Experiences at YYC: Dominic Madden

Here is the second of the three blog entries written by members of the choir about their experiences at YYC. Dominic Madden was a new member of the choir at Easter who sang 2nd bass in the main choir (and was a pretty cool room-mate if I do say so myself). I think Dom introduces himself better than I ever could, so over to him.

Chapter 1. First impressions.

'Hi Dominic, if you'd like to follow me I'll show you to your room.'
Aha! I see my reputation precedes me.
Oh wait, I'm wearing a name tag.
Good start.

Chapter 2. A sense of creative belonging.
For those of you that haven't already met me I think it must be said that my most distinctive feature, apart from my goofy teeth, big ears, and clown feet, has to be my height. I'm built like a lanky drainpipe basically. And I think I knew I'd found my place with YYC when I discovered there was a whole row of basses dedicated to tall people. My choir at school mainly consists of midgets so I stick out like a sore thumb. It was a nice change as this way we got to stick out like a sore thumb together. More to the point they were a really friendly and welcoming set of thumbs.

Another thing about me is I was a lot older than the rest of the new members (17 going on 18) so when John asked us all to stand up so everyone could get a good look at us I towered WAAAAY over them all and, just as I always do in situations like this, I turned a fair shade of puce. It was a fault that worked in my favour in the end though as I did get an award for 'best blush'- it was nice to finally get the recognition I deserve.

But enough about me, I think I can say with all confidence that YYC harbours the professional musicians of tomorrow. It's a concentrated collection of scarily good singers who actually know what they're talking about, a deadly combination I am sure you will agree! For me it was also a musical learning curve; it was an environment of education that was seriously infectious and I couldn't help but be swept along with it. As well as great musicians John, Paul and Alison are also amazing at sharing everything they know with us in a manner that is engaging and inspiring. I felt so privileged, and judging by the way that they paid attention, so did everyone else.

But YYC is as much a social experience as a musical one. The mentor system really works to that extent and my mentor Hettie was brilliant. I have to say though, I think I saw another side to her when it came to the newspaper challenge. What she can't make out of a load of old additions of the Yorkshire Post isn't worth knowing about, but she gave me chocolate so it's okay.

I sat with a new person for breakfast everyday but whoever I was with I always felt like they were my friend and were genuinely interested in what I had to say. It made a nice change from having breakfast with my sister anyway, as that always ends in some type of hideous argument. The fact that I managed to get up at 8:10 practically every day and still make it down in time for my scrambled eggs on toast is a skill I that I fine tuned during the course. If getting changed quickly was an Olympic sport I would definitely be in the running for a medal. One of my room-mates Jake however liked to get up at the crack of dawn for whatever reason. I think it must have been the sheer excitement of another day at YYC, either that or he was too polite to tell me I snore.

Chapter 3. Swallow, don't cough.

I'm a bit of a mummy's boy, and although I may be old I was feeling prepared for the blight of homesickness. Frankly though I wasn't even given the opportunity, I was kept way too busy! YYC may not have been running for centuries but it already has its firmly established traditions. Firstly the Easter egg hunt where some teams went WILD, whilst my group took on a more laid back approach. Having been inspired by our recent explorations into the art of Pilates; we enjoyed the scenery, spotted some wildlife, talked about what we were having for dinner... It's fair to say I'm easily entertained; I get excited when there's a new pattern on my kitchen roll. Rather contrastingly when it came to the quiz I became a little bit more competitive/violent. I recounted the score recently and I'm almost certain we should've come 2nd. Not that I'm bothered. Go team Rhiandaflomshalivsie! (Actual name)

I promised myself that I would try and act 'normal' to limit the amount of embarrassment I could inflict upon myself. I reckon it lasted a good 3 days. I've yet to decide whether it actually worked but whatever facade I managed to create I'm pretty sure was thrown out of the window when it came to THE PANTOMIME! It was very... Entertaining lets put it that way- at least for me it was anyway, and on the matter I shall say no more.

This coincided with the talent night which was a real smorgasbord of emotions, great musicianship and the odd elaborate dance move. It was really humbling to see so many confident young people showcasing their downright amazing abilities, and for it to be so enthusiastically appreciated by an equally amazing audience.

I think another thing that cannot go unmentioned was the complicated set of trading circles for Strepsils which caused the air to have a permanent whiff of honey and lemon. I really enjoyed the fact that whenever I walked into a room I was being offered about 15 different coughs sweets. Much appreciated guys.

Chapter 4. Music is an addictive substance.

All of my life I have scowled when I sing. It's a curse which I entirely blame my father for as I've inherited his heavy brow which makes me look inherently evil when I'm concentrating. But, in all honesty, I was having so much fun, even if you couldn't tell.

I would really have enjoyed YYC when I was younger but I was way too shy and I seriously feel like it was a good 7 years of fun wasted. I don't think I realized how much it meant to some people until it came to the concert- I saw how the power of music and friendship could bring fully grown men to tears...

The repertoire was also like nothing I've ever experienced, it was so varied and entertaining, as I'm sure you'll already know, but in the end I think it turned me into a bit of a classicist. I'm not afraid to say that Brahms is now a permanent member of my revision playlist.

Chapter 5. Fin
I'm sure you've already heard this before but thank you everyone for making me feel so much at home, I really did have a whale of a time. I believe it's around 100 days to go, so not long now!

To those of you auditioning this time round- good luck (not that you'll need it, I mean I managed to get in so anyone can) and to those of you thinking about auditioning: quit your thinking and get on with it! What could you possibly be waiting for!?
Your good friend,


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