Jubilant and positive!

There will be 60,000 street parties on Sunday 5th June! How fantastic! Rufus has been learning all about the jubilee at school. His little preschool class made the Queen a card and it was posted to Buckingham Palace. Rufus – you are the sweetest little boy. You have a beautiful soul. You are so kind and gentle. Finn sent me a little song that Ollie had recorded. Bless him. Sarah, “I am a great supporter of the queen but I wish she’d decreed a one day celebration and not a four day weekend.” Me, “Yes, four days is quite extreme, but fine when it’s MY birthday.” Sarah, “yes, you get at least a week, but then you did always have more influence than the monarch.” Hahahaha. This year for my birthday, it’s a girls day out at the ABBA show! Beth will no doubt have us dressed up! Roll on July! Today though was our Glenn’s birthday. My soon to be son-in-law is the very best I could have hoped for. A fantastic dad and a really lovely guy. ❤️❤️

The card Rufus and his class made for the Queen.

Who we are today, is very much the result of how we were raised and the life skills we’ve picked up over the years and from various people along the way. The learning never stops for me, so it’s hilarious to look back at my teenage self, who thought I knew it all. Even the catastrophic relationship with the MFI taught me lots (for starters, I know how to make a Negroni and what al dente is!). Yet many poor souls never quite master how to live as a compassionate, caring and content adult. The politics associated with running the choirs is something I prefer not be involved in, but occasionally things are flagged up on my radar. If anything is tittle tattle, I toss it straight in the bin, where it belongs. If something is serious enough to warrant real attention, then I mull it over for a few days, gather the opinions of my nearest and dearest and then either bin it, or calmly and discreetly deal with it. I sometimes hear gossip about myself and it’s always untrue and quite ridiculous, so I just ignore it. I’m far too secure – what you see is exactly what you get. No grudges, no petty rubbish. There are going to be a few exciting changes later in the year and I hope to return to a little one to one teaching again too. I feel it’s time!

London. Jubilee!

Harry Styles really does have something unique. I LOVED his first solo, Sign of the Times (2017) and I very much like his new single, As it Was. It reminds me of A-ha and Will Young. Its very, very rare that I see anyone that (for me) has the X factor, but Harry does. He’s gone a bit Eddie Izzard lately, but it only makes me like him more. What draws us to people is their energy – not the way they look. Positive energy. Styles is so secure in who he is, that nothing could knock him down.

Wayne & Beth singing together at Woodchurch xxx

Happy Endings and New Beginnings…

It’s hard believe than another year of blogging is at an end. Looking back it’s been a bit dull in parts. It’s had its ups and plenty of downs, but here we are! Everyone is well, the kids are doing great, the choirs are busy. As I get older I find myself watching my kids repeating much of the family life that I gave to them. I was always so happy making them my priority and made sure they felt loved and secure. Fairy cakes for after school, a Roald Dahl book and red licorice for Ol, Pop Tarts and football cards for Ru, post office supplies (stolen) and a cream egg for Beth. I was lucky to be an at home mum, always there to walk them to and from school, hand in hand. Normal, happy family life, board games and cheese on toast. We never used to do that much; we weren’t into museum trips or regular outings, but our home was full of laughter with kids running in and out, someone ALWAYS playing the piano, a cat hanging off the curtain track, piles of wellies in the porch and something burning in the oven. Kids were kids for so much longer then. What a sad childhood for those growing up in war-torn countries. The savage war continues in Ukraine. Russia is increasing the intensity of its operations and trying to encircle several towns that I can’t spell.  Zelensky said the Russians have organised a massacre, to destroy everything living, in Donbas.  A Russian diplomat at the UN in Geneva has resigned over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine…interesting.

My pots of support for Ukraine are very lovely!

