Thursday, 29 December 2016

Happy Christmas

A Festival of Carols in 2' video - go on, have a look; Last chance to see in apt times!

We had a lovely time in Belgium pre-Christmas... the last three concerts were as good as the first... in Scherpenheuvel, Ternat & Bruges.
All with the splendid lights and sound of Koen Dilliën, our most excellent guide through these four concerts...

Also wonderful to have Chris Hatt on piano, as well as all of his gorgeous family on tour with us.
It was definitely a crescendo towards Christmas, with each concert/venue being better than the last... but all three were great.

Glorious Scherpenheuvel, Terrific Première in Ternat, and the beautiful Stadsschouwberg Bruges to finish... (the city below, and the theatre above!)

As ever in Belgium we were looked after brilliantly by all & enjoyed our food before and after the concerts.

And suddenly we find ourselves post-Christmas, having a jolly time in the cabaret venue, The Pheasantry on the Kings Road, Chelsea.
Still some room for a small one tonight and tomorrow should you wish!
Already had two excellent nights; Chris Hatt still with us; and it is great to exercise the pure cabaret muscle, and leave the serious (but of course beautiful) Christmas pieces behind...

Two more concerts and then let 2017 begin!

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Champs Hill concert, In Tune & Belgian tour starts

Festival of Carols in Two Minutes Vienna video is HERE
Go on - have a wee look!

We went to a wonderful party...
At the home of the glorious record company, and of course David and Mary, we performed in the lovely hall here surrounded as ever by great art, with a terrific piano (played terrifically as ever by Chris Hatt), an evening of Christmas jollity.

Of course, a lovely room to sing in, and a hall packed to the rafters - a new experience; to record an album in a room, and then go back six months later to the same room and perform a vast amount of it to an audience!

My dressing room was invaded by this little chap... he wasn't after my socks luckily!

A splendid afternoon at the BBC in the company of Sean Rafferty and the Team at In Tune...
Four songs from A Song for Christmas & two bits of interview too!  Chris Hatt was there too!

You can listen again here: Starting at 1'25"
(Of course the other guests were all marvellous too!)
We sing:
Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!
A Festival of Carols in Two Minutes
Twelve Days to Christmas (from She Loves Me)

Sean was as ever professionalism itself and a delight to chat to.

Then it was up early the next morning for the Eurostar to Belgium (thank goodness we're not flying anywhere at the moment!) and a 2PM concert at Vilvoorde.  The audience were well up for a Christmas afternoon and great fun was had by all.  Elke and her team looked after us very well.
We also were joined, as we shall be for all of these gigs, Koen on sound and lights; a splendid addition to the team and how excellent he was! (In fact he is hard at work as I write to make sure Scherpenheuvel is an equal success...)
Here is the beautiful Scherpenheuvel Basiliek (that is not a giant snake, for any Harry Potter fans)

Three concerts until Christmas; Scherpenheuvel, Ternat and Bruges... then after it is our four nights at The Pheasantry on the Kings Road, Chelsea (27th-30th Dec)... have you bought your tickets yet?

Thursday, 8 December 2016

A Busy two weeks

...the last fortnight has been busy...

We started in late November in the splendid Voice Mania Festival in Vienna, where we performed a 'mitsing' concert as we have previously in Bayreuth...
Hearing a room of Viennese singing Mozart's Ave Verum Corpus with us was especially tremendous in the very home of Classical music!
But they loved everything else too... seemed to know London's Burning round already! - and sang Oh Susanna (Foster) as if they were from Alabama!
Lovely to be back once again, and looking forward to many returns!

We also chased around the city doing some filming... we cannot say much more about that yet... but we will very soon... we also filmed in London the following week... all to be revealed anon!

Then it was a sojourn to Germany.
We started with three nights singing in a beautiful arts centre-cum-restaurant situated in a grand old Post Office - don't think low-ceiling British, think art gallery, in Pirmasens!
Three lovely evenings of good food and Christmas jollity...
The first made all the more glorious by our luggage having been sent to Nuremberg instead of Frankfurt... just a few hundred miles out.
In general we're pretty lucky with luggage going astray and have previously had to borrow clothes when one bag has gone missing... all four of our bags not appearing has only happened once before...
So we did a vast majority of the first night in our own clothes. no-one minded, and many thought this was an elaborate joke!
...and here we are (we looked better for 68% of the time!)!

But the three nights there were a delight, it was good to be still for a while!  We were treated very well and shared lots of lovely food!
Sonja - who runs the place - and Tobi the technician were terrific (& he even helped our doing a wee bit more filming - splendid chap!)

We had a little drive to Hameln (where the rats fled from) - just the five hours - for a 6PM concert in the theatre there... our third visit & a lovely place with excellent technicians with imagination and skill.
And we were joined by Chris Hatt at the piano - hotfoot from helping to prepare a new production of musical Chaplin in Belgium... very pleased he could fit us in to his schedule.
We had a delightful evening singing many of the tracks from the new CD - A Song for Christmas in case you missed it! - for the very first time live...
...and here's a review (in German, but all should get the gist!)

We finished early enough to have a wonderful meal in our hotel, just a few hundred metres from the theatre (always a joy)

And then whilst fine dining is in the mind, we had the delight of performing in the Church in the grounds of the Michelin-starred restaurant Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons in Great Milton, OXON.... they run a few evenings before Christmas coupled with music and readings...
We were paired last night with the hilarious John Sergeant, who read some terrific pieces... from Sue Townsend's Adrian Mole and Richmal Crompton's Just William; to a letter home from WWI and the Grosmiths' Diary of a Nobody... delightful to meet him again, we met last year at the Royal Albert Hall Bloodwise gala.
The night before us, my old school choir were performing, Trinity Boys Choir, and it was lovely to get a cheery message from the Director of Music as we arrived (via the organisers!)

We sang even more music from our new album and the atmosphere in the church was Festivity itself... we were joined by the excellent Paul Plummer - great he had time to come down from Glasgow and share the evening with us; always a delight to work with.
Having heard music from Germany, Belgium, Britain and France, & the title song of our CD - A Song for Christmas AND had three singalong carolsthe people left the church with Let It Snow! on their mind... even tho' it had indeed been sunny and pretty warm all day!

Merry Christmas one and all...