed include: Aj Lucka, Lucka, Time After Time, Little Pony, Saving Ourselves for Yale, Bye Bye Blackbird, A Nightingale Sang, in Berkeley Square, Something Like the Blues, Down By the Salley Gardens, Everything, I'll Be Seeing You, Midnight Train to Georgia, Whiffenpoof Song.

The Yale Whiffenpoofs
Every year, fourteen senior men are selected to be in the Yale Whiffenpoofs, the world’s oldest and most famous a cappella group. Founded in 1909, the “Whiffs” began as a senior quintet that met for concerts at Mory’s Temple Bar, the renowned Yale tavern that dates back to 1849. Cole Porter, Yale Class of 1913, highlights the list of noteworthy Whiffenpoof alumni, which also includes Senator Prescott Bush, father of former President George H.W. Bush.

‘‘The Whiffenpoof Song,’’ the group’s signature ballad, gained nationwide recognition when Rudy Vallee (Whiffs of 1927) recorded a solo version in the 1930s. Later, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald (made an honorary Whiffenpoof in 1979), Bing Crosby, and Elvis Presley followed suit with their own recordings.

Today, the group has become one of Yale’s most celebrated and hallowed traditions, carrying on almost a century of musical excellence and professional showmanship at Yale, across America, and around the world.

In recent years, satisfied clients have included hotels, corporations, and the likes of Presidents Reagan, Bush, and Clinton, Mother Theresa, and the Dalai Lama, in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Rose Bowl, and for events such as the World Series, Saturday Night Live, NBC’s Today Show and The West Wing. A cappella arrangements of jazz standards, classic ballads, traditional Yale songs, and recent popular hits continue to delight audiences all over the world.

The Whiffenpoofs maintain a performance schedule of over 200 concerts annually, in addition to recording an album and embarking on a 17-week world tour. The Whiffenpoofs are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that supports a worldwide children’s literacy campaign and educates students about music and a cappella singing.

The Auckland concert
Location: Tamaki Yacht Club, Commodore Lounge, 30 Tamaki Drive, Auckland.

Time: 4:30pm - 6:30 pm, Sunday June 7th, 2009

Adults $20
Concessions $12
Entry payable at door

Entry price includes one welcome drink.

Rsvp/enquiries (09) 336 1666 email: americanclub@xtra.co.nz

View Larger Map

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Translation of "Scheidend" (Departing) - Mendelssohn and Voss

Last Wednesday I began to learn Mendelssohn's leider "Scheidend" Opus 9, No. 6.

I intend to sing the song at the next meeting of the Auckland Lieder Group, Sunday 24 June.

Here's the poem, by Johann Heinrich Voss (1751-1826)

Wie so gelinde die Fluth bewegt!
Wie sie so ruhig den Nachen trägt!
Fern liegt das Leben, das Jugendland!
Fern, fern liegt der Schmerz, der dort mich band,
Sanft tragt mich, Fluthen, zum fernen Land!

Droben der Sterne stiller Ort,
Unten der Strom fließt fort und fort.
Wohl warst du reich, mein Jugendland!
Wohl, wohl war es süß, was dort mich band,
Sanft tragt mich, Fluthen, zum fernen Land!


I have had a little difficulty finding a translation of the poem, written by Johnann Heinrich Voss. ("Difficulty" means it has taken me one hour to find the translation. Hasn't the internet made us so impatient!)

The State Library of Western Australia kindly translated the first line ...
"Calmly the waves of ocean roll"


With this first-line clue I typed in that line. That lead me to me to an unpromising history of the Trinity Church, Buffalo, NY. A very, very long web page with no indexing, content list or anything. But... jackpot, I found the translation:

Calmly the waves of ocean roll 
Over my fainting, fleeting soul,
Parting earth's friendships and rending in twain
Hearts that will soon be united again
On heaven's celestial plain.

Swiftly before a purer day,
Fade now yon golden stars away ;
Lo ! realms of brightness now burst on my sight,
Fast I am speeding from regions of night
To heaven's eternal light."

