On Monday 3rd December during our normal monthly meeting we were wonderfully entertained by Joanna Kunda. Her singing was just incredible, it was a feast for our ears.
She told us about herself and about each of the pieces she was singing. She was accompanied by her friend Varvara Maggs.
Towards the end of her performance she told us about the Polish traditions at Christmas and sang a Polish Christmas Carol. She then encouraged us all to join her in singing Christmas Carols. She even had us singing in two-part harmony!
Joanna is the Musical Director of a local Polish Choir Senza Nome and on the 26th January 2019 they will be holding an afternoon concert at the Polish Church in Coventry to Celebrate 10 years of singing and performing together. Well worth going to see if you are in the area. http://senzanome.co.uk/
Please read the rest of this article to find our more about Joanna and Varvara.
Joanna Kunda is a lirico spinto soprano, a pianist and a conductor.
Born in Poland, Joanna has trained and studied at Kazimierz Wielki University, Feliks Nowowiejski’ Conservatoire and Nicolaus Copernicus University.
She performed as Papagena in ”The Magic Flute”, Contessa in “The Marriage of Figaro”, Donna Elvira in ”Don Giovanni” by W.A.Mozart, Hanna in ”The Merry Widow” by F.Lehar, Pishtushka in “The Mikado” by Gilbert and Sullivan and Diana in “Orpheus in the Underworld” by J.Offenbach. She has also been a soloist of Early Music Consort for 17 years and sung in many concerts, competitions and festivals in most European countries. She received Honorary Distinctions from the Polish Choir and Orchestra Association.
Besides performing Joanna works for Birmingham Music Service and Princethorpe College as a Teacher of Vocal Studies and a choir director.
Since 2008 Joanna has directed the Senza Nome choir in Coventry. http://senzanome.co.uk/musical-director/
Varvara Maggs was a legendary child pianist in St Petersburg, Russia. At the age of eight she won first prize in the St Petersburg Concerto Competition for Young Pianists. Consequently, she performed Kabalevsky's Piano Concerto N3 with the St. Petersburg State Conservatoire Orchestra conducted by Mariss Jansons. Another concerto appearance was at the age of ten. She performed Beethoven Piano Concerto N2 with the Rimsky-Korsakov Symphony Orchestra conducted by Paulavichus. Subsequently they toured Finland, receiving excellent press reviews.
At fourteen she entered the Mussorgsky Music College, having obtained the highest entrance marks in the history of the college receiving numerous diplomas and prizes.
Shortly after her graduation from St. Perterburg Conservatoire she moved to the UK. She has been giving recitals across England, Wales and Russia. Her first recitals in London took place at St James Church Paddington and St Brides Church, Fleet street. The main venues where she performs in St Petersburg are: The Glinka Philharmonic Hall, The Hermitage Theatre, The Sheremetev Palace, The St. Petersburg State University.
In November our speaker was Mike West on ”History of the Fountain Pen”
We used quill pens for over 500 years. In the 1800’s John Mitchell of Birmingham mass produced metal pens and in the 1880’s employed over 2,050 women in his factory.
A quill knife was the original primary tool used for cutting and sharpening quills, known as "dressing". Following the decline of the quill, after the introduction of the maintenance-free, mass-produced steel dip nib by John Mitchell, knives were still manufactured but became known as desk knives, stationery knives or latterly as the name stuck "pen" knives.
The first fountain pens were produced by Waterman in 1884 closely followed by Parker in 1888.
Shrove Tuesday Rugby v Coventry Pancake Challenge
Our first inter-club pancake challenge took place in Rugby in 1995. Lunch is organised by the host club and the location of the challenge alternates between Rugby and Coventry. This year it was Coventry’s turn.
This year’s challenge took place at Earlsdon Methodist, Well Spring Café. Our President, Allison, was unable to attend due to her needing to attend a funeral but before she went she prepared a colourful array of fruit, produced a lovely flower decoration and made sure we had plenty of pancakes to eat. Everyone enjoyed jacket potatoes for lunch, cooked by the people who run the Jacket Potato Van parked on the forecourt of the church. Lucy and Brenda prepared a quiz and gave the thanks at the end.
The pancake challenge itself has slightly changed over time. We no longer run with the pancakes, now we have to toss them then pass the pan on to the next person. Starting and ending the race with a double toss.
The weather outside was wet and miserable but inside we shared warmth and friendship. A great opportunity to meet up with old friends and to make new ones.
This year the race was won by the 5 members from Rugby, Coventry came a close second.
Final meeting of 2017
After the meal President Alison, on behalf of the club, presented a gift of thanks to Rose for all the work she and the staff do throughout the year to make us all feel so welcome and looked after.
