Florence Dewhurst

Week 3

This weekend got off to a good start when Joe Biden was elected as the 46th President of the USA. I’m hoping that by the time this article is published, Donald Trump will have graciously conceded. We have also had news of good progress being made on a Coronavirus vaccine. But of course, this is 2020, so nothing is certain. Cork even triumphed over Kerry in the football!

This year, of course, so many of our hobbies have changed – some ending rather abruptly.

It’s been my routine to go to speech and drama class on Monday evenings for the last 10 years. We engage in annual exams and competitive performances such as Feis Maitiu. Over the years, I’ve progressed from reciting six-line poems to completely improvising an entire scene on the spot! Before the second lockdown, we had a brief return to drama where we were faced with the new challenge of social distancing, in character.

Singing lessons have also changed. In September, we had a live lesson in the studio every second week, alternating with an online one. Now the restrictions have stopped the ‘in person’ singing. Zoom lessons mostly consist of my singing teacher asking; “Can you see me? Is your microphone on?” It would be an understatement to say I don’t enjoy the online singing lessons as much as in person.

Piano lessons play out similarly. I’m thankful for the online lessons when the internet is slow and my teacher is spared the full onslaught of my ill-prepared pieces.

I also had the ‘pleasure’ of doing a piano exam online during lockdown. This involved recording a video playing my scales and pieces, to send to the examination board.

My initial thought was: ‘Great, I’ll be able to re-record my pieces until they’re perfect’ – The reality was that I was driven completely insane by the perfectionist in me who was never satisfied with my performance.

I played the pieces about 70-times each, and when I was FINALLY happy, we realised that my phone audio wasn’t even switched on in my recordings!

My interest in acting and singing has inevitably led to me partaking in shows and performing on stage from a young age.

Being involved in different musical societies and pantos is my favourite thing in the world.

Musical theatre has by no means stopped completely. While in lockdown, I’ve taken part in two videos that were set up by Fermoy Musical Society. We even filmed a music video in the park to go with one of the songs we recorded.

Having participated in two or three shows per year, I began to realise a few things. Like, for instance, you need to be a good dancer if you want to be taken seriously. This is what caused me to take up dance classes this year. I’m not the world’s most natural dancer. This is not only because I have two left feet, but because everyone else has been dancing since they were five years old – which they don’t hesitate to remind me all the time. However, despite my lack of skills, I enjoyed the classes a lot, before they stopped when the country went into level three restrictions.

My brothers continue to participate in soccer and rowing. One of them is keen to get back to his scouting activities. Actually, an enduring memory from the summer just passed was a 64-kilometre hike over three days with the Fermoy Venture Scouts.

My feet are still recovering from that weekend, and it was one of the few times in Irish history when the weather was almost too hot outside. Despite my petty comments, I’ll admit that it was one of the highlights of my summer. As we are only a small group, Venture Scout meetings are still possible in the outdoors – remembering that ‘if it ain’t raining it ain’t training’.

Florence Dewhurst is a Transition Year student at Loreto School, Fermoy