The song was sung at the funeral of Mary Knowlton Mixer. "Miss Underhill, the soprano, gave Mendelssohn's "Song of Parting" the words of which were the last ever sung by Miss Mixer."


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Pieta, Signore (Alessandro STRADELLA?)

Performed by Peter MELLALIEU at the Northshore Performing Arts Competitions 55th Annual Festival May, 2009.

Note the careful use of the score as both a text reference, and means through which to conduct the accompanist!

Pianist: Diane HARVEY

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Vintage sound amplification - Leak TL/10 amplifier and Varislope II Pre-Amp

Having made my first sale on New Zealand's internet trading system, TradeMe, my appetite is whet for further sales.

I sold a motor caravan in behalf of my father, and now I am preparing to sell what I thought was a derelict valve (tube) amplifier.

As I Googled away my singing practice time last Saturday, what follows is a brief summary of the remarkable story of the Leak TL/12 series of ground-breaking hi-fidelity valve amplifiers that I discovered....

Here is the basis for my first draft of an advertisement for TradeMe. Most of the content is drawn from the references presented at the end of the posting.

Vintage Audio - Leak "Point One" TL/10 Power Amplifier with matching Leak Varislope II Pre-Amplifier
According to Classique Sounds (Leicester UK) Leak equipment is on the "most wanted" list for vintage audiophiles. This Leak TL/10 valve amplifier and Varislope II pre-amp was produced in the early 1950s by H. J. Leak & Co. Ltd, Brunel Road, London. This type of equipment is appreciating in value as vintage collectibles

The equipment in this auction was purchased by my father second-hand circa 1962 in Wales, then brought to New Zealand where it was used until the early 1980s. Since then, the equipment has been stored inside in dry but dusty conditions and has probably not been used for 25+ years. Accordingly, relevant precautions must be taken before powering it up and leaving unattended. The gold "orange peel" enamel is slightly blemished in several areas (See photographs). There has been no attempt at modification or restoration since its purchase in 1962.

I have carefully removed the dust from the equipment and powered it up. The power amp is activated and all valves glow in both the pre-amp and power amp. The loudspeaker to which I connected the equipment very quietly hums at 50 Hz. Input signals applied to the several inputs (tape input, phono, aux) produce no result in either the loudspeaker, or the pre-amp tape output.

Sound quality
According to one seller on TradeMe: "Connected to good front end sources and efficient speakers these amps are still impressive sounding, and are appreciating in value as vintage collectibles." (8)

Specifications: "Point One" TL/10 Power Amplifier
10 Watts output.
Low total harmonic distortion: <= 0.1 per cent at rated output. Valves: EF86, 6SN7, 2 x KT61 in ultra-linear. Leak pamphlet states that the Brimar 6AG6G is an exact equivalent to the KT61. 5Z4 rectifier. Gold enamel finish. Mono only. Original UK purchase price (catologue new): "Point One" TL/10 power amplifier (17 guineas). (9) AT least four weeks wages of the time! Specifications: Leak "Varislope II"
First released: August 1954
This pre-amp features higher input sensitivities than previous Leak pre-amps, and has improved appearance.
Two EF86 valves are used, with a similar shunt feedback circuits as used in previous pre-amps.
The disc equalisations provided are: BRIT-78, BRIT-LP, COL-LP, RCA-Ortho, AES and NARTB.
Tuner, Tape, Mic and Auxilliary inputs are also provided.
Tape output.
Bass and treble are switch boost and cut, with the variable slope facility available for treble-cut.
Steel front panel finished in gold enamel.
Mono only.
Original UK purchase price (catologue new):16 pounds 16 shillings (16 Guineas)

Circuit topology
All Leak power amplifiers (Except Type 15) use the same basic circuit topology as the TL/12 The Topology comprises a first stage of voltage gain (with either triode or pentode), a triode long-tailed pair phase-splitter/driver stage, followed by an output stage (triode, tetrode, or ultra-linear) with cathode bias using separate cathode resistors" A discussion of the valves used in the TL/10, and substitutes is presented in (4, 10).

