What a night (Liquid State, Cambridge Corn Ex)

Julia: Soprano (although soon to move back to the Alto’s – those sustained top notes are not quite as accessible as I’d once hoped – I know my limitations!) 

What a night!  Colossal?  Most certainly.  But many, many other adjectives spring to mind too – exhilarating, surprising, exhausting, inspiring, surprising, uplifting...  I could go on… 

The Dowsing for Sound gig at the Corn Exchange on Saturday was all these and more and will be remembered as a resounding success on so many different levels.  The cheers, whistles and applause, interspersed with whoops of joy, were deafening at the end and it was clear that we Dowsers had done what we’d set out to achieve.  Between us we had somehow taken the place by storm and created something powerful, astonishing and full of joy.  Responses were so encouraging – one member of the audience, a lighting technician for some of the biggest bands in the world, was quite honestly amazed by the quality of the performance.  He said, ‘ It’s easy for all those guys I work with, who have millions, to put on a great show, to bamboozle and impress with all their effects and gizmos – what you all did was real and from the heart, it was incredible’!

Music speaks to us all and we must continue to make it a part of our lives- after all, it feeds and sustains us when nothing else will and above all, brings us joy.  Much has already been beautifully articulated about the quality and value of the ‘Dowsing’ experience – the fact that absolutely none of it is driven by ego, or the desire to stand up in the limelight and say ‘look at me’, but is instead about the fellowship, the connections made, the sharing of collective experience, and the acknowledgment that in all of us there is a need, a primal instinct perhaps, to draw together and celebrate life.  On Saturday, we were linked by our common humanity to celebrate with all our hearts – we celebrated Will’s life, the fact that despite all, he is undoubtedly here, mesmerising us all with his beautiful voice, but above all, we sang to celebrate the vision and inspiration of one woman, Andrea, without whom none of this would have been possible and who has single-handedly touched the lives of so many people.  We sang to do her proud – for all the hard work, long hours, anxiety and energy she has expended as well as in acknowledgement of her incredible musical skills.  She’s clearly a brilliant thinker, and a human dynamo, but perhaps most importantly she has, by some strange alchemy, managed to get such a disparate group of people together; has challenged, encouraged, accepted and supported them as they take a leap into the unknown and by doing so, has created something precious.

It occurred to me a while ago that Andrea doesn’t have a negative bone in her body – she’s most definitely hard-wired to be positive and encouraging, a quality needed in abundance when faced with a group of Dowsers, many of whom have never before sung in public, and indeed are doubtful that their own ability will ever be able to make hearts soar.  Many of us are all too aware that we can pretty well hit the right notes but that, as Eric Morecambe once famously said, ‘they’re not necessarily in the right order’!  Andrea’s enthusiasm and belief in us allows us to accept where we are, while pushing us forwards, progressing and improving – did any of us honestly think we’d be able to hold an audience entranced as we sang in Icelandic?!

My personal feelings about Dowsing can be summed up by something I happened to find on one of my daughter’s old t- shirts – I was clearing stuff out for the local charity shop and came across it by chance.  It was grey and grungey, with colours overlaid like graffiti on the front.  But four words stood out – ‘Participate, Listen, Support’ Embrace’ – they’re good words, positive and nurturing, just like Dowsing for Sound.