Choirs which run themselves


In the autumn of 2013, a new shiny organ was unveiled at Llandaff Cathedral.  Built by organ builders Nicholson & Co of Malvern, the new instrument had taken 6 years to be completed at a cost of £1.5 million.    Three months later, the entire adult choir was made redundant as the Cathedral had run out […]

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Eat more cake at work

Corporate meeting

Last week I decided that I should do more exercise.  This thought normally occurs to me when I have eaten a particularly large piece of cake.  Usually however, by the time I have got home from the particular purveyor of cake, I have discarded my plans to become an olympic athlete and I continue as […]

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Convey the message clearly

penny black

Prior to 1840, most people expected to get quite a few birthday cards.  The custom of sending greeting cards can be traced back to the ancient Chinese, who exchanged messages of good will to celebrate the New Year, and to the early Egyptians, who conveyed their greetings on papyrus scrolls. By the early 15th century, […]

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Monteverdi at 450


Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) is regarded by many as one of the most significant and influential composers of the Western Art music tradition. He oversaw the transition of music from the Classical style, full of poise and balance, to the Romantic style, characterised by emotion and impact.  Or did he?  We know for example that […]

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Women and Places where they sing

Choirs in Malmesbury Abbey

During the early 1990s the Church of England suddenly noticed women.  In 1991, despite warnings of “sacrificing a wonderful, ancient tradition of men and boys’ choirs for political correctness”, Salisbury Cathedral introduced a Girls’ Choir for the first time.  Then on 12 March 1994, the first 32 women were ordained as Church of England priests. However, it was […]

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Running a Choir – Just how hard can it be?

CMVC Cirencester

Last weekend I was in Berlin to run a choir workshop for a Global Law firm.  The recipe for this event sounded fairly straightforward.  Take 60 legal types, feed well before placing in a conference room with an unlimited supply of achoholic beverages.  Then, once settled, dim the lights pull back a screen and reveal a […]

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New Beginnings

In 1985 the German artist Joseph Beuys took 31 rough, bulky basalt rocks and threw them across the floor in a seemingly random manner. The stones are all a muted beige colour, mottled with patches of grey. Each rock measures between one and two and a half metres in length and has a cone-shaped hole drilled into the […]

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Sing something simple


For the last few weeks I have found myself gripped to the edge of my seat whilst watching 12 random strangers perform witchcraft  before my eyes.  By mixing together a few eggs, some flour and other magical substances they attempt to create structures made of cake in order to please Paul and Mary.  Yes, I of course […]

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Tilling Community Choir?

Mallards House

Georgie knew it was useless to protest when Lucia got that loud, inspired, gabbling ring in her voice; she would cut through any opposition, as a steam saw buzzes through the most solid oak board till, amid a fountain of flying sawdust, it has sliced its way. For the last few weeks I have split […]

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Going on tour – just how hard can it be?


Yesterday, whilst in my capacity as a Church Organist, 2 unique and interesting things occurred.  Firstly, I actually listened to a bit of a sermon and secondly by reading my book throughout the sermon I proved that, contrary to popular opinion, men can in fact multi-task.  The opening lines of the sermon caught my attention. […]

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