The Beatles

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I was bought up in the 1960s so although I was there I don’t remember a lot about the Beatles – I was too young.

But even now after over 50 years if a Beatles song comes on the radio or TV I can pretty much sing along with the lyrics.

I remember hearing them, some of my favourites are:

Love me do

Help

Can’t buy me love

Hey Jude

Eight days a week

There are others but I’m useless at remembering names of songs!

I loved their harmony, I loved their funny ways, I loved their experimental music as they evolved.

I’m just watching the Ron Howard documentary about them and it’s bringing a few memories back but as I say because I was a child I missed anything about them on late night TV so I’m learning a lot from the documentary.

Singing New Light

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Today one of the choirs I am in sang at a local school for “sing up day”. We sang some a capella songs from Loud Mouth Women’s reportoir and also “New light ” a new anthem based on “this little light of mine” composed and written by Greg Stephens and Steven Seabridge (the potteries poet laureate).

It was a pleasure to sing infront of a full school assembly. The children joined in and even did some of the gestures for the song. I hope they enjoyed it, although some of the little ones seemed a bit perplexed by what we were doing at first.

One of the teachers is a member of the choir and enthusiastically explained what we were doing, and Penny Vincent (who helped organised Stoke Sings choir festival in February) and Kate Bardfield, our choir leader, helped teach the children some of the song including sections of”this little light of mine” and adapted versions of this and a section about the six towns, Burslem, Tunstall, Hanley, Stoke, Fenton and Longton.

The anthem talks about coal mining and hard clay. It talks about regeneration and a feeling that the city of Stoke-on-Trent is worth fighting for. It was a very enjoyable occasion.

 

The dancing dino

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This is my friend last night. She was part of Cunning stunts cabaret show. She was dancing to flash-dance in a Tyrannosaurus suit. It was sooo funny.

I’m glad we went. She is part of a father/ daughter  act who do a circus and sideshow act. They do everything from knife throwing, fire breathing, lying on beds of nails and all those traditional acts, but they do them with a modern twist. Last night they did a mashup of cult movies with sideshow skills.

They have been all over the world with the show and very rarely come home to put a show on here. There evening included lots of little sketches, exotic dances and music from Pig man and his rubber band singing Jazz.

For the final section you have to imagine an orange Dino gyrating and pole dancing to one of the flash dance tunes, bending over backwards, twisting and turning, mad!  It brought the house down. Imagine Godzilla at a disco!

Choir practice

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Singing is part if my life now. I started singing lessons about 15 years ago then joined a choir a few years later. I met a variety of people who loved music and I was swept along. We were all interested in learning music from around the world and the group learned acapella songs by heart so that we don’t need sheet music.

Singing calms me down, excites me, can be really irritating when it’s something I don’t like, or enthralling when it’s something new or an old song I love but had never previously learnt fully.

After being a choir member over several years I joined another choir so now I go and practice at least twice a week. Sometimes I join other groups and sing with them too.

I also try and sing when there are music nights at pubs. It has helped my confidence and calmed my nerves. Without it I don’t think I would have got involved in amateur dramatics. If there is a group in your area why not join?

Dawn chorus

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It’s twenty to five in the morning and I can hear birds singing outside on this cold February morning. We have been feeding the birds over the winter and last week my partner invested in an extra long bird feeding tube to accommodate them.

We have had house sparrows  blackbirds, blue tits and great tits  robins, and a tiny wren visiting the feeders. There are also wood pigeons and a collared dove that visits and a grey squirrel that hangs upside down from a branch and takes food from the feeders too.

When a blackbird sings its usually on top of the neighbours chimney or high in the branches of a tree. You can tell the age of a blackbird by its song. As it gets older the song becomes longer and has less repeats in it. Robins are also beautiful singers with sweet liquid notes which are a high volume considering how small they are. The other tiny birds make less interesting cheep cheep or tsee tsee songs, one makes a teecher teecher song, and there are individual whistles and tunes. There are sometimes magpies which chatter away. I always know if the blackbirds have been disturbed because they make a loud pink pink pink noise to confuse predators such as cats.

In fact urban birds are apparently louder singers because of having to sing above traffic noise.

This year we have bought an extra nest box and placed it in the ivy next to the window. This offers cool shade when the sun gets hot in the spring..

Well I go back to bed now as the chorus seems to have died down. Other early things happening are blue bells coming into flower in February (they are in a box by the house) there must be a bit of a microclimate  but everything, including the temperature, seems too soon this year. Maybe it’s to do with the jet stream and global warming?

Choir practice

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I’m off out to choir practice today. Learning new songs, and old ones to different tunes.

I’m sure my mental health has been better since I began going to a choir over ten years ago. It’s good for things like relaxation and concentration. I would recommend it to anyone who nerds some stress busting.

I can be sitting with the choir with no memory if the words or tune. Then almost miraculously they come to me as we start singing. We sing mainly acappella and my voice is most suited to alto and low parts.

We learnt a version of let your little light shine for the Stoke sings choir festival the weekend before last. With words that were appropriate to the cities history of pottery and mining.

I hope we sing it again tonight. It was fun to sing with 600 other people belting out the various parts. It is on YouTube  somewhere.

Barn dance coming up..

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Imagine whirling around with a bunch of people… Then imagine some of them looking completely confused, going in the wrong directions and flinging each other about in mad abandon. That’s a barn dance. Add amazing live music. A caller explaining the dance moves to people trying to understand what on earth he’s saying. The fun that can be had getting dizzy, twisting and turning, jumping about….

And a pie and peas supper that has both meat and vegetarian options.

It’s all in aid of the Penkhull Mystery play this July.

If you are in the area perhaps you would like to come along to these February Frolics and then get involved in the mystery play itself where there are openings to act, make props and help paint scenery. You never know you might enjoy it.