In 1949, Harold Leak demonstrated the foundation of the product line, the TL/12 "to amazed Americans" at the Audio Engineering Society exhibition that was held in New York. (9) The TL/10 was introduced as a lower cost alternative to the famous TL/12, but maintained the distortion rating of 0.1%.

The Leak "Point One" range of amplifiers was named for the low distortion figures achieved: the then "astonishingly low total harmonic distortion - at just 0.1 per cent for 15 Watts output" (5) The age of High Fidelity (hi-fi) had arrived!

H. J. Leak & Co Ltd were "Designers and Manufacturers of Specialised Electronic Instruments for the Communications Industries". Harold Leak, founder of the company, was particularly concerned that his designs were built to exacting standards and a high quality of finish. Unusually for equipment aimed at the domestic market, Leak amplifiers were built with component boards and cable looms. There are no printed circuits, transistors, or integrated chips. Capacitors were soldered into position with the value and rating markings visible, and resistors all had their tolerance bands at the same end. (1)

The TL series was "very well constructed, and featured a power supply with no electrolytic capacitors. The oil-filled paper capacitors used instead were costly but have a much longer life. Wiring standards were impeccable, and all transformers were finished for tropical operation."

The TL/10 followed the introduction of the TL/12 in 1948. The TL/12 was designed for "quantity production" premised on sales to three classes of users: Professional audio engineers, the non-technical music-lover or gramophile, and the knowledgeable amateur enthusiast (the "audio hobbyist" of the U.S.) who had previously built his own amplifiers for reasons of economy and/or personal satisfaction. For instance, the BBC placed large orders for the TL/12 to use as a component of its patented Monitor Loudspeaker. (9) The "Point One" series may well be an first example of what we now term a "prosumer" product: a high-end consumer product that matches professional performance and manufacturing standards.

The TL/10 amplifier was the first Leak amplifier to "incorporate the "ultra-linear" output stage configuration (popularised by Hafler and Keroes from the USA in the early 1950's, but earlier proposed by Blumlein). Many consider the TL/10 to be much under-rated these days. Leak certainly did not skimp on the ratings or size of the transformers, as they are identical in size to the TL/12 Plus (and Stereo 20 in the case of the output transformer)." (10)

In late 1951 H. J. Leak & Company published "a 28-page treatise explaining the history, concept, and design of the TL/12 amplifier and the associated RC/PA/U pre-amplifier. This pamphlet makes for fascinating reading for anyone interested in the history of the valve amplifier development during the "golden age" of audio (from the late 1940's to the early 1960's)." (10)

Recent auctions
Leak TL 12 "Mono" Power Amplifier complete with RC/PA pre amp - UK Ebay £UK 1000 as at 2 days before close (2)

Leak Stereo 20 Valve Amp for sale - TradeMe.co.nz - New Zealand Last bid: $900 (8). No pre-amp.

TL/10 Pair, £UK 450, UK, Jan 1999 (11)

TL/10 - one only, NEW in box. Bidding to US$530, but the reserve was not met.

TL/10 - one only, with Point One mono pre-amp. VGC. CA, USA, US$266, March1999.

2 x Varislope III pre-amps, filter knob missing, others knobs un-original, New York, USA, US$133 pair

Point One Stereo Pre amp - with Gold Anodised Facia, Australian Auction,Aug 1998, A$140

Varislope 2 Stereo Pre-amp, Grey/silver, lettering worn, knob center missing,Canada, US$46.50, Jan 1999

According to Classique Sounds (Leicester UK) Leak equipment is on the "most wanted" list for vintage audiophiles:
  • Leak Stereo 20
  • Leak TL10
  • Leak TL12/TL12+
  • Leak TL25
  • Leak TL50
  • Leak Stereo50/60 etc
"Current value of a single TL/12 in fine fettle is anywhere between £500 - £1,000; although recently (August 2006) I saw a matched pair with early serial numbers and minor modifications (RCA input and input level control) reach £2400 (US$4,500) on eBay. The immaculate unit with preamplifier (pictured at right) fetched £1480 in March 2006." (11)

