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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Getting the look right

Gestalt Laws

The principles of grouping (or Gestalt laws of grouping) are a set of principles in psychology, first proposed by Gestalt psychologists to account for the observation that humans naturally perceive objects as organised patterns and objects, a principle known as ‘Prägnanz’.  Gestalt psychologists argued that these principles exist because the mind has an innate disposition […]

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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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God doesn’t attend concerts

St Sepulchres Church Holborn

St Sepulchre’s in Newgate is known as the National Musicians Church.  The ashes of Sir Henry Wood, founder of the Proms, lie in its north chapel which is dedicated to the commemoration of significant British musicians.  You would therefore expect this church to be a thriving centre for music, both as part of worship and  through concerts […]

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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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Not making a fuss


This afternoon, a man with a beard went to Brussels to hand over a letter to a Polish chap.  Meanwhile, some woman in the UK said it was a “moment of celebration for some, disappointment for others”.  I refer of course to the triggering of Article 50 which starts the process of Britain being removed from the European […]

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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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