HemiHelp Children helping Children Concert

  Cadogan Hall London Saturday  24th February 2007

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The big day arrived and me my Dad, and my big sister Laura, (who had come back from Uni specially to help out with our preparations, and see me perform in London) As we got ready we were listening to various sound bites I had made the week before to plug the charity concert with our local radio station Mix96, which my Dad was recording, they came on each hour and were slightly different each time, it was funny having breakfast listening to yourself on the radio.

We got ready to leave our home at 8am in the car, nice and relaxed we were, my Dad had planned everything in minute detail so what could go wrong, we had got everything for my debut on stage and my Dad had as usual covered every eventuality, so were started our journey in high spirits and excited about what was hopefully going to be a very enjoyable day after all.

We had been driving for about 45 mins, when I suddenly had a thought, where was my special Dolmetsch descant recorder, which had been in my hand all morning, to prevent me from forgetting to bring it, I announced that I thought I was missing my recorder, there was a stony silence in the car, then my Dad asked my sister, “Did you pick it up from the kitchen table dear,” and after what seemed like ages, she replied “no, I thought you did”, Dad told me he thought I had got it somewhere, and I told him “I thought Laura had it”, then the whole car came alive as we all blamed each other for being so silly as to forget my vital instrument.

My Dad said we must go back and get it right now, or we will miss the rehearsal altogether, so our relaxed and leisurely journey, turned into something of a nightmare, as my Dad did a u turn in the middle of the road, and we sped home as fast as we could, only slowing down when we saw a speed camera or a police car! It seemed to take ages, because the roads were now full of weekend motorists (as my Dad calls them), doing 29 miles an hour in the middle of the road, and so it was goodbye to my relaxed Dad, who said he wasn’t going to let anything spoil his little girl’s big day, and hello to the new Dad who was all stressed and shouty.

We eventually arrived at our house, all worn out and totally frazzled; we got the recorder, and started back to London at great speed. We were late for the rehearsal, Alice the organiser kept ringing my Dad on his mobile, to find out where I was, and he kept saying he hadn’t got a clue, as the roads had changed since he last drove down them, whatever road we were driving on, it wasn’t a one way street when I last came here, he kept saying, to add to the anxiety we kept getting lost, and Laura kept saying at this rate we will miss the concert as we drove round a roundabout for the second time.

When we eventually did get to the Codogan Hall, it was all locked up, we couldn’t get in so we had to phone and find out how, apparently artists go in via the stage door which was open all day, and manned by a doorman letting performers in and out. It was all getting serious now, we were ushered through to the stage were the other children were already busy rehearsing away without me! The auditorium was massive with a large gallery going round the top in a semicircle, and there were lights and microphones everywhere, there were sound men doing sound checks, and there were lighting people experimenting with different lighting effects, and a stage manager giving orders to everybody.

We managed to find the stairs to the stage and I joined in with the rehearsals, the thing that struck me on the stage was how I couldn’t see the audience, or rather empty seats, because of all the stage lights pointing at us, it was like looking into the dark night from an opened doorway, and it was also quite warm on stage, I think because of the lights directed onto us. My Dad had agreed to act as the official honary photographer for the event, so he was taking pictures from down below, but I couldn’t see him from the stage.

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Me at the Stage Door Cadogan Hall London

The adult musicians and me during a break from rehearsals.

Rehearsing on stage

Hayley Westenra rehearsing on stage

Getting the lighting right for Hayley Westenra

Hayley Westenra rehearsing on stage

Hayley Westenra and I