My name is Rosamund, and I am the new member of the Voices of London Festival committee!. I first heard about VoL when my dear friend Helen Smee casually mentioned to me back in 2013 that she and some friends from the Royal Academy of Music were thinking about setting up a 10-day choral extravaganza from scratch. I can vividly remember my immediate, and rather unsupportive reaction – “Do you have any idea what you’re going to be taking on?! It’s going to be an absolute nightmare!” The task seemed overwhelming and extraordinarily daunting. Oh, and apparently it wasn’t just going to be a few choirs singing some nice songs: the climax was to be a semi-staged Jonathan Harvey opera! I work for The Sixteen, and have experienced all the various challenges that go into running an already established concert series; I couldn’t imagine how they were going to pull this off. Whilst trying to make supportive noises, I’m afraid that I worried more than once that they would never manage it. Yet at the same time, the manic organiser within me couldn’t help feeling more than a twinge of jealousy at being involved in such an exciting endeavour, and started trying to sidle in with offers of help.
As the months went on I was of course was proved right about the nightmare – I’m sure they wouldn’t mind me saying that it was more work than they ever have been imagined at the outset. But it wasn’t just the heroic amount of work they put into it that impressed me, it was the fact that not only were they pulling it off, but they were pulling it off with undeniable aplomb! The highlight of the Festival for me was without doubt the finale – Jonathan Harvey’s chamber opera, Passion and Resurrection. It was possibly one of the most powerful performances I have ever attended, and it still makes me shiver to think of it. I sat frozen for several minutes afterwards, not really able to comprehend what I’d experienced or snap back into the real world. It was at that point that I ate my humble pie. Not only had they managed it, but it had been a triumph. The ambition of the project and sheer determination of the committee had not taken no for an answer.
So how did I get involved? I had been captivated by the Festival throughout, even when I had my doubts about it. I was incredibly honoured when the committee approached me in the Autumn of 2014 to offer me the opportunity of coming on board. Having worked in arts administration for a number of years and run a concert series, what I hope I can bring to the 2015 Festival is event coordination experience and fewer last-minute panics! My approach is that the conductors can sort out all the fancy artistic stuff, and I’ll run along behind them tightening all the nuts and bolts they put in to place last year! This time around I have no doubts at all- I can’t wait for this year’s festival, or the one after that, or indeed the one after that!