Seal Lullaby – Vocal Workshop. The seal of approval.

Our vocal workshop, focusing on warm up and breathing exercises and getting to grips with Eric Whitacre’s the Seal Lullaby, proved a popular topic and we were delighted to welcome 6 guests.

Camilla Jeppesen instructed and assisted us to try different techniques for breathing while helping us to understand what our bodies are doing when we perform this vital function. Being the wonderful soprano singer that she is, we were keen to pick up the techniques. Applying them though, when you are thinking about notes, words, rhythm and dynamics, is a terrific challenge, but hopefully we will now all pay more attention to how we are breathing and the impact this has on our voices when singing.

The Seal Lullaby is a wonderful atmospheric piece of music that Whitacre composed to lyrics from Rudyard Kipling’s poem:

Oh! hush thee, my baby, the night is behind us,

And black are the waters that sparkled so green.

The moon, o'er the combers, looks downward to find us

At rest in the hollows that rustle between.

Where billow meets billow, there soft be thy pillow;

Ah, weary wee flipperling, curl at thy ease!

The storm shall not wake thee, nor shark overtake thee,

Asleep in the arms of the slow-swinging seas.

The music was composed in anticipation of being used for an animated film, ‘The White Seal’. In the event, the film was never made. How fortuitus, though, as we have as a result a charming song that is delightful to listen to and to sing. We were taken through the notes and parts by Julie Aherne – a tall order in one evening – but enough to give us the chance to sing it through at the end. Julie, always reminding and encouraging us to enjoy singing the tune, even if we couldn’t remember our notes.

We enjoyed a short break midway through the evening, taking some light refreshments, complete with yummy homemade cakes.

Breath, sing, eat – all worthwhile activities 😊. So, home to bed with a lullaby firmly implanted as an earworm to send us off to a good night’s sleep!

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