Monday, 25 June 2012

A Right Royal Stilgoe {Sir} weekend

A very inspiring pair of gigs this weekend...

Two bashes in aid of newly-beknighted Richard Stilgoe's wonderful school, The Orpheus Centre, where some very lucky and excellent young disabled people are helped to see that there is more to their lives than their problems.  Each night they showed how far their horizons had been moved and sang and read brilliantly - with the aid of the brilliant teachers they write songs and perform them with great aplomb.
All were touched and moved by their excellence and humour.  It is silly to pick any one of the guys out, but we were all impressed by Jo, who is blind and has other issues which would seem to count out the skills she clearly has - perfect pitch, a clear singing voice and grade 8 on drums... sparkling.
The Orpheus young people sang a special song on the second night, newly-written, called Without You; a hymn of praise to Sir Richard - I don't know how Richard managed to stand there and listen (it certainly made me cry), but he did just so... and he said at the end that the song meant just as much to him as his recent honour.  An honour which he accepted on behalf of all the other people who help him, his wife and the tremendous carers & musicians too...

The guests of honour were on one night, Chris Tarrant, and on the other HRH Prince Edward, who is Patron of Orpheus.  Both made speeches suggesting how special they knew the evening would be, and what a great thing The Orpheus Centre is; of course both enjoyed the evening as did we all.

We were very pleased to be able to give His Royal Highness a copy of our cricket CD, Songs of Cricket, especially as it has one of the songs from Cricket the musical, which he commissioned from Rice/Lloyd Webber for his Mum's 60th.
On sporting matters, we tried hard to concentrate on the sporting glory which is the England cricket XI - after the midweek triple win, we had a win, a draw ending in a draw, and a draw ending in a loss in our major sports...

It was a great privilege to be able to do our bit at the end of the evenings, and give all a great send-off.
Sir RS joined us in his song The Barmy Army as the final encore... (on Songs of Cricket, as you've asked...)

Flying to Athens on Wednesday to join a cruise - hopefully no rioting... Molotov news to come...

Thursday, 21 June 2012

The White House (no, not that one...)

The last of these four evenings for Technische Unie was at the beautiful Finley Het Witte Huis; for our performance, the audience had a lovely view (of us yes!), but also the beautiful water of this very splendid place.  It even had a very fine boat in dock by the stage for a quick getaway, but we did not need it!

Four very different venues in four very different areas of The Netherlands - this last one was near Hilversum, which is the site of my very first trip outside of the UK in 1977 - my school choir joined the celebrations for the 10th anniversary of Radio Hilversum.

Off to the newly-beknighted Richard Stilgoe's house for the weekend, for a couple of charity galas... oh the trials...

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Dutch trip #2

We performed in another tremendous Dutch place tonight... this time in Esbeek.  The house is called Huize Rustoord, & it is stuffed to the gills with modern art and amazing objects.
All impressed by the giant Dali Menorah outside the house - other wonderful sculptures everywhere... the owner must be dead delighted when he gets another piece of art with nipples - as he has thousands on display.... painted and sculpted.

We performed once again for another part for this Dutch company, Technische Unie, as with the previous pair of concerts in April - one more tomorrow... Nieuw-loosdrecht here we come... after a lie-in.

Audience were select and excellent, and the food sublime... & even got home on time to watch most of England's winning football match against Ukraine.

England won matches in all three of our major sports today - football, cricket & rugby (OK, rugby not a full international)- didn't know that was even allowed!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Hever Castle

We had a splendid weather window at Hever Castle, and the rain did not come... even in the sunshine in the afternoon!  Another outing for On the Funny Side of the Street.
Not such a great evening for our Steve, who was very much under the weather, but we shielded him from harm, and the concert occurred... he was heroic to keep standing there.
The audience were delightfully jolly & ready for an evening's entertainment, even once the sun went away & it got a bit cold...
Lovely to have an extra special performance by Richard of Wanderin' Star, in full Lee Marvin mode - especially impressive as he had only just sung Bring Him Home in counter-tenor - super...
As Chris Hatt is on holiday, we were joined by another excellent pianist, Andy Massey, who had previously been with us at one of our Taj gigs last summer - great to work with him again, and he got the measure of all of the charts fantastically efficiently & played wonderfully... even being happy to be punched on stage by Mike (no contact, of course!)

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Euro strife

Belgium v England - could there be inter-TLQ strife?
Only if Steve actually could be concerned in any way about sport...

So surely we can all concur that England's being 1 - 0 up is a great thing!