Purchasers of this equipment are advised to have the equipment tested for safety prior to use or leaving unattended. Advice on history and restoration of Leak equipment is provided on the unofficial Leak Web site. The site is designed to "help encourage the restoration and maintenance of this wondeful audio equipment". (5) The site discusses resistors, capacitors, iron-cored components, connectors, and valves/tubes. Circuit diagrams are provided. (5)

Typical restorations include: "all capacitors and resistors replaced with good quality components, including film and foil coupling capacitors and the large dual section power filter capacitors. Replace input sockets and speaker terminals with better modern types." (8)

Service, user manuals and schematics, are also available from The Audio Circuit (TAC). (6)

An excellent series of photos illustrate and comment on the process of restoring a Leak Varislope. For instance, note the passion and perfection this restorer demonstrates: "Underneath as received. You don’t need to be an expert to spot that about a dozen components had already been changed here. Now, whilst there is no rule that says you can’t use radial and PCB mount components on a repair like this, I personally don’t think they look right. I decided to rip everything out and test/replace with the correct axial components." (7)

Restoration specialists
There are specialist restorers who rebuild Leak equipment. For instance, the restoration cost for a Leak Stereo 20 starts from £UK 199.00. I would expect the Point One restoration to be somewhat less expensive, since it is a mono rather than stereo device. (3) Of course, you may choose to acquire two Leak amplifiers so that you can create a stereo system.

There seem to be various alternative valves (tubes) that can be used to improve quality of performance. For instance: One restorer noted that: "All valves are good quality types, and are well matched and test to new spec or better. The input and phase splitter valves are Telefunken ECC83s; the output valves are Dutch made Philips ECC84s, and the rectifier is a Philips GZ34." (8). The unofficial Leak Web site also remarks on valve substitutions.

I have been advised of a local restoration specialist near my location in New Lynne. Accordingly, my next project is to get an estimate of the cost of restoration and/or just getting the fixed running in its "as is/where is" condition.

I make NO guarantees that this equipment will work. Furthermore, I make no guarantees that you will be able to locate replacement components. I have been advised that valves (tubes) are manufactured in Russia.

1. Leak TL/25 Plus audio amplifier and Varislope mono pre-amplifier - Object Wiki. (n.d.). . Retrieved April 18, 2009, from http://objectwiki.sciencemuseum.org.uk/wiki/Leak_TL/25_Plus_audio_amplifier_and_Varislope_mono_pre-amplifier.

2. Leak TL12 Point One Valve Power Amplifier + Preamp RCPA on eBay, also Separates, Audio, Vintage Electronics, Consumer Electronics (end time 20-Apr-09 10:39:50 BST). (n.d.). . Retrieved April 18, 2009, from http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Leak-TL12-Point-One-Valve-Power-Amplifier-Preamp-RCPA_W0QQitemZ200330161874QQcategoryZ43804QQcmdZViewItem.

3. Classique Sounds (Leicester UK). (n.d.). . Retrieved April 18, 2009, from http://www.classiquesounds.co.uk/leak.htm.

4. Informazioni. (n.d.). . Retrieved April 18, 2009, from http://www.argaudio.it/index_file/Page492.htm.

5. H.J.Leak and Co. Ltd. - enthusiasts page. (n.d.). . Retrieved April 18, 2009, from http://44bx.com/leak/index.html.

6. Leak, Varislope 2 Stereo - manuals. (n.d.). . Retrieved April 18, 2009, from http://www.audiocircuit.com/index.php?c=LEA&m=Varislope%202%20Stereo.

7. Servicing of a Leak Varislope Stereo Hi-Fi Amplifier. (n.d.). . Retrieved April 18, 2009, from http://www.chambonino.com/work/hifi/hifi5.html.

