Synergy represented by

Julia Batchelor, Micaela Haslam

Julia in our dressing room

“Julia and I had a lovely meal and stayed at Mandy’s place in West London on 7th, before taking a hideously early flight to Amsterdam on the day of the concert. From Schipol airport, we took a direct train to Eindhoven, checked in at the hotel and went straight back to bed! Actually, we had to wait a little while for the rooms to be ready, then I had to change rooms as the heating wasn’t working in mine, so that left less than an hour to make up for half a night’s sleep. Still we knew the 4pm rehearsal wouldn’t take long, so we could have another snooze after that. Once again however, that snooze ended up being less than an hour, so we just had to look forward to a long night’s kip after the concert!

Lovely to see everyone again of course, but also a bit sad as we knew this would be the last time we’d work with them for the foreseeable future. This extended Reich project had produced a team that felt like one big happy family. There was much talk about the possibility of future collaborations, a world tour (indeed world domination!) – and Julia and I offered to join Asko|Schönberg as permanent members of the ensemble. We look forward to receiving our contracts in the post, Willem!

Muziekcentrum Frits Philip

The Muziekcentrum Frits Philip was sold out, which is always an excellent start to a concert. There was quite a long pre-concert talk at the beginning of the evening (8.15pm), about America in the 60’s and 70’s. I think that the talk was actually a bit too long as we didn’t get on stage until 9pm and the audience looked a bit tired by the end. Still we got a standing ovation which was lovely.

All the players headed straight back to Amsterdam after the concert. They couldn’t quite believe that we had chosen to stay in Eindhoven. There were many gentle quips about the architecture (lots of concrete), the scenery (lack thereof) and the weather (dull and grey), but it was noted that the people of Eindhoven were nice!

Needless to say, neither of us had a good night’s sleep after the concert. Why is it that you can’t sleep when you most need to? – so frustrating! Still, all we had to do the following morning was get up, eat breakfast and travel. Only a few brain cells required to catch the right train and find the right departure gate at the airport.

I must say I’m so pleased to have had this opportunity to make a (hopefully lasting) connection with Asko|Schönberg. I guess I have always been an instrumentalist at heart (perhaps an “instrumental singer” now) and this sort of music-making is where I feel most at home. The working atmosphere these players have created is exactly what I try to emulate in Synergy Vocals – one of enjoyment, high standards, mutual support, and with egos firmly in check. At Asko|Schönberg, everybody had done their homework, rehearsals were efficient, nobody was scowled at for offering suggestions, no-one took offense when constructive criticism was offered; there was no “point-scoring” and a good laugh was had by all. In my book, the only motivation should be to give one’s best to the music and to the audience, whilst having as much fun as possible. This project was a lovely reminder that it can be done. As young Sebastian Batchelor-Walsh would say – “more please!”


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