After the meeting we were entertained by members of the club with poems, reading and carols.
Mrs Jane Arnold and her able assistant Mrs Jill Thompson gave a splendid talk on how we should use our food and clothes rations wisely.
She talked about recipes from the Be-Ro Home Flour Cook book and demonstrated how to make mock banana sandwiches (made from parsnips with sugar and banana essence) and carrot cookies (carrots and raw potatoes).
Because you could not get any icing sugar your wedding cake may well have been made out of carboard with a much smaller edible cake inside.
When she talked about food rationing she mentioned the fact that it took until 2008 to repay our war debt to America on the Lend lease scheme for food and ammunitions.
Jane then went on to talk about the clothes, and mentioned the Harvest Festival under garments, “all is gathered in”. Clothes had utility labels to show that they were made from minimal material and minimal manufacturing. She also told us how we could make clothes from parachute material.
Jane was thanked for her most interesting talk and food demonstration by President Alison.
More photographs from the talk can be found on: http://bit.ly/2Dy3dDt
Life as a Church Warden
President Mary welcomed our guest speaker Ian and his wife Marjorie to our meeting as our guest speaker.
Ian is a Church Warden at St. Barbara’s Earlsdon Coventry. He was very pleased to tell us that when he moved to Coventry around 6 years ago amongst the first people to greet him were President Mary and President Alison.
The role of Church Warden was established in the 12th Century and is one of the oldest Lay Offices in the Church of England. The role includes looking after the Church funds, furniture, books, kitchen in fact everything that the church owns. As Warden you have to produce an annual inventory of what the church owns and every 5 years there is a detailed inspection carried out by the Church.
After the referendum the Wardens were given secular legal responsibilities such as being responsible for the Parish Constables, bridges and roads. He could demand that men of the parish worked on the upkeep of the roads for up to six days a year. Queen Elizabeth 1st added the job of looking after the poor of the parish to his list of responsibilities. Many of these responsibilities have now been passed on to local councils.
The Church Warden carries a Wand with a Mitre or Crown on the top. They are the senior layperson in the church and are responsible for everything except the sermon and music, they are the responsibility of the Vicar.
Once elected they cannot resign. Recently the law changed so that after 6 years they can have 2 years off before eligible for re-election. But if no one else can be found they can be asked to stay on in the role.
The Church Warden is the Bishop’s Officer in the Parish and has to send a detailed report to the Bishop each year. And if the Vicar does not turn up then the Warden has to take the service. The Warden is responsible for the Secular and Spiritual leadership of the Church.
At the end of this very interesting talk Ian was thanked by President Alison who also presented Ian and Marjorie with a token of our appreciation.
It is not every meeting that we have a talk from someone who has offices in Buckingham Palace. But on the 4th October, that is what happened.
Paul Leddington-Wright, Associate Director of Music at Coventry Cathedral is also Secretary to The Royal Almonry. He gave a fascinating talk on the history of Maundy Money. In the past the Monarch washed the feet of poor people on Maundy Thursday. This changed to giving out food and clothes during the time of the plague.
PANCAKE CHALLENGE 28th February 2017
YES, as usual we accepted the Inner Wheel of Rugby’s challenge this year. It was their turn to host it. We no longer run while tossing the pancakes but stand in two teams and pass the pan from one team member to another - each tossing it once. The fastest team wins. This year Rugby won the Frying Pan, which means both Clubs have now won it 10 times. The Frying Pan is painted with the name of the winner each year.
To complete the morning we also took part in a Pancake Day quiz and enjoyed tea, coffee and home made cakes!
In October Simon Thompson gave us a fascinating insight into his work as a Hedgehog Officer for Warwickshire Wildlife Trust. When he presents to schools he wears a hedgehog outfit but on this occasion he stuck to more comfortable clothing! We were surprised to learn that hedgehogs roam across wide areas and are not confined to one garden. Simon pointed out that:
“Something as basic as linking up a series of small isolated green patches with a hole no bigger than the size of a CD is a remarkably powerful and positive action for hedgehog conservation. Making these connections between our own fenced-in islands of green spaces creates a continuous habitat corridor through which hedgehogs can forage, seek shelter and even rendezvous with potential mates.”
If you find a hedgehog in your garden - don't feed it break and milk - this is very bad for them - cat food is best.
District Chairman Jill has selected Hearing Dogs for the Deaf as her Charity for the year.
The District 6 International Charity is the Chinthowa Trust.
The National President, Ann Acaster, has chosen Jessie's Fund (Music helping Children) for her charity.