8. Leak Stereo 20 Valve Amp for sale - TradeMe.co.nz - New Zealand. (n.d.). . Retrieved April 18, 2009, from http://www.trademe.co.nz/Electronics-photography/Home-audio/Vintage/auction-213553715.htm.

9. Leak TL/12 50'th Anniversary. (n.d.). . Retrieved April 18, 2009, from http://44bx.com/leak/TL12_50yrs.html.

10. Leak TL/10. (n.d.). . Retrieved April 18, 2009, from http://44bx.com/leak/TL10.html.

11. Leak TL/25 Plus - spot prices. (n.d.). . Retrieved April 18, 2009, from http://44bx.com/leak/prices.html.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Der Lindenbaum (Franz SCHUBERT)

A first slightly public performance of this song to the Auckland Lieder Group.

Sure on this shining night (Samuel BARBER)

Performed by Peter MELLALIEU with Diane HARVEY (Piano). Auckland Lieder Group, 1 March 2009.

My first slightly public performance of this music.

Rather better line and tone than my early January first recording?

Not the best video quality. I apologise. It was recorded onto the memory stick. Having the piano light does not help.

Composer: Samuel BARBER. Text: James AGEE.

Monday, March 2, 2009

A summer medley at the Auckland Lieder Group

The Auckland Lieder Group began its monthly programme of 'Schubertiade' on St David's Day: 1 March. Each month, members and friends perform two songs linked to a monthly theme host at members' homes throughout the Auckland region.

My accompanist Diane Harvey presented her usual extraordinary feat of both singing and accompanying herself with some rare songs: Gordon McBeth's "All on a summer's day" and Clara Edwards' "By the bend of a river". Diane is an extraordinarily accomplished pianist, and teaches piano and singing in schools, and on a private basis, based from her home in Glen Eden, Waitakere, phone 09 813 6929

The Lieder Group programmes are an excellent opportunity to present 'works in progress' before a constructive and appreciative audience. The group emerged from a series of Lieder masterclassess at Auckland University many years ago. Each programme incorporates a theme. Themes coming up in future months include:
  • Occupations (29 March 2009) - I might present myself as Professor Henry Higgins singing "Why can't the English learn to speak". Not quite lieder, but it's a song I'm commited to perform at a future competition!
  • Vaughan Williams (26 April 2009) - I need to polish up "In Dreams" and begin learning "The roadside fire". These are my competition entries in the North Shore Performing Arts Competition www.northshorepacs.org.nz
  • In a Persian garden (26 July)
  • ... and so forth, on a monthly basis through November.
For yesterday evening's concert, I sang "Der Lindenbaum" (Schubert), and Samuel Barber's "Sure on this Shining Night". Both my debut performances in a public place and with a live accompanist, rather than Smartscore! The Barber is much, much improved on my first recording that I posted on this Blog a month earlier. Better "line" I hope you'll agree, as that has been a major effort of my vocal lessons in response to competition feedback last year.

I'll upload a video later.

Further information about the Auckland Lieder Group
  • President: Bryony Jagger: 09 630 7183 (and organiser for 'In a Persian Garden' theme, 26 July)
  • Secretary: Claire Geddes: 09 817 6668 (and organiser for Brahms theme, 27 September
  • Treasurer: Hilary Nobes 09 846 3433 (and organiser for 'Occupations' theme, 29 March.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Your electronic accompanist - Classical Archives website

Classical Archives have just improved the usability of theri valuable website for singers and other musicians.

Classical Archives is one of my favourite and most useful sources of recordings after iTunes. However, Classical Archives is more valuable to me because of the huge availability of MIDI files. MIDI files are very helpful for learning melody, and practicing with an accompaniment.

I am about to learn for the North Shore Singing Competitions Verdi's Aria: Di Provenza il Mar from La Traviata. Entering the composer and song title in the Classical Archives SEARCH box, I quickly find both a recording, and MIDI file for the accompaniment. I previewed the recording which I then purchased ($0.88).

