August 2019. Resuming.

August 25th

Album: Things That Seem Better When The Sun’s Out

Yesterday we went to the big city with a list of shopping and possible activities. The sun was out and it was hot. I took my camera and we noticed things.

Stained glass market
Skylights
Window imperfections
Stray sunbeam
Floor reflections
Window triangles
Stained glass silver birch
The underneath of leaves
Canoe knees
Baltic knees
Picnic by the Tyne knees
Roof terrace
Blue and green. The Hook On The Tyne
A shady spot
Ice cream by the river
The Gateshead skyline
Big green parasol
Three carrots

August 24th

Sleepy day but this came as a little boost.

42, 000 views today on my YouTube Channel, seapieparcel. Have a listen – there’s music there for all tastes!

https://www.youtube.com/user/seapieparcel

Chimney pots

August 21st-23rd

I’ve been making a backing track for the song “Be An Agent For Change”, and writing a Song Stories blog about it. I’ve also sung at a wedding with Rock Festival Choir, and done more gardening. Have a read of my new blog here!

August 20th

More gardening. Lots of Christmas planning for choir ahead of a meeting this evening about a possible joint venture with a new wind band that’s being set up hereabouts. Rock Festival Choir are singing this one again in their Advent concert, I hear> News today that Connie the chocolate labrador was listening to this recording and enjoying it (!)

My most performed piece of music!

August 19th

Sunrise oak looking one way.

Up completing musicky admin tasks and then out delivering those early doors meant that I could take in the sunrise along Mouldshaugh Lane.

Sunrise oak looking in the other way.

Windy conditions meant that being out in the garden was also a good option as it keeps the flies and wasps off me, so more tree dismantling and I pulled up a carrot to go with a haggis and sweet potato quiche. The carrot was a whopper. I plucked a pod of broad beans to see if they were ready – they tasted delicious, but can be left a little longer, I think.

Carrot for lunch was a whopper.

Started Christmas planning for choir with a bit of ding dong merrily-ing, which made me feel very chipper!

August 18th

We travelled back from Edinburgh today by train and bus, taking touristy photographs as we went, then after pie and clothes washing, plonked ourselves in front of the telly to recover. Meanwhile, royalties from performances of my music in New Zealand were being paid into my bank account, which is always nice to hear about. The most lucrative piece in this last quarter has been Autumn Sea. I don’t know who’s performed it over there, but I’m very grateful and pleased. Also performed were The Swing and Hodie Christus Natus Est (both on TV, apparently) and also Motu Puketutu. I still get my approximately 40 Australian cents every quarter for the use of Rain somewhere on an Australian website! I guess over time these 40 cents’-worth add up! I forgot to mention last week that I also got royalties of score sales in New Zealand – it’s so pleasing to know that my music is still being purchased and performed over there even though I’m here in Northumberland, so very far out of sight and probably out of most people’s minds.

Lots of lovely chimneys in Edinburgh. These are right next to Greyfriars Kirk where we sang today.

August 17th

A second full day in Edinburgh and not too busy in preparation for our second sing at the Fringe. Lots of walking, mind, some unexpected. We had a bigger audience at Greyfriars Kirk including family, and also friends from The Bridge Singers. I sang a B two beats before I should have done in my least favourite piece, resolving a suspension before all the other altos, but that was the only thing I can think of that I got wrong, so that’s not too shabby. Jamie was once again splendid in the Biebl. I really do think that we may well be Biebling in The Bridge Singers before too long. We finished the day with a delicious family meal at Pomegranate’s Moroccan restaurant, doing the sharing thing with 11 different dishes – all delicious. Here’s our Rock Festival Choir Inspiration Machine video with the official Edinburgh Fringe logo!

Jamie can see pigeon holes, Gaynor can see yellow.

August 16th

Mother, son and Bridget

Woke up in Edinburgh today and went off to the National Gallery with Gaynor and Jamie to see the Bridget Riley exhibition, which was absolutely brilliant. So clever. Then we sang with Rock Festival Choir at the first of our two concerts, this one in Canongate Kirk. It went exceedingly well, Peter was happy and Jamie almost had me in tears during the Biebl Ave Maria what with him singing so gorgeously on the top solo part, but I managed to keep myself singing as it happened. Then off we went to the choir meal at Howies, which was delicious in every way, then a walk home through torrential rain, which started as we left the restaurant and ended as we arrived at the flat! Choir uniform trousers currently draped everywhere attempting to dry before tomorrow’s concert. I do like the invigorating rain, though, so all in all a grand day.

