October Touring 2019

October 12th

Multicoloured crowd
Drippy feet

Singing at Felton Saturdays was fun today – only four of us, so one to a part – me on soprano and we did a couple of Ave Marias and some Dowland, then Jamie and I went off to Alnwick Gardens to make the most of our year-long membership cards. We were taken with the water features and he posed and I took pictures. Lots of fun.

Ghost spray
Pointy people
Wobbly face
Clingy Water
Shins and bricks
Curvy hedges
Bubbly arches
Waterproof jacket
Finger ripples
Touching the vortex

October 11th

I’ve finished my new Twelve Of The Best. It’s “Songs of Action”. They’re mostly songs that I’ve composed for primary schools and involve some sort of accompanying set of actions or dancing. Also, tonight it was Fingers Adrift at ours. Lots of trebling on my newish treble. All was merriment. Earlier I’d been dealing with the entirety of the carrots which I harvested yesterday – huge amounts of them. They’re mostly now buried in chippings for the winter, but the ones that had been partially got at by the mice are tidied up and sliced and in a huge bowl of cold water in the fridge for early consumption. We’ve had a lot of mice this year up in the garden, and also there are moles making their presence felt. The mice are very neat in their nibblings: they eat out the whole carrot just leaving the very outer “skin” as a hollow husk. Anyway, they’ll be hungry now.

Action songs and dancing songs for classes and choirs in primary schools, or sometimes even just at home, I hear!

October 10th

Today I’ve started, or rather continued and made great headway with, a new Twelve Of The Best video catalogue. Also tonight I took a rehearsal of Harbour Lights for my pal Sarah Gray who is poorly. It seemed to go well with much laughter and cheery comments galore. We tackled E Papa and We Will Remember. On the way home from Amble I reflected on how in my youth I would never have the confidence to rock up to a group of unknown-to-me adults and win them over like this within five minutes and get a load of excellent work out of them in an hour and a half. I credit Jamie with this. He says I had it in me all along. I suspect it’s a mixture of the two.

Don’t forget!

October 9th

A day of waiting for trains to come and then singing at Alnwick WI with The Bridge Singers. I have no pictures or clips of any of that, but I have also today made a new video for one of my oldest and most used primary school songs: “I Like To….”

I’ve used it very successfully as an ice-breaker or warm-up. You can add your own verses, or get the class to think of ideas themselves.
Sculpture and building at Pimlico Underground Station. I don’t know which came first, but it influenced the other, no doubt.

October 8th

Sir Isaac Newton’s little toe

After early photos with Paolozzi at Pimlico and the British Library, we had an excellent breakfast at a fancy place in St. Pancras, then I came home to a royalty cheque from New Zealand, set to with the recordings from the weekend, went to a meeting in Weldon Bridge (I even contributed with a few ideas and comments!!!!) then continued with emails and more recordings. So I give you a third snippet from Cumbria. This time it’s the 2nd verse of Goodbyeee from Lanercost.

Verse 2 of Goodbyeee performed in Lanercost by The Bridge Singers with one of their remarkably long window-opening ropes.

October 7th

Bananas in Pimlico

Today we went to London to meet up with Gaynor and Colin again before they return to Australia on Wednesday. We met up at St. Pancras Station, then again for a pre-dinner drink at their apartment, then dinner at the wonderful Daebak Korean restaurant in Vauxhall. I had Yang Nyeum Chicken which I ate reasonably successfully with chopsticks and it was completely delicious. I heartily recommend it, if you’re heading that way. On the way back to our dingy little hotel room in Pimlico I took these pictures!

Extra bit on top of a K6
River Thames from Vauxhall Bridge

In the meantime, I’ve made another snippet of the choir from this last weekend singing at Lanercost Priory!

The Bridge Singers on a snippet of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Leaves That Are Green”

October 6th

While I’ve been busying myself with The Bridge Singers in Cumbria and facilitating performances of mine and others’ pieces, this has appeared on the Radio New Zealand website. It is the piece I wrote for the tribute concert to my friend and former lecturer John Rimmer who celebrated his 80th birthday earlier this year. I was very honoured to be asked to compose this short piece. The piece is for soprano with balloon and is performed here by Te Oherere Williams.


My programme note was: This piece was composed in April 2019 for the Rimmer at 80 recital by The Karlheinz Company at Auckland University on May 26th 2019, following a request by Eve de Castro Robinson for a 1-minute tribute to John Rimmer. It is a great delight and privilege to be part of this celebration, even though I cannot be there in person to honour such a wonderful friend, colleague and teacher.
John Rimmer was the first person who was nice to me when I arrived in New Zealand in January 1987. After difficult encounters with airport staff, other university staff, banking officials, the “hottest day of the year so far” and the university enrollment process, I found myself being greeted with great enthusiasm and kindness in the glorious bougainvillea-bedecked music department by a smiling John Rimmer. For the next several years John was one of my main guides through not only my composition studies but also through life in New Zealand. Now, John is my friend, and I see him and Helen each time they come to England to visit their family and we have a laugh and a reminisce, and talk composing.
John has always been exceedingly supportive of (and indeed makes me feel very proud of) my work as a composer and creative practitioner in schools, galleries, museums and other community settings. That is why there is ballooning in this song. I often turn up on a train to a workshop with a back-pack of balloons, a tupperware container of assorted “things to put inside” and an up-pumper – hours of creativity awaits! John taught me a great deal about the foibles and craft of composing: the minute’s-worth that immediately leapt into my head when Eve requested this piece are outlined in this song: 2nd performances are very hard to come by; each note should be considered very carefully before being commited to paper; the start of the piece is of great importance.

Things John Said

J-John used to say, “The first performance: an easy task. The second: Oh!

“J-J-J-J-John also used to say,” This note, this particular note, this particular note out of all the notes – why is it there? What is it’s reason for being right there? Why? Why? Explain this particular note to me! This particular note!”

J-John also said, “Always start your piece with a bang!”

October 5th

Today was the first of our Cumbrian Tour recitals in St. John’s Keswick. I’ve got plenty to say about this most wonderful of choirs and our concerts, but for the time being here is a picture from Greg and a minute or so of Gary’s beautiful song “Northumberland” recorded at today’s concert.

A fade-in from “Northumberland” by Gary Steward.

October 4th

Derwentwater morning

This morning Mum, Frances and I walked to Lingholm by the lake, through a forest and mostly avoided lots of mud. We looked round the kitchen garden there, had our lunch and then walked back. Here are a couple of views of the lake before and during the walk. It was very beautiful indeed, of course!

Derwentwater afternoon
…..bright against the green…
…and it never made a sound…

October 3rd

I hear your sighing….and I weep…

Yesterday we came to Keswick in readiness for The Bridge Singers’ recitals on Saturday and Sunday. Today we walked to the Lodore Falls with Frances. Every autumn thing we saw brought to mind one of our repertoire for the weekend! The it was American style pancakes at The Coffee Lounge with Colin and an afternoon of athletics on the telly!

…that’s all there is….

October 2nd

I’ve finally finished my newest video catalogue from the Twelve Of The Best series. There a blog to go with it here!

October 1st

Starting the new month with a new milestone on my YouTube channel!

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