Monday, April 16, 2007

Town Hall Debut as Soloist

On March 19th, 2007, the Dannevirke News featured on its front page a quarter-page review of the St. Patrick's Day Irish concert at Dannevirke's recently renovated Art Deco theatre. The article was artistically written -- they have a new reporter who seems to have a reasonable grip on language and logic -- and the tenth paragraph declared:

"Narelle Worboys made her Dannevirke Town Hall debut with an effortless performance of "The Quest". Her crystal-clear voice soared easily to the back of the audience during this beautiful rendition and was appreciatively received."

View "The Impossible Dream":

The gown I wore for "The Impossible Dream" -- referred to as "The Quest" in the program -- was created for me by Deb Watkins. After 5 or 6 years of dreaming about it, I now have a Dress.

In the second half of the program (for which the reporters did not stay), I sang "The Mists of Islay", a soaring, melancholy melody which my teacher Ileana Otto-Johansen says suits my voice perfectly. The accompaniment is very pretty, and I loved the eerie, echoing quality I got from singing in the expanse of the Town Hall.

View "Mists of Islay":

I was amused to hear the compere, a high school geography teacher masquerading as Liam the Leprechaun, comment on the song's Irish charm, and asked him just how Irish does he think the Hebride Islands are? The song can't be considered purely Scottish, though, because the songwriter, Wishart Campbell, was Canadian.

I later explained to those in the audience of Scottish birth that I felt having an Irish-born great-grandmother whose daughter married my Scottish-born grandfather permitted me a certain amount of license when selecting my program.

For this Celtic lament I made a gown of pale green fabric embroidered with shamrocks, layered with a delicate crocheted shawl with long wispy fringe drooping over my fingertips. I was going for a misty look (dry ice is something that sensible singers avoid). Ileana said it made her think of fairies. Someone else said they thought of an angel with droopy wings (the strong lights made the dress look white). When I emerged from the wings, Mum heard an audible intake of breath from the two ladies seated next to her in the balcony, which she interpreted as surprised pleasure.

My outfits are distinctly different to the usual soloist garb of slinky, revealing dresses, so while I aim to match the theme of my music, I'm also making a statement for a web project that is being incubated by friends Genevieve, B'Ethel, and I -- Boutique Narelle, an internet helpline and resource for modelling modesty, the how-to of dressing with stylish practicality and feminine modesty.

The Bush Telegraph declared my performance was achieved with "no sign of nervousness", so I won't tell any secrets there. They seemed under the impression that I hadn't sung in public before. While I do have extensive performing experience with my siblings, it is quite a different thing to be alone on a large stage, faced with a large and unknown audience and solely responsible for the sound they will hear.

To give you an idea of the magnificence of our Town Hall, here are some photos of the interior taken during rehearsals. This blog doesn't accommodate sound bites, nor does my video camera do the acoustics justice. Suffice to say that the hall attracts bookings from nationally-recognized producers because it has a reputation for having the best acoustics outside of a main centre in New Zealand.

I was quite overwhelmed by the response to my singing. So many people came up to speak to me. Strangers shook my hand. People gave me hugs (thankfully that lot weren't strangers). And my Dad told me he cried when I sang "The Impossible Dream". I was very happy with what I achieved, and that people liked it so much. And I was very, very tired.

After the show, I came across all that was left of Liam the Leprechaun...

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