August 15th

We’ve come to Edinburgh to sing with Rock Festival Choir at the Fringe, first class on the train as it happened. Nice sandwiches. We had a wander round Greyfriar’s Kirkyard and saw the flags up at the castle waving for us. Then we attended a string orchestra concert at Old St. Paul’s. It was the Russian String Orchestra and they’re brilliant. They played some Liszt though. Luckily there was this amazing rood screen to gaze at while I endured that. The pianist was superb, but Liszt has too many notes for my taste and is a little overblown with showy-off-ness. Meanwhile we managed to do some practice for our Rock Festival Choir concerts on Friday and Saturday.

August 14th

New video. New Blog. Have a read and a listen click here: Song Stories: Lullaby Of Silences

If you just want to listen!

August 13th

One of today’s tasks was to make some redcurrant jelly following the kind gift of a punnet of these from some friends. I carefully followed a recipe and made the attached mess in the kitchen. I then proceeded to do some recording for my new lullaby, and make more Rock Festival Choir videos as you can see here. Then it was the final rehearsal for Rock Festival Choir before we sing in Edinburgh. The results of my redcurrant jelly-making labours were underwhelming in volume.

The headline item in our Edinburgh Fringe concerts later this week (with the biggest typeface on our posters) is Chilcott’s Little Jazz Mass. Here’s a snippet of it
Disappointing redcurrants

August 12th

Some more video making for Rock Festival Choir today. Here are the fruits of some of my labours! I also went up to the garden after the rains and found it a little bit demoralising what with the weeds and the collapse of more of our boxes. The pile of tree debris is slowly reducing and today there were ripe tomatoes. Wheeeeh!

Another morsel of last Saturday’s Rock Festival Choir rehearsal on a little bit of trendy-composer Gjeilo. The pics are by Andy and show us happy but not necessarily looking in the right direction!

August 11th

My musical highlight today was going to see Gary and his friend David play at the Alnwick Music Festival.

Action shot of Gary brilliantly tambourining. He was singing at the same time, you know – also brilliantly.

August 10th

We had a Rock Festival Choir rehearsal this morning and into the afternoon. I had been asked by Peter Biggers, our tour manager to produce some teensy videos to help market our performances at the Edinburgh Fringe this coming weekend, so I was busy pfaffing with my machines. In the evening, Gaynor and Colin took us out for a meal at Jasper’s in Amble. Wonderful food, I have to say. I was told by two different people today that they thought I was subdued. They found it hard to believe that the Cheryl they see leaping about in front of classes of children and in front of Bridge Singers is not the one that appears before them when I’m in relaxed mode. I really am not an exuberant person in real life. Here’s a teensy snippet of us all at today’s rehearsal. If you want another hour of this sort of lovely choiry thing, snaffle yourselves some tickets and come north to Edinburgh on Friday or Saturday!

August 9th

There has been a lot of rain and thunder today. I have kept my eye on the river which usually flows along so sweetly, but tonight the bubbling stream outside has a flood alert on it. It’s raging along in a brownish fury, trying to get all the hilly run-off to the sea before the next deluge tomorrow. It’ll be exhausted, poor thing. I shared this song on Facebook and it got a lot of interest. We went to Veronica and Terry’s for the evening in Wooler. Driving home there was much in the way of standing water and even fog and the occasional rain shower to contend with.

August 8th

I have a list of tasks – mostly administrative and housework, alas. I have been fairly good at getting through them so have allowed myself one fun task….still on the list, mind you. It is to sort out a video from the fairandfunky workshops I did back in March using the performances of my song “Be An Agent For Change”. And here it is:

Be An Agent For Change, my Fairtrade song which formed part of workshops in Halifax Minster, using Fairtrade items and stories to inspire composing.

August 7th

Today there have been posters. Here’s one. It’s for the Bridge Singers’ first Autumn concert in September.

