GETTING TO KNOW JOSIE D’ARBY – PRESENTER OF CHOIR OF THE YEAR 2012

With just a few days left to go until the Choir of the Year 2012 Grand Final at Royal Festival Hall, we caught up with show’s presenter Josie d’Arby ahead of the big day.

You’re going to be presenting at the Choir of the Year 2012 Grand Final this Sunday. What are you most looking forward to about the concert?
This is my fourth time presenting on this competition and I think the thing that always impresses me the most is the that the competition always brings out the best in these already excellent choirs. They seem to thrive on the pressure and no matter how well they’ve sung in the heats, something about the final brings out even more. It makes it a joy for the music lover but also a thrilling competition.

Can you tell us anything about the music we can expect to hear being performed?
Let’s just say the ladies are very well represented this year and everyone has gone for a repertoire which will both challenge them and entertain the audience. Should be a gorgeous afternoon.

Have you ever performed as part of a choir / a musical ensemble
I have , I have been in church choirs and I was also part of the choir at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art for three years, so I know very well how wonderful it feels to sing as part of an ensemble and how you all lean on each other. And when you get it right: it’s magical.

Did you find performing as part of an ensemble to be particularly rewarding experience?
Incredibly rewarding , being part of any team has its own unique specialness, the friendships forged and of course it’s a lovely social activity but above all playing your part in the whole, is the essence of what teamwork is about and a lovely thing to experience

What other talents or skills would you like to possess?
Haha, I’m something of a jack of all trades and put a lot of effort into a lot of different things – still I would like to be a better singer. I used to sing a lot, it used to be my main thing but I haven’t sung in such a long time that my instrument is somewhat rusty and that muscle very weak. Still I get a thrill listening to others who have honed their craft.

Is there a piece of music you would pick out as one of the ‘best’ works ever written?
For a music lover such as myself that is an impossible question. To narrow it down, In terms of choral music, I would say I like the classics, like Handel’s Messiah , it’s so stirring but equally a good gospel choir can send chills down your spine. When the music and the meaning come together wonderful things can happen for the listener.

And is there a work that is for you, emotionally, especially important?
Again so many , when I listen to music I really open myself up and allow it to have the desired effect on me, there are so many pieces that bring to the fore so many wonderful emotions, again it would be impossible to narrow it down. I have a soft spot for strings though, in all their forms….

If you could programme your ideal Southbank Centre show, which artists (living or dead) would you bring together?
These questions are so hard, my taste is so eclectic but Nina Simone would be there, Van Morrison, Berlin philharmonic Andre Rieu and Yanna.

What is the most played piece of music on your mp3 player or in your CD collection?
Possibly ‘ a love before time’ from the ‘crouching tiger hidden dragon’ soundtrack a lovely song called ‘the promise’ by Yanna and Gold by spandau ballet – random I know.

Do you have any strange rituals you carry out before appearing on stage?
I like to say a little prayer and give thanks for the opportunity to once again do something I enjoy so much

@josiedarby
josiedarby.com

Limited tickets are still available for the Choir of the Year 2012 Grand Final.
CLICK HERE to buy yours!
To find out more about the competition, you can visit: www.choiroftheyear.co.uk

LONDON ON FILM PODCAST: A SNEAK PEAK

Presenter Mark Kermode and conductor Robert Ziegler talk about their upcoming concert, London On Film with the BBC Concert Orchestra and special guests Jeff Beck and Pete Townshend. Mark tells us how the concert came about and what he’s looking forward to, and Robert gives us an insight into the world of music and film. Recorded with thanks to BBC 6Music

London on Film is taking place on 11 June in the Queen Elizabeth Hall. To find out more and to book tickets click here.