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Celebrating International Women’s Day with music

I first read about Music Durham on the University website prior to coming to Durham from Goa in India and knew that I simply had to get involved in it! After a crazy Freshers’ Week (…and first month) full of auditions and call-backs (both music and theatre, since I was apparently very keen to get involved!), I was ultimately part of Durham University Choral Society (DUCS) and Durham Opera Ensemble (DOE – a Durham Student Theatre society) in my first year. I continued to perform with DOE in my second year (who wouldn’t want to spend time dancing and singing amazing music in period costumes?) in addition to being a Choral Scholar at St. Chad’s Chapel Choir. I also ventured into the administrative side of music, as I was Music Durham’s Concert Manager and was responsible for organising and promoting Music Durham’s weekly Lunchtime Concerts.

My third year has been comparatively busier than the last two (in terms of the academic workload), however, I did get the chance to Co-Musical Direct DOE’s first term show, ‘An Introduction to Opera’, which was released virtually. I’ve recently developed an interest in conducting and have therefore been working on my conducting skills with the help of Music Durham’s newest society – Durham University Conductors’ Society (DUCoS – do check it out, you don’t need any prior conducting experience to get involved!)

The perfect piece for International Women’s Day

Earlier this year, I had shown my friend Ruby the sheet music of some of my new repertoire. One of these pieces, “Old Fisherman with Guitar”, by Scottish composer Claire Liddell, particularly held our interest because of the way and the extent to which the music and musical directions reflect, emphasize and enhance the poetry of the lyrics. We also found no existing recordings of it and were therefore even more interested in trying it out. Soon after this, Ruby saw a call for performers for this year’s International Women’s Day concert and we decided to sign up to perform this piece

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Screenshot from one of our online rehearsals

Rehearsing online

Organising rehearsals for the concert has been particularly challenging as the piece employs a free rhythm, as well as multiple tempo and time signature changes. We attempted a Zoom rehearsal, which (as anyone who has tried this might expect) was rather unsuccessful due to the time lag on Zoom. Eventually we decided to send each other recordings of our parts so that we both had an idea of how the other intended to interpret the piece, followed by me recording the vocal line and sending it to Ruby so she could record the accompaniment according to the vocals.

International Women’s Day Concert 2021

I’m very excited to be performing at this year’s International Women’s Day concert as it showcases a number of remarkable female composers and fascinating pieces of music every year. The concert will be performed online on Monday 8 March from 1:15pm and is completely FREE. The audience can expect to be introduced to some great music by female composers, including a piece by one of our own third year Music students (how exciting!) from a wide range of genres and a great set of performers I’m honoured to share a stage (albeit virtual) with.
I hope to see you all there!

Find out more about Music Durham and the FREE online concert to celebrate International Women’s Day.

Amanda Botelho

Hello! My name is Amanda and I am a final year Music student at University College. I sing and play the piano (and occasionally venture into percussion and anything else that I temporarily fancy!)
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