Thursday, 6 June 2013

Trust me, I'm a musician (sort of)

It was Shakespeare - he gets everywhere, doesn't he? - who said that we should not trust "The man that hath not music in himself". So here on Skopelos we've just gone through a great exercise in demonstrating our trustworthiness by having the first Skopelos Music Festival and a good week it was, too.

I admit to being slightly biased in that I took part in the festival as a member of a choir which formed and rehearsed over one weekend and then launched in to a series of performances. For those of you who are now shuddering having heard me sing solo (in the office, supermarket and pub) let me assure you that with a choir to sing with it's all fairly painless for the audience. Credit is due here to our choirmaster/musical director  or whatever, Rod Iliffe, a man of seemingly infinite patience and tact. My favourite phrase of his is: "Well done, you've got that half right". Hopefully, it was all right on the night.

Anyway, the Skopelos Festival Choir as we were rather grandly named, was but one part of seven evenings of performances of all kinds with a lot, and I do mean a lot, of the talent coming from local musicians who are already here on the island. Those of us who live here and frequent some of the tavernas can often see these musicians perform, but it was good, I think, for them to have the chance to show off their talents to a wider audience. The picture below shows the musicians who can often be seen at the Molos Taverna.

It's not my intention with this posting to offer a critique of the festival, as I have said I might be a little biased, but I really did enjoy the performances by Greek musicians. Ever since my first visit to Greece almost 30 years ago, it is the music of this country which, even on a rainy day in England, can transport me to this magical land. I may not always fully understand the songs of love, loss and longing, but they almost invariably score a direct emotional hit.

I was also quite impressed with the way the island's mayor, Giorgos Michelis, (yes, that does really come out as George Michael) took to the stage and sang. He's the gent in the grey suit in the picture below and he's pretty good. Maybe more civic dignitaries could follow his lead.

So that's really all I have to say on this first festival. I think it is an event that will be repeated and preliminary discussions have already taken place with the local authority so things are looking good. And, who knows, if there is another Skopelos Festival Choir I might even be tempted away from singing in the shower to join in again. And if you happen to be on the island then why not join in? You might surprise yourself.

I have no pictures of "my" choir so here is one of the Skopelos
Primary School Choir who were very good.

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