Listening to the news it seems that the world is just a big spread sheet, some of us never quite get the book keeping right and for that we must be punished because the faultless bankers and market forces are upset. I don't connect with this number crunching big brother banking universe. Its a man made system, derived from trading with beans. Meanwhile the artists and creatives soldier on making music and theatre and dance and films and poetry and stories and sculpture from drift wood. Lets all hold on to our culture and imagination, lets cherish our humanity, each other, fragile nature and the planet. We are more than numbers on a spread sheet.
Music is the healing balm, the wild beat, the symphonies of the sea, the voices of angels on earth..........
Children need to hear symphonic music, world music, folk, opera, jazz, they need to sing, play instruments, dance... All those who say classical music is elitist are philistines and misguided. To deprive children of a rounded and inspiring music education is joyless, grey, limiting, its educational fascism. I wholeheartedly agree with virtuoso violinist and educator Nicola Benedetti who says music is as important as Maths and English and should be integrated into the curriculum. Our human expression is shrinking if we just programme and allow computers to make our music, our art, to be the grand design masters of our imagination. If school music is a dumbed down experience or marginalized into insignificance, children will never capture the profound experience of hearing great works at an early age or learning an instrument. The arts are not a luxury for a few, all children deserve the best. Lets hear it for MUSIC......!!
Today would have been the World Premiere of The Phoenix Cantata at Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage site but sadly last time round we didn't get the funding. Disappointing though that was, I would like to mark the day, and myself and John Hancorn warmly greet the musical directors Mary Keith and Hannah Lawrence in Shropshire and the lovely singers in their choirs who all show such enthusiasm for the Cantata. I am also greeting all those at Old Park Primary School in Telford, the children and all the wonderful staff, who also have taken the Cantata to heart.
The sun is shining here in Sussex, my people's Cantata like its iconic name sake the Phoenix Bird is rising again. We are forging ahead down here with new funding bids, the musical odyssey continues.......
" Ring out the bells for freedom, for joy and hope and life renewed
Ring out the times for time will tell
The sounding of the Liberty Bell......
The Everyman Ensemble joined with the Paddock Singers women's choir in a spring concert in Lewes at St Johns sub Castro Church. Sea shanties, folk songs, andThe Ballad of Tom Paine were among the Everyman pieces. The Paddock pieces included songs by Bob Chilcott, Elgar and Spanish songs. Both choirs combined to sing my arrangememt of Scarborough Fair.
Solos from singers Ruth Kerr, Oliver Hicks and I played 2 solos of original music for piano, Silver and Flamenc Fire. It was an enjovable afternoon of music. The power of singing in community is thriving in Lewes.
International Women's Day
A day of solidarity and connection with women around the world. How wonderful to dance and celebrate today!
Local choirs joined John Hancorn and myself for a Phoenix Cantata taster workshop at Ironbridge - we were so impressed with the quality of local singers and MDs! John is pictured kneeling at the front, and I am on the far right wearing a pink scarf.
In October our Taster Workshop for the planned 2015 performance of the Phoenix Cantata at Ironbridge Gorge gathered singers and musical directors from various local choirs in Shropshire.
Conductor John Hancorn and myself had an enjoyable singing afternoon with around 30 singers. The Smugglers Song from the cantata seemed to be the favorite song of the session!
I also led a singing workshop at a local primary school in Telford for round 70 children and am delighted that the school would like to take part in the Cantata. A children's choir is one of the 4 Cantata choirs. Its a multi - generational work involving around 100 singers!
Ironbridge Gorge is an amazing elemental place. Although now it has 10 museums on the site and the furnaces are no longer burning, there is a sense of the "dark satanic mills" (ironworks!) of the 18th and 19th centuries, of the iron masters in their grand houses up on the hills, the wild River Severn running through it a constant reminder of the power of nature.
It's a very inspiring place, it would be amazing if we get to perform the world premier of the Cantata in the Gorge!
I was glad to see coverage of The Winter of the World in the Sussex Express. This concert on 26th October 2014 and was a way of commemorating the immense sacrifice of all those who lived through World War I.
The Everyman Ensemble (pictured) sang and John Hancorn was both conductor and musical director.
Well done everyone for their hard work and great performance! As the article says, it was an emotional and memorable evening!
Like snow leopards, women composers are rarely sighted but we are out here!
Currently waiting for the yes or no regarding a grant to enable me to take my Phoenix Cantata choral work to the cradle of the Industrial Revolution at Ironbridge Gorge in Shropshire ( May 2015). So pleased to be invited to perform the complete choral work at the iconic UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Musically 2014 has been very much to do with war. My new choral work for male choir entitled The Sword of Freedom, was a commission to commemorate the 750th anniversary of the Battle of Lewes 1264 - considered the birth of parliamentary democracy. I enjoyed the research and writing the words and music and was thankfully delighted by the wonderful response.
I also recently devised a multi media concert called The Winter of the World for Lewes Town Council to commemorate World War I. Both works were challenging terrain indeed but also it has been an honour to compose words and music for such landmark moments in history
I was delighted and overwhelmed by the standing ovation from the audience to the performance of The Sword of Freedom, 2014. The Everyman Ensemble were amazing! Thank you to conductor John Hancorn, congratulations guys!
Been neglecting my oldest and dearest friend lately, yes my piano! Planning to record some solo piano music before Christmas and 3 Spanish dances I've composed for piano and cello.
Pianos are so often the elephant in the room of instruments, and frequently get badly treated. I love the power of pianos, yes flutes and violins, guitars and cellos are all fine solo instruments but the piano to me (as a pianist) is queen!