More importantly, I downloaded the MIDI file - for FREE. I can use the MIDI file in iTunes, Quicktime, Garageband or Smartscore. If I want to slow, or transpose down the accompaniment whilst I learn the song, I do this easily in Smartscore or Garageband.

La Traviata (opera)

Giuseppe Verdi

Giuseppe Verdi

What is MIDI?
MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) files are played through a synthesizer
(usually on your audio card.) They can also be converted into sheet music.

Download MIDI
13.Di Provenza il mar
 blog it

Thursday, February 19, 2009

How do you prepare for a musical audition?

How do you prepare for an audition? What song do you choose? What happens at an audition?

Last year, I participated in a workshop for Contemporary Singing lead by Irene Bartlett. Irene is Jazz and Contemporary Voice Teacher at the Conservatorium of Music at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia. She was also a coach at the New Zealand National Singing School in 2009. The NZ Singing School is a summer residential school held in our mid-summer, January. http://www.singingschool.org.nz/

There were 20 singers in my three-day workshop, held at Unitec Institute of Technology. We each had the opportunity to receive a 'master-class' style coaching for a song we were learning. I chose "I'm Martin Guerre" - a dramatic song from Boublil and Schonberg's "Martin Guerre". (This team created the well-known modern opera "Les Miserables".)

Each singer had ten minutes of workshop time to gain maximum advantage from the master-coach, Irene. I launched into my song. The song begins with my singing 28 bars, nearly all the same pitch and rhythm. Just as I was about to launch into the exciting, drammatic, melodious part, Irene stopped me! And began my coaching.

Valuable coaching ensued, but I could have gained much more from the coach if I had known the secrets of preparing for an audition. Whilst this was more of a master-class than an audition, I think there are some useful lessons that apply regarding how to prepare for an audition.

Subsequently, I bought a variety of music resources from an an Aladdin's Cave for musicians, Piano Traders, in Mt Eden, Auckland....

One book I acquired has some relevance to the task of auditioning:

Pamela S. Phillips. (2003). Singing For Dummies. New York: Wiley. Retrieved February 18, 2009, from http://www.dummies.com/store/product/Singing-For-Dummies.productCd-0764524755.html.

Chapter 21 presents 14 pages of advice on auditioning for a song for music theatre. The chapter covers topics including:
  • Get some tips on musical theatre
  • Select a song that demonstrates variety
  • Dramatise your lyrics
  • Avoid the wrong song (the mistake I made)
  • Adjust the key if you need to (yes: I transposed down 3 semitones that using Smartscore - to the horror of my accompanist)
  • Make a 16-bar cut. That is, choose a small part of the song that shows you at your best ... you may be given no further time than 16-bars! The main mistake I made.
  • Work your songs with an accompanist
  • Know how to work with the audition pianist
Extra for scholars: bibliographic management
For scholars and researchers, if you were impressed by my complete APA referencing for the Phillips (2003) book, let me share my latest productivity aid. I have just installed the Zotero citation and bibliographic reference management system. Zotero heps me manage all the web sites I visit, local .pdf documents, and off-line print media in one database reference system.

When I need to cite a reference, I conveniently drag and drop from Zotero into a document, such as my blog (as above) or a text document. Zotero is open source (free!) software, and runs as an add-on to my Firefox browser. See: http://www.zotero.org/

Top image: Peter Mellalieu sings "I'm Martin Guerre" at NZ Aria Competition, Rotorua, October 2008.

Invitation to open rehearsal and audition: ShowWest Singers

ShowWest Singers Inc performs a variety of music from Opera to Oratorio, Classics to Cabaret. We invite new singers keen to develop their singing and performance skills.

ShowWest's mid-year cabaret-style concerts are often performed at the Glen Eden Playhouse, a popular, high-quality performing arts venue. These concerts have taken themes such as American music, Communication, Viennese, Opera selections, and Amahl and the Night Visitors.

