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June 2019
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2012-07-18 a message from James

I am only back a few days from London, where I was singing at the wedding of my neighbour's son Brian to the beautiful Depali.

Many of you will have seen some pictures on Facebook. The church was beautiful (I'd sung there many times in my London days).... I suggested lots of different songs for my 2 slots, but the church was quite a strict one, and despite my protestations they only wanted "Panis Angelicus" and "Ave Maria" (Schubert's one!)...but hey, it seemed to go well....the rest of the music was beautiful too, and all went well. Brian's twin Derek married a beautiful Indian lady 3 years ago and they have a gorgeous little boy now....Derek's Best Man speech was fabulous. A really lovely memorable day in all.... My second wedding in a few weeks, as many of you will have now heard.....Deirdre Gilsenan Shannon Finn's wedding was equally beautiful and memorable in a different way. Majella (our pal on "Ten Thousand Tears?) sang LOADS that day. Gorgeous as always!
Beate, that was quite the review! A scary night for those of us who are not entirely confident playing the piano in public, but we seemed to get through it ok. Great to see Gabi and Santa again. And that was a total surprise! (There was also a surprise audient at the London wedding a few days ago....these surprisers....). Beate, it's been 9 years, but I think for you a LOT has happened....your Dad, your job, many foreign trips and cruises, your time in Ireland.....etc etc. A full 9 years I think for you?
I am busy at the moment learning Pinkerton for August 2nd for one performance with the same company who put on Turandot in January.... 2 lead Puccini roles in a year, kinda cool! I have done Pinkerton before, in English, but this time it's in is not the entire opera, but most of Pinkerton is in. He is a nasty piece of work, and I kinda like that, as it is boring playing the drippy wets! Looking forward to it.
Kenya....well.....I will let Ali give her impressions I think, as I have now been so many times. Kibera has not improved in my eyes. But we also this time visited Matasia Slum, which is (if possible) worse! One lady we visited lived in a tiny shed with her 3 kids, her brother and 4 goats. There was a fire in the middle of the little room to keep her warm. But when it rains they evacuate the shed and sleep rough! Awful. We went to the Dumpsite where Malik was found a year ago, and there were about 20 Maliks this time....worse! And a mother and toddler...both high on glue! Loads of others lying around 'high'..... So no improvement there again in my eyes.
Cheryl's seems to be coping (just) without Sam. Some of the older kids are doing great, in school, and college.... great role models. The 4 ladies at the helm in Cheryl's are inspiring. Joseph was in great form, and is turning into a young gentleman.....and very funny! But he cried in a BAD way when we were leaving, which is always so difficult. But all in all, Cheryl's is doing ok! We were able to bring them cash from CDs....and other positive developments too!
St Paul's had had another 'baby delivery' the week we were there.....another "Hope" (who is doing great incidentally). Naomi was heard in a dustbin in a bag, and rescued... she was about a day old. She should be fine. But it made us think - how many Naomis and Hopes are never found. It could wreck your head...if you let it.... so it is important to not bring it all far as possible.
Dream Children's Home is wonderful! Rachel and Stephen are great, and if you want to sponsor a kid here....just say the word! We built classrooms there..... and they are done. Twins and their elder sister Carol arrived looking lost and upset the day we were there, but by the end of the week, they were smiling! It is a lovely set up there and in a lovely location.
The building team were lovely....Maxine is fabulous! Father Gabriel had a very grounding trip....spoken to him a few times already since home.
I suppose the one thing I always find VERY difficult is orphans with cancer. I can't cope with that. Isn't it enough that an orphan is an orphan? Then they get cancer. What is that about? The ultimate cruelty.
Anyway....Puccini is calling me...... I have gone on about 5 times longer than intended!
Love to each and every one of you!