As I am sitting writing this up, I am feeling completely exhausted but also quite accomplished as well as having a lovely sense of having been part of something really important and meaningful for the cultural life of Belfast, my city and home to a certain Clive Staples Lewis. The event I am referring to was the Belfast Philharmonic Society’s 140th Anniversary Gala Concert.
The reason I refer to C.S.Lewis is that the evening culminated in the world premiere of a piece specially commissioned for the society called ‘The Seven Heavens’ composed by a remarkably gifted and modest James Whitbourn. The whole evening was truly inspiring and to have been a part of such a meaningful project was a real privilege. I am still trying to make sense of everything that has happened this week and the awe I felt when everything finally came together – the Ulster Orchestra, the Mulholland Organ, the Belfast Phil Kids and the Belfast Philharmonic choir, all under the guidance and leadership of our chorus master, Stephen Dougty.
So much organisation, team work, co-operation and vision have gone into seeing this whole project through to completion – from getting the 170 choir members onto the stage in the right order and in the right seats, to designing programmes, programme notes, promotion, to learning the notes on the page and making them into something more than little dots on ledger lines. Despite some of the press we get in the news in Norn Iron, there are very creative, industrious, thoughtful people in this part of the world and we can all get on with each other pretty well.
As for the piece itself, it was stunning. There will be another opportunity to hear it again on one of the BBC radio stations – wish I could remember which one! Apart from the musicality of it all, I now want to go back and re-read all the C.S.Lewis books I once cherished as a child and then as a young adult. Unfortunately, they were so good I felt compelled to share them and lend them out to some of my friends and then donate to the Church library. One of the many things I never liked about Kindles is that you can’t pass on a really good book. (There are other things I still don’t get about Electronic reading devices but I’ll save that for another time!)
In other news, and completely unrelated, I am now qualified to take indoor group cycling classes. I have no intention of doing so but there was a course on offer and I decided to do it. I wanted a challenge and that’s what I got. I actually cried during the first spin session of the day but then got over myself, didn’t walk out and stayed to the end. My certificate is now stuck to the fridge door – yes, I am a big child!
I did a slow 10K a couple of days after the indoor cycling course though I’m not sure how wise that was as my legs were still pretty much knackered and I was left completely bereft of any energy in quite a busy week. I’m not really good at spoon budgeting. (‘The Spoon Theory': http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/)
As far as this week goes, I have a lot of marking and reporting to do but I have to make time for my training. I have a personal training session on Tuesday and want to fit in a couple of jogs and a spin session. I find spin is a great cardio workout as well as leg strengthening without inflicting pain on my hips which do give me a bit of grief from time to time. I now have my Wednesday night’s back to myself so therefore more time.