Saturday 10th June 2017

I had such a wonderful, inspiring evening tonight.

My oldest and best friend, David Reece - a fellow singing enthusiast - was performing tonight with the Salisbury Chamber Chorus and a fabulous, brilliant percussion quartet, called Beaten Track Ensemble.

The World Premier of new piece, "Space, Time, Energy, Matter", written by the leader of the chorus, Simon McEnery - it is a suite of musical settings of words, spoken, or written by famous scientists and adventurers, including Steven Hawking, Carl Sagan, Richard Feynmann, Albert Einstein, Valentin Lebedev, Buzz Aldrin, to name but some..

It was a challenging piece of modern music, but mesmerising, spellbinding, exciting and uplifting. The chorus and all the soloists were absolutely magnificent...

Oh, and the percussion ensemble ; oh, well. just so focused, on (and off, where necessary) the beat. Versatile, accomplished, young musicians - I spoke to them after the concert, told them about More Than Just A Choir and they have agreed, enthusiastically, to come up and visit us one day and do a workshop.

An amazing day, today.

Singing with the BBC

A report from the front-line of song....
Sitting in front of a hot PC screen, on an even hotter, sultry, sunny afternoon, I am picturing in my mind, the amazing evening of Tuesday last, with the whirlwind, joyful energy and direction of Rebecca Lodge from the BBC Singers....

A quick word of reassurance..... if anyone was sitting in the ranks, trying to sing the harmonies of Leonard Bernstein's "America", with Rebecca beaming away and saying, "Wow, amazing - you've got it; brilliant!" and wondering which choir she was talking about, don't worry, I'm right with you!

I, certainly, was singing some (possibly) of the right notes,but, as the late, great comic, Eric Morecambe said, "...but not necessarily in the right order!"

So, if anybody is struggling and wondering what it was all about....

I did enjoy the effort of having to listen and just go for it.  I loved the fact that we were being treated like professionals.  I loved, above all, seeing a record, 41 people in the room, all, in their own way, focussing, giving it a go and just trying to make the most of what was a new, great, musical adventure.

Rebecca will be back with us on Saturday afternoon, 25th July, 1:00 - 4:00 pm. Please, please do book that date in your diary for a delightful vocal workout.
Tuesday was an introduction, so that we and Rebecca could get to know each other, how we worked, our differing  expectations, desires and abilities and bring that all together to produce, what was, no doubt, a magnificent sound.

The best advice I took away with me that night was:
"Smile, stand tall and proud, sing a brilliant first line, a tremendous last line and whatever happens in the middle, keep smiling, standing proud and unashamedly move your mouth up and down!"

Also a pleasure was seeing the delight and dancing for joy of Emma Brooks!
I am so grateful to have this opportunity to work with some of the best musicians (yes, singers are musicians, too!) in the world.

Associated Dates:
Saturday 25th July: The Bridge.  1:00 - 4:00pm
Saturday 5th September - Royal College of Music 10:00am
Saturday 5th September - Royal Albert Hall 7:00pm.
(Places are limited, so please confirm with me if you will be attending!)

Thanks to Philip & Bryan at the Tonic Choirs, to Garth McArthur & Rebecca Lodge at the BBC Singers.

Cheers and keep singing!




This is my first blog on the newly minted Harrow Community Choir website.... A work in progress

A huge thank you from me to Emma Brooks, my Co-music Director, and from Emma and me to all the choir.

The dark, the wind, the rain!  Nothing stopped us.  We tramped our way, in good high spirits, into the unknown this evening...   In the near pitch black, with mere clip on book-reading lights attached, we sang our way through several songs at the Harrow Fireworks display, Byron Park in Wealdstone.

I'm so excited and proud for us to have done this - a new step for us as a group.  What are the firsts? First gig in the dark.  First gig in the rain. First gig using microphones fro the choir. First gig  in the mud.  First gig in front of a potential audience of hundreds, if not thousands.

Was it it perfect?  Oh no. Was it well received.  Oh yes!  Was it fun?  Immense.  Was it a challenge. A huge challenge and worth the all the anxiety dreams and worrying about it.  By the time today came, we had rehearsed, organised the sound system, as much as possible,... bought the reading lights (thanks AJ).  All that was left was, as often is the case, to hope that the weather was merciful, that people would turn up and that we would do our best.

One of the finest examples of organised chaos as I've seen for while.

Firstly - everyone who said they would come, indeed, turned up, as well as a few extras!  It was several members' first performance - and what a day to chose!

We even had someone turn up at rehearsal for the first time ever and he performed this evening with us at the gig.

We were surprised and delighted to see Janet Deci Bell, a former music director of the choir, come to see us in action. Been a long while!

So, why the serendipity in the title, serendipity being the result of a happy chance?  Well, the happy chance in question was Emma chatting to Phyllis. a choir member, in Harrow, a couple of weeks ago, about the choir, how we've come on and how well we are doing... They happened to be overheard by David Silber, the organiser, producer and promoter of the Fireworks display.  He introduced himself and asked if the choir would like to sing at the display... Of course we jumped at the opportunity and here we are, one serendipitous gig later.

Everyone turned up for rehearsal, which was actually very uplifting.  The willingness of people to be there in hope that the show would go on despite the rain, really made us feel that we are a part of something very special.

All in all, a wonderful evening, a new milestone and a further strengthening of the bonds that hold this group together as a community within the community of Harrow.

And lovely, too the visit from Jo Sarkany, who has worked with the choir for the last two summers, now herself a student again, studying Music Therapy at the Anglia Ruskin University. Her husband and daughter met the choir for the first time, tonight.

Terry at Flash Musicals very kindly provided us with really good microphones to help set us on our next first! Thanks Terry for your generosity.

That's about it for now... Feel free to wander around the site - very basic, I know;  watch this space.  The Website team are doing a great job -  lots more to come. And more about the team in the future.


David Phelops