August 6th

Today I have been mostly in the garden dealing with the tree that was felled last Monday and is now in a heap in what used to be the red bed. I am slowly but surely transforming it into distinct piles: leaves on the compost heaps; small twigs for a potential bonfire; larger twig-branches for kindling; and huge logs for our wood burner. Also today came news that of our eight basses in The Bridge Singers, only three are doing the Autumn concerts, so my mind is busy with musical solutions to that particular dilemma. I guess many directors of village choirs would be happy with three basses, so I shall too. In my blogging absence, I made this July video of our 2018-19 exploits. I’d hate for you to miss out so here it is!

The Bridge Singers’ Review of The Year 2018-19

August 5th

I organised a choiry singalong thingamy this evening. It was at our usual rehearsal time in our usual place, but because The Bridge Singers is on its summer break I opened it up to other singers – from Alison’s drop-in sessions and MadriGals, from The Cheviot Singers, from Lionheart Harmony, from Rock Festival Choir, and amazingly 37 people turned up from a mixture of all of these groups. It was an absolute privilege to spend a couple of hours with them and we sang through one verse of Tarakihi, one verse and three choruses of Lullaby Of Silences and most of California Dreamin’. My highlights of the evening was hearing my new piece sung by other people, not just me, and also a compliment I received from young Joseph (12) who was here with his lovely Mum and Dad and sister, who told me quite categorically that he had not wanted to some along, but had had two hours of singing fun – he used other words, but I can’t remember and I don’t want to misquote. His mother later sent word that I am “officially cool”!

August 4th

Today I’ve been preparing this song for The Bridge Singers. There are many very clever arrangements out there of it, and I do like almost all of them, but there’s something about the simplicity and exuberance of the original Mamas and Papas’ version that I prefer, so we’ll be going for that. Here’s a cool 60’s “live” performance.

August 3rd

This runner bean slicer adorns the new kitchen on the shelves, just sitting there looking quaint and rather beautiful and also green. People have commented on the delight of it sitting there attached to our shelves. It belonged to my Mum, and I remember my Grandma using it, but apparently originally belonged to my Great-Grandma – other things too have come from them. Today I picked beans from the garden and thought I’d give it a go like I used to when I was a lass. It works. Beans go everywhere, but it works!

My Great Grandma’s runner bean slicer works excellently on today’s beans!

August 2nd

I’ve been making an arrangement of this Maori song for my choir The Bridge Singers on and off today. In between I’ve been up in the garden breaking up a tree that currently lies in a big heap over a huge area. I’m redistributing it into leaves, twigs, small branches, large branches. Much fun.

The song is A Te Tarakihi (The Cicada)

August 1st

I haven’t written any blogs since March. There are several reasons for this. I’ve been busy. I’ve been uninspired. I’ve been wondering whether it’s worth the effort. WordPress has changed the layout and I couldn’t be bothered learning the new way of doing it. I still can’t fathom it properly, but it says “just type” so I am. I have a bit of new music to share, but I don’t know if I’ll be able to add it. It’s the last verse of my new lullaby for The Bridge Singers and is inspired by a statue of a baby in Lanercost Priory where we’ll be singing in October. Right…

This is the last verse and a chorus of Lullaby Of Silences. The song is from the point of view of the parent of a baby who has died. They hear the sounds the baby made in silent events during the course of a year.
 So I will write a lullaby
And in the silences await your cry,
And as I listen deeply within my memories
In the aching hush, I’ll hum myself to sleep.
 
 
The year moves on, I see a baby in a pram.
She rushes by, and leaves me silent.
I hear your chuckling in the opening of the daffodil,
And I smile at the thought of you.
 
The sun is warm, the rain is glistening on the ground.
The families leave me in the silence.
I hear your snuffling in the shimmer of the rainbow,
And I rejoice at the thought of you.
 
Each healthy glow on a baby’s rosy cheeks
Nips at my heart, renders me silent.
I hear your sighing in the curling of the leaves,
And I weep at the thought of you.
 
Stony fingers resting gently by her side
I touch her hand, but she is silent.
I hear your whimpering in the falling of the snowflakes
And I tremble at the thought you.
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