Hi everyone. Today is the last day of May, Bank Holiday Monday, and it’s going to be a blistering day of sun, sun, sun. As we all know, both April and May have been extraordinarily cold and blowy, so this is not before time. I resolutely wore my thick winter shirts and jumpers (not to mention a t-shirt/vest) until I was forced to get a box of summer clothes out of the loft on Saturday. And yesterday, I went to church and in my best ‘Michael Portillo’ trousers and flowery short-sleeved shirt. In the afternoon I met 22 New Sussex Opera singers at ‘The DrippingRead More →

As the weather has been better over the last week, we’ve done a bit more in the garden. I thought you might like to see one of our ferns after I trimmed off last year’s foliage: It looks almost pre-historic – but healthy. In the couple of decent weeks we’ve had, Robin and I visited Herstmonceux Castle Gardens where we encountered this amazing Juniper tree. And I’ve been able to enjoy my lunch in the graveyard at St Michael’s when I practice there. A team of volunteers have been bringing it under control and it looks lovely with all the wild flowers. Let’s hope thatRead More →

Hi everyone. I hope you are all well. I went to Brighton yesterday (check-up at the dentist) and the place was crowded. Difficult to find a parking space and people sitting outside in the sunshine (but wasn’t it still cold?) drinking coffee, even wine at 2pm. Thankfully my teeth were declared to be in good shape. Each time I make the journey to Lewes or (less frequently) elsewhere, I try to do at least two things in order to justify the journey in my own mind. So before going on to Brighton, I spent a happy 2 hours practising in St Michael’s Church in Lewes.Read More →

Hi everyone. I hope you are all keeping well during this 3rd lockdown. It’s a bit depressing being locked down again, but I’ve decided to make sure I do a few things each day, including phoning friends, writing the occasional blog and organising musical life in the 2nd half of this year. It would be easy to just write off everything until the Autumn, but I like to retain a positive outlook, putting things in place so that they can happen if at all possible. So here’s what I’m up to and maybe you can help me with a few ideas of your own. MyRead More →

This is the organ at St Michael’s in Lewes, where we are moving towards the completion of our rebuild. Andrew and John removed much of the organ in early September to their workshop on the Isle of Wight. The two manuals you see here have been refurbished. The buttons below each keyboard are pistons. Each piston selects one or more stops, so the  five pistons under each manual allows the organist to ‘bring out’ a particular selection of stops on that particular keyboard. OK so far? There used to be just 6 pistons below each manual and now there are more: six extra General pistons below the SwellRead More →

Well here we go again – 2nd Lockdown starting on Thursday, just in time to make sure Ruth Kerr and I can’t do the 1st (and 2nd) of our three recitals on Friday! Ruth and I have put together three recitals: German song; French and English song; and Christmas song. We decided we would not advertise the specifics of our programme in advance, and definitely none of those contagious paper programmes handed out on the night! Instead, we were going to introduce pieces as we went along. But to give our disappointed punters a taster, here’s one song we recorded when we rehearsed a few daysRead More →

Komm, Jesu, komm On Saturday we held the final workshop in our Bach Motet series which started back in January. J.S.Bach wrote 6 motets, all with just organ continuo accompaniment. Most were written to be sung at a specific funeral, but that’s not to suggest that they are in any way funereal! Most are bright and exciting. Four are for 8 voices; one is for 5 voices and just Lobet den Herrn is for 4 voices (which is also the only one with an independently written organ part). With workshops every other week in January, Feb and March, we just got Jesu, meine Freude in before lockdown andRead More →

Hi everyone. I’m delighted that we’ve been able to start singing together again after a six month gap. We all accept that things are constantly changing and that this may be a brief window of opportunity, but most of the choirs that I know of in Lewes have re-started rehearsals and choristers have been delighted to sing once more. For me, first off were the Lewes Chamber Choir. We meet in Cliffe Hall where we are restricted to 19 people. We’ve met twice in September. The hall has put in place its own precautions and restrictions making it ‘Covid secure’. Then the choir has itsRead More →

It’s over 3 weeks since my last post. Last week Robin and I were in Ripon, North Yorkshire. Lewes Singers were to have sung the services in the Cathedral over the Bank Holiday weekend, but of course that was cancelled nearly 2 months ago. But we had a holiday cottage booked for the week, so took it as our Summer holiday. While we were up there we visited Ripon Cathedral (obviously); Fountains Abbey, which is a vast but well preserved ruins of a Cistercian Abbey founded in 1120. We spent a day in York, visiting the cathedral and having lunch in the Guy Fawkes InnRead More →