In December, ShowWest presents a series of Christmas-themed concerts in cooperation with various institutions that have included a consulate, several churches, and other performing arts groups throughout Auckland. The music performed ranges from familiar and popular to unconventional and challenging. However, both members and audiences gain pleasure and satisfaction from the Music Director's leadership.

ShowWest was formed in 2000. Under the musical direction of Judy King, members are auditioned each year to establish their voice range, style, and ambitions in terms of solo, small group, and chorus work.

Rehearsals are held weekly on Wednesdays from early February at 7:30 pm. Small ‘Friends Concerts’ are held every second month in the rehearsal venue. ‘Friends Concerts’ provide an informal opportunity for members to develop their performance capabilities and confidence in front of a supportive audience.

Audition details
Date: Wednesday 25 February, 2009,

Time: 7.30 to 8.30 pm (or by arrangement)

Location: Opanuku Rooms, Corban's Estate, 426 Great North Road, Henderson. See map.

Bring a copy of your music for the accompanist… or bring your own accompanist or backing track

Demonstrate what you love to perform

Opera to Oratorio, Classics to Cabaret

No obligation!

Further details:
Contact the Auditions Coordinator: Peter Mellalieu,
Mobile: 021 42 01 18
Email: petermellalieu@me.com

Monday, February 16, 2009

Join the live audience for 'Stars in your Eyes' - APril 2009

It's too late for me to apply to 'Stars in Your Eyes (New Zealand). But perhaps I will join in as audience for one of the shows.

Follow the green paper clip icon (Clipmark) to find more information about Stars in your Eyes (NZ).
clipped from tvnz.co.nz
Stars In Their Eyes is coming to New

Applications for the show have now closed. Keep an eye on
www.tvnz.co.nz for
more information on when Stars In Their Eyes is returning to TV

Organise a group of friends to come and be in our audience. You
will be guaranteed a great night out!

The live studio audience are an essential part of the show as they
get to vote for their favourite impersonator. Who sounded so good
they were even better than the real thing?   All episode
winners go through to a grand final at the end of the season.
DATES: April 3, 6, 8, 10, 13, 15, 21, 23, 25 &

VENUE: Life Convention Centre, 110 Montgomerie Rd,
Airport Oaks, Mangere

TIME: 6:30pm - 9.00pm

AGE LIMIT: 13 years and over

CONTACT:  TaniaMcDonald
 blog it

Sunday, January 11, 2009

BHAGs for 2009 - Setting your audacious goals

What are your music performance goals for 2009? Are they last years goals plus a little bit more? Have you written them down? Are your goals placed in a visible spot so you will be reminded of them each day? On your shaving or makeup mirror? On your computer's screen saver? ON YOUR BLOG??!

There is a school of thought that writing down succinct, over-ambitious goals is an excellent method to stimulate creativity and superlative performance. In my trade as a strategist, the term BHAG or Big Hairy Audacious Goals is used.

Key features of BHAGs are that
  1. You make your BHAG's 'public' ... to some degree beyond your inner consciousness
  2. They are excessively beyond your current and normal expectations of achievement
  3. You don't expect to achieve them
  4. You can imagine vividly the benefits of having achieved the BHAG
My BHAGs are in the early stages of evolution. They cover these areas:
  1. Gaining commissions to sing in solos, duets, and small groups.... as a basis for doing what I love to do before an appreciative audience, and earning an income
  2. Success in competitions ... as a basis for improving my performance quality
  3. Sharing my experience as a 'reflective practitioner' of performing arts to those who would gain value from my progress ... learners, teachers, coaches.
  4. Building my influence and impact as an innovation-focused director and leader in the field of performing and screen arts.
In a later posting, I will elaborate these themes into BHAGs. For example, under the theme of competition, one element of my BHAG is to win the NZ Aria Competition in 2009. However, I will be well-satisfied this year if I gain a position in the finals of the composition (10 positions). This BHAG is a stretch for me, as I require to prepare two Aria roles that are well-matched to my capabilities and compare strongly with the capabilities of young, ambitious, and well-trained full time singing students!

