In August 2013, I joined the Sing To Beat Breast Cancer choir – this video is of Camilla Kerslake, Blake and the Sing To Beat Breast Cancer choir singing “You Raise Me Up”.
The story behind the recording…
In 2011 Camilla Kerslake put her classical singing career on hold, when her mother – my friend Deborah Kerslake – was diagnosed with breast cancer.
In August 2013, Deborah told me that Camilla and classical boy band Blake were recording a single on behalf of the Breast Cancer Campaign charity – and that Camilla wanted to form a choir to sing the song with them.
“Would you like to be in the choir?” Deborah asked.
“Silly question!! Of course,” I replied.
“Good. Do you know anyone else who’s had breast cancer and can sing – and who can come to an audition next week?”
Thanks to the help of another friend, Gosia Gorna – a life coach at the Breast Cancer Haven, in Fulham, London – we were able to get in contact with several ladies who could indeed sing, and who were excited to be involved. Together with a handful of women who had found out about the choir through Camilla’s website, we all descended on Price Studios in Battersea, London, one sunny day in August.
The Sing To Beat Breast Cancer choir was born!
Many of the women in the choir have never performed – or even sung – before. A few, including myself, have sung on stage – but certainly not at this level. Since recording the single, it’s been a whirlwind of performances, photo shoots and pink carpet rides!
So far, in September and October 2013, the Sing To Beat Breast Cancer choir has performed
And there’s still more to come!
Every single choir member feel so honoured and privileged to be involved in this project, helping to raise funds for breast cancer research and showing solidarity with anyone who is living with breast cancer. And we’re loving every minute of it!
Who would have guessed that having breast cancer and being able to sing would lead to such an extraordinary experience!
Find out more about the choir on the Sing To Beat Breast Cancer choir website.
There are lots of articles on the interweb, explaining introversion – but in this beautiful video by Nic Askew, Brenda Knowles poignantly describes the experience of being an introvert.
THE SPACE WE NEED from Nic Askew (Soul Biographies) on Vimeo.
I recently went along to my first ever Instameet. I had never heard of Instameets before, but apparently they’re all the rage on Instagram – which I’m not currently a member of, as I don’t have an iPhone… This video explains what an Instameet is all about.
As the link with Instagram might suggest, an Instameet is an opportunity for photographers to get together and take photographs. It’s a bit like a flashmob for introverts – a group of people gathers in one place, blends in to the background, then one by one, they suddenly start taking photographs!
I found out about the Instameet on Susannah Conway‘s blog – I did one of her programmes earlier in the year – so although I’m not big on getting together with a group of total strangers, I felt comforted that there would at least be one person there that I’d know!
This particular Instameet was organised by Xanthe Berkeley. We all met up outside Moorgate station, and headed off in the direction of the Barbican, following the “yellow line”, then through Smithfield Market, and on to Clerkenwell Road, where we stopped for refreshments before going our separate ways.
I really enjoyed myself, actually – it’s a great way for introverts to meet up, because you have a common purpose – to walk a particular route and take photos – and you get to meet some lovely people.
This summer, I signed up for a lovely on-line course, run by a couple of friends of mine: Connect To Nature – Connect To Self. It involves spending time in nature, taking photographs (one of my favourite pastimes), writing, painting, creating mandalas… The list is almost endless!
My first foray into nature was to visit Newlands Corner, near Guildford, Surrey (UK). We’ve driven past it lots of times, and as you turn the corner, there’s an amazing vista of the Surrey Hills – so I’ve always intended to spend some time there. This seemed like the perfect opportunity.
The first time I visited, it was very hot and very windy – hot air rising in gusts from the valley below. I wandered around for a while, taking photgraphs – but I soon realised I wasn’t enjoying myself. So instead, I sat in the shade of an old oak tree, got out my Kindle, and read for a while. Bliss.
I realised there’s no point in forcing yourself to do something – even if it’s something you love – if it doesn’t feel right, at that moment. I don’t know whether it was the heat, or the wind; the fact that there were more people there than I had expected; or whether I had simply built the place up in my mind, and it somehow didn’t live up to my expectations.
A few days later, I thought I would give it another go. This time, as soon as I arrived it started to rain. In torrents. So, being a fair-weather kind of adventurer, I had to resort to sitting in the car, peering through the drenched windscreen at the view, until the rain stopped.
When the rain clouds eventually parted, and I ventured out, all was lush and green, with hardly a hint of dampness underfoot. This time, I felt in my element – crouching down to get up-close-and-personal with colourful and sometimes exotic-looking flora and fauna.
After a good stretch of the legs, I found a curvaceous bench – unlike the run-of-the-mill municipal benches that usually adorn our Areas of Outsanding Naturaly Beauty. The inscription read “Roger Cooper – 1937-1996″. I decided to “visit” Mr Cooper for a while, and got to wondering who he might have been, to merit his own distinctly styled bench. A local dignitary, perhaps? Or an artist?
As I sat and pondered the identity of my host, the heavens opened yet again, and I decided it was time to head home. Despite my raincoat, my jeans and T-shirt were soaked through, on the long walk back – but I didn’t care! The afternoon had been perfect, despite the inclement weather. I had connected with nature, and I had the photographs to prove it!