Wednesday, 29 October 2014

David Rayvern Allen funeral

The sun shone on north-east London for the day yesterday as we gathered to say farewell to David Rayvern Allen....

English idyll:

His brother Keith & Richard Stilgoe gave marvellous speeches remembering the great man... as musician, pianist, radio producer, speaker, prolific cricket writer and historian... hard work never worried him!

Excellent to see brothers both, Tim & Jo Rice; Alan Maryon-Davies & Peter Christie (from Instant Sunshine); as well as Barry Forgie... the church was full to the brim of family, & friends from many decades..... in support of Rosemary, Lindsay & Briony.
We sat next to a concorde pilot!

As ever a wonderful moving occasion which made all fervently wish that the man himself were there to see it...

Monday, 27 October 2014

Repentigny, Québec and coming home...

Delightful end to tour in a beautiful church in Repentigny...with an excellent acoustic.
11 years ago, we were here too... such bravery to have us back so soon!

All went well, but especially wonderful to sing our classical repertoire in the church... Comment Amour, Bist du bei Mir, Priez pour paix and Oblivion each feeling very good from up at the front.

Everyone there very happy and jolly and so keen to help and be kind.
Thank you to all.

Also they had a veracious appetite for CDs & songbooks; lots of smiling faces after the show.
Relief, I expect.

So another great tour of Canada is over; such a splendid territory for us for the last eleven years... long may it continue.

We chased off after the concert for Ottawa (& an airport hotel), so we were "ready" to get up at 3.45 for the silly o'clock to Toronto so we could get home in one day.... and thus here we are!

Glad to be home; and good to be able to go to David Rayvern Allen's funeral tomorrow.

Friday, 24 October 2014

breaking and entering in Montréal, & St-Jean-sur-Richelieu

We found another hall in which to sing in Montréal.... I do not think we have to come to the end of our search to perform in every possible place here!
This time it was Patro Le Prévost auditorium... perhaps our sixth venue after TV, radio, Jazz Festival (open air), Juste pour Rire, Pierre Peladeau & Chapelle Historique...

A fine lunchtime (vibrant) audience greeted us for two hours of jollity... & they bought songbooks and CDs too... how splendid.

At the end of our show, especially complicated as we were needing to rush on to St-Jean-sur-Richelieu for an evening performance, we found ourselves locked out of the dressing room:- here is what they did to their door (it wasn't us, guv!)...

Then we did get to go to SJR, although the traffic issues which plague Montréal at peak time did make us sit about in traffic all the way to Pont Jacques-Cartier, and after... but we managed to get there in time to perform... sound check, who needs 'em.... The tech staff & everyone else at Cabaret-Théâtre Vieux St-Jean were terrific & the audience lapped up everything we offered with great enthusiasm... All done and dusted by 7.20... a busy day!!

Thank you to all at l'Agence Station Bleue for their hard work on our behalf...

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

The pleasure of Ontario

Four excellent places to stop and enjoy autumnal Ontario...

Deep River, Orillia, Burlington & Lakefield.

In Deep River, we started with a lunchtime performance to lots of schoolchildren, before the evening show... they were clearly very excited... I suspect they may have decided before we showed up that we might be boring... we showed them! 
Lots of hilarity...

There was a 15-minute Q&A after this; one question was how old we are (clearly... very!); Richard asked them to guess our combined age... 736 was the loudest and first guess!  How very Old Testament.

We saw this wonderful sign in a shop-window... presumably it's all about Thanksgiving (which has just happened over here) excess... funny ol' habits here in Canada!

Splendid day here, and Jim, the light and sound man made everything sound wonderful!

Then on to Orillia & the excellent Orillia Opera House - gloriously shortened to (you guessed it!):


Another excellent place in which to sing and with the Jazz Festival over three days when we are here, awash with music in every bar, café and spare space in the town... great.  We heard a super trio over lunch (with real espresso). Great bookshops too...
The fantastic autumnal colours are all over the place too - our hotel was here on a lake by a park - from deep reds through orange and brown to yellow... excellent.

Then two gigs on one day, a lunchtime at Burlington Arts Centre, followed by an interview onstage by Barbara Budd - esteemed Canadian actress and CBC presenter... she was very professional of course and teased out all our secrets!  The audience tittered...

...and quickly on to Lakefield - return visit after almost exactly 4 years...last time we got a puncture here and then had our internal flight cancelled because of fog & had to drive for miles & miles the next day.... no such problems this time!  Lovely to be back (and they said this almost never happens)... We were looked after as before, in grand style and enjoyed Lakeside's cuisine and wine.  The Hall was wonderful to sing in too...  Some members of the audience cheated and already knew all the words to The Lambeth Walk... I still made them have a practice, of course.

Mike stopped off for a bit of electioneering (I don't know where he finds the time)...

We then found out on the way to Québec what Bob was going to do in January....
Following Mike's lead, here he is canvassing for office:- to be Mayor of Kingston [ON] - outside the beautifully apportioned Wendy's car park-cum-rubbish tip.... All the Best, mate!

So here we are in Montréal, one of our favourite cities... three concerts to come here at St Jean sur Richelieu, Montréal itself & Repentigny...[October 23rd - 25th]... bring it on!
Details of gigs HERE

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

David Rayvern Allen RIP

Very sad news to hear that our old friend, David Rayvern Allen has died...

Such a polymath; radio producer, presenter and announcer from the latter part of radio's golden age, speaker, author of huge numbers of authoritative biographies, books and anthologies on his beloved game of cricket... and collector of sheet music of a huge range, but mainly a vast collection of sporting songs... (which we have plundered over the years).

A supporter of many artists over decades, and a great friend of the indefatigable Richard Stilgoe, he of course mentored and co-produced our Songs of Cricket CD on Signum.

No more jolly cricket evenings at Lord's (and elsewhere) with DRA doing his presenting bit and our all being able to mess around in whites.

A sad loss...

Monday, 6 October 2014

Kate Dimbleby Album launch

Lovely evening at the Dean Street Jazz@Pizza Express to launch Kate Dimbleby's CD, Love Comes Again...

Fellow guests were the singer-songwriters, Rebecca Hollweg, and Jay Fisher... who both duetted with Kate...
Great to hear them and their music...
We were all backed by Naadia Sheriff (piano), Sophie Alloway (drums) & Andy Hamill (bass):- the bassist would usually be Jonty Fisher, but owing to bad planning, he was booked on the wrong plane home from Italy by someone else... splendidly Andy, who is also Rebecca's husband stepped into the breach & was excellent.

We sang our track from the album with Kate - Cab Calloway's Everybody eats... as well as Hit the Road, Jack - lovely to sing with Kate, and of course we were splendidly accompanied by Naadia, Sophie & Andy.
We also gave our a cappella 'cats duet' of Man Tran/Ink Spots tracks... Well, well, well  &  That Cat is High, as well as The Lambeth Walk - which the people gamely tried to join in with... of course we still berated them!
Backwards was better...