Well, it's time to go into recluse for a couple of weeks. Off-grid so far as the internet is concerned. Time for some mountain trecking, sailing, reading .... and commencing the track towards achieving my BHAGs!

Not Mordor and Mt Doom from Lord of the Rings. This is Mt Ngaruhoe viewed from Mt Ruapehu. These are active volcanoes across which I will be guiding a small group of visitors: the UNESCO World Heritage Tongariro Crossing.

(The location was used for filming some aspects of LOR.)


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Finding a singing teacher in New Zealand: NEWZATS

NEWZATS is the New Zealand Association of Teachers of Singing. The site gives guidance on what questions to ask your prospective teacher. And the reasons a teacher is valuable for developing your singing.

The NEWZATS site provides resources for both singers and singing teachers. Competitions in New Zealand are identified
clipped from www.newzats.org.nz

Find A Singing Teacher

Why are lessons important?
If you are serious about becoming a really good singer nothing can replace the one -to-one exchange that occurs in actual voice lessons
A good singing teacher can help you in many ways.
Regularly scheduled lessons.
Someone to hear you.
Expansion of your repertoire.
Networking with other singers and muscians.
Development of other musical skills.
Resource for further study

Questions to ask a Voice Teacher

What is your professional singing experience?
What is your teaching experience?
Did you study how to teach and if so, where?
What kind of musical styles do you teach?
What is a typical lesson like?
What kind of practice should I expect?
How often will we have lessons?
What other learning experiences can you provide - such as group classes,keyboard training,theory skills?
clipped from www.newzats.org.nz
 blog it

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Ladyblogger: Not another music blogger...

Example of a constructively critical musician afficiando....

I can see the challenge of developing a blog is to define a finely crafted niche of value to a select group of followers.... I'm in the early stage of learning.

Not another music blogger...

My opinions, like 'em or lump 'em.

Inspired by the great work of many, I've decided to add my voice to the world of the classical music blog.
I'm in my mid-twenties, with a fair bit more life experience than my age would suggest. Musician by calling. I know what I like, and I know what I don't like, and I'm not afraid to say it. That said, I'm a big softie and get very excited by new talent!
Why blog? Because I can, and because I love being able to share my passion for music with those who want to read about it.
Hesperion XXI live is an experience I will never forget. I've been a fan for some time, but I wasn't expecting quite the level of sublimity that was bestowed upon we, the lucky audience in the City Recital Hall last night. If I could stay a little longer, I would be there for the second concert on Saturday night - different program. That being impossible, however, I shall simply bask in the lasting afterglow of a supreme musical experience.
 blog it

Directory of singing industry resources in NZ

Here is a sample from the NZSearch directory. Individual singers, singing teachers, performance groups.

Not comprehensive by any means ... where are my choirs: ShowWest, Bach Choir of Wellington, Renaissance Singers, Auckland Welsh Choir.... you have to register your organisation on NZ Search!
clipped from www.nzsearch.co.nz
NZSearch web directory
DownloadsNews1. Sweet Adelines New Zealand - barbershop singing for womenOfficial Site
7. Singing Rainbows
10. Kathi Craig
DownloadsNews4. Nz Choral federationOfficial Site

New Zealand Choral Federation. NZCF choirs performing choral music, vision, self confidence for the art of group singing
clipped from www.nzsearch.co.nz
15. Fusion a capella quartet

Fusion are a hot young quartet based in Wellington, New Zealand. Conceived in 2002, this quartet is already making a reputation for themselves as an up and coming group. Their distinctive sound and youthful exuberance rub off on all the audiences they perform for.
clipped from www.nzsearch.co.nz
DownloadsAudio or Video25. Official Hayley Westenra WebsiteOfficial Site

Official Universal website of Hayley Westenra, NZ's multi-platinum selling teenage singing phenomenon. Her number 1 album of Operatic and Musical classics on Universal NZ has become one of the fastest selling NZ albums ever
DownloadsAudio or VideoNews27. People2View
for people who want to be discovered and get work
 blog it