Elgar’s Cello and the Nonnatus Blanket

It was quite a Sunday evening.

My wife, Sue, and I had the delight of attending the concluding concert of the 2013 Canberra Music Festival. We had perfect seats … any closer and would have been playing double basses.

The program included Ralph Vaughan Williams Serenade to Music for 12 singers and orchestra and Edward Elgar’s Cello ConcertoPieter Wispelwey was the cello soloist.

DB-peelman-wide-20130329152913112397-620x349We arrived in the auditorium ten minutes before the start of the concert. Whilst we were waiting to go in a number of the younger musicians pushed through the queue to get back stage. It started me thinking about warm ups. It was fascinating to see members of the orchestra arrive on stage at different times in the last ten minutes before the performance. Each had a different warm up routine. All of them came together in the final minute before the conductor, Roland Peelman, arrived. The lead violinst ensured the orchestra was in tune and in harmony. Two minutes later they were playing the most remarkable music.

Each followed the close direction of the conductor.

primeras-imagenes-Llama-comadrona_MDSIMA20130227_0336_37When we arrived home from the concert we watched a recording of the concluding episode of Call the Midwife and discovered the wonderful powers of a Nonnatus blanket. In the final episode the cast knit blanket squares and worked together to combines the squares into a whole blanket. This is used to warm a sick friend.

Both events left me thinking how we create performances that are greater than the sum of the parts and the role leaders play in this process. Both events reaffirmed for me how much we can learn about performance in sport from performing artists.

Photo Credits

Robert Peelman (Canberra Times)

Nonnatus House

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