Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Star-studded celebration

To Lord's cricket ground, and a splendid dinner in the Long Room...

A room full of friends and family of Neil Durden-Smith celebrating a large-ish birthday (I do not think he is worried about it, but I will not give away the divisible-by-10 number); this gentleman being the husband of Judith Chalmers...
Lots of others off the telly were at this Lady Taverners' event.
Nicholas Parsons, Tim Rice, Richard Stilgoe, Esther Rantzen, Angela Rippon, Chris Tarrant, Bill Tidy, & Colin Cowdrey.

Always a great privilege to be at Lord's - and as there were no ladies changing for this gig, we were in the home dressing room - honours boards newly-decorated with Broad & Root's exploits in 2013...

Very much the best response to being asked to sing The Lambeth Walk we have had for a very long time... they seemed to know it very well... perhaps it was their era!

We also had the joy of singing with the great Sir TRice, backing him, as ever, in Wanderin' Star.
...and nobody threw anything. Marvellous!

Now we turn our thoughts to a very busy Christmas period in Tamworth, Germany, Canada, Vienna, Bridewell Institute and Germany again between Xmas and New Year.... phew!
All details on website:

UK dates:
Tamworth tickets here! - Tuesday 3rd December @ 19:30
Bridewell tickets here! - Thursday 19th December @ 19:00

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Elgar Room - Masterpieces

A wonderful evening at the Royal Albert Hall...
..whilst hordes of schoolchildren were enjoying day three of the Music & Youth concerts in the RAH, we gave our Masterpieces in the Elgar Room - a splendid room for cabaret there.

Having had a great evening there last Christmas, it was a delight to repeat the excellent experience ...

There are photos of famous artists all round the room, so we had the idea (well, Richard did!) of giving an entertainment where all the people pictured are heard.... I won't go into it in nit-picking detail, but all these people were name-checked and at least one piece of theirs heard...

Edward Elgar
Nina Simone
Yehudi Menuhin
Jacqueline Du Pré
Frank Zappa
Ray Charles
Johnny Cash
Jimmy Hendrix
James Brown
Ella Fitzgerald
Frank Sinatra
George Harrison & John Lennon
Duke Ellington
Marvin Gaye
& also
Elton John (his picture is not there, but his red grand piano is on permanent loan to the room!)

To complete this task 37 pieces were required - some of these were in medleys, otherwise we'd have been there all night!
Lots of new things for us, and amongst the splendour was a recreation of the duet of It's a Man's Man's Man's World  as sung by two of our photos - James Brown and Pavarotti! We also found another way of hijacking the audience (well, a couple in it) using Frank Zappa!
Also a chance to do some things in the UK that have previously been only seen on mainland Europe, such as our Beatles medley on a train & our Pomp and Circumstance/Best of British parody... (both as imagined by Julian and Maggie Forsyth).

We were joined on the piano by our old friend Paul Plummer... excellent to work with him again.

Huge fun!

Sunday, 10 November 2013

North Belgium #2

...and on to Maaseik.
On Friday night a concert in a beautiful church... and also the chance to hear a wonderful brass sextet to warm the audience up - lovely, sonorous sounds... and very virtuosic - excellent Tuba-ness!

A very beautiful space in which to sing (Sint Annakerk van Aldeneik - Maaseik) - with ancient paintings on the walls - re-discovered under the later paintwork - & very old graves on show too...
Bist Du bei Mir was especially delightful to sing in the acoustic...

We were in this wonderful part of Europe where the European ideal is so clear... as on the same road you can drive for 7 kilometres, starting in Belgium, traversing The Netherlands and ending up in Germany (of course, not a passport control in sight):- so we went to see some old friends in Holland after the concert, as it was so near! Good to see Gertie, Gabby, 'Reet and Jo...in their own town... we will actually perform in Holland in 2014... More details when we know them!

On Saturday morning three workshops at Stedelijke Academie voor Muziek & Woord...
Thank you to Gerrie of the Academie for looking after us at Maaseik so splendidly...
We had a lovely time sharing the joy of singing with the children's choir, the adult choir and a delightful sextet of young women... all three groups were excellently taught and it was great to be with both staff and singers for the morning... Thanks to all for being able to cope with three of us speaking English (even the youngsters), and of course to Steve for talking in Flemish too!
A very uplifting morning...

Thursday, 7 November 2013

North Belgium #1

First of three events here in rainy Northern Belgium.... at a castle in Meeuwen-Gruitrode.

Great to sing in a castle, innit!? Excellent audience, and we got to change in an old library too!
...they were particularly splendid at singing "rat-da-dat-da-dat" in chanson d'amour.

Two more dates to come, just around the corner, both in Maaseik - a concert in a church and some workshops...