Bloody blimey – what a slog it’s been. Just finished everything for Choir Actually – last few arrangements for small groups, tracks mixed and folders in order. Hearties had their first complete run through last night and I think it’s a GREAT set! There are a couple of unusual choices in the running order, but that’s actually far less than usual. ‘She’ has been slotted into the My Fair Lady set, as it was a massive crowd pleaser when we did it with Wayne several years ago AND it fits my theme, which is to celebrate all the lovely ladies in the choir. I also added, I who have nothing, to Dreamgirls and a little extra Motown to Sister Act. I have solved the mystery of why we are finding it so hard to keep in time, for ‘What’s inside’ – it wasn’t just us rushing! I lined it up with a click track and noticed that when the actual song starts (after the intro and silent bit) that it’s at least a whole beat late!! I am feeling flustered due to my workload over the next few weeks. I am grateful for all Carolines help with events as she handles the logistics, which I could never manage now with the increased workload and babysitting etc. So, next is the Jubilee dinner and dance for St Michaels Village Hall. “Yes, we can help with your fundraising,” I said. The following day, it’s the Rockits Jubilee Picnic at the park in Tenterden. The Town Council are organising this, but we are kind of hosting it, “yes, we can help with this,” we told them. It’s a little Rockits-Fest with a tea tent, singing AND cream teas! What more can you want in life? We are allowed to give any money raised to Macmillan which is GREAT. The following Friday the Hearties are out once again, with a big production called, Choir Actually. This is a new venture for us in many ways as we are trying a new approach to performance work. The KPG (Kate’s Performance Group) are a handful of ladies who are brave enough to do a few twirls, learn the songs off by heart and dress up! I could not be in this group! The KPG will change for every show, but we are very short of time so the same faces pop up for a few bits, as rehearsals will be few and far between and no doubt held in Kate’s kitchen. After Choir Actually, I plan to lay in a darkened room for two days, haha.

It just had to be done! Haha.

Beth and I looked at a little premises in the high street, to use primarily for Baby & Toddler Rockits. Just right. How exciting! She needs a home for her sensory and music sessions as they just keep on growing! At the moment she carts so much equipment around and the cost of renting suitable halls is very high. I have no idea how she fits in her car with all those bongo drums, bubble machines, balloons, mats and maracas. Toddler & Baby Rockits has become a very special little thing, but I think that’s because Beth really understands and loves music and babies. It’s totally who she is. This cosy, little premises will be turned into sensory heaven for little ones and used for occasional Rockits singing sessions too! Coming soon… The Rockits Hub! Nige has already purchased the coffee machine and is being our hot drinks sponsor. Bless him. Here’s to new beginnings…

Little Max and his Pokemon collection. Like father like son.

Finn is 4! Douze Pointes!!!!!

Darling Finn. Happy 4th Birthday my lovely boy. I may not see you as often as I’d like, but I think about you every day and daddy always sends me a picture or video of you. I like it best when he records you chatting about meteors. It won’t be long until your baby brother arrives – you want him to be called, Rainbow, haha. You are SO like your daddy was at your age. You have exactly the same chocolate brown eyes that actually smile when you do. I read a little quote the other day, “if your children are your rainbows, your grandchildren are your pots of gold.” This is true. You boys are all still tiny, but you are all giant pieces of my heart. Xxxxx

Ollie, Amanda and Finn.

Sunday. Poor Finn wasn’t well for his birthday so his party was cancelled and instead, Nige and I whizzed up to Dorking and delivered his presents. He had asked for a Ralph the Rusty Robot cake this year. Why do the boys never ask for a round cake with sprinkles on? Monday – finished running order, arrangements and scores for Choir Actually. Rockits Hawkhurst sang beautifully. Love it xxxx

Ralph the Rusty Robot.

It actually happened. Bloody blimey! Europe loves us… sort of. If you take the Ukraine effect out of it – we would have bloody well won Eurovision. The “douze pointes” flew in (even from France!!) and I had a tear in my eye as they mounted up and the music industry panels put us FIRST!! Yes! After twenty years in the doldrums, there we were basking in glory. What a nice guy, with a mile-wide smile, Sam Ryder is and my goodness, he is a seriously good singer – check out his songs online. His song, Space Man is great and feels very 70’s and a bit ‘Elton’ – I imagined singing my head off to this in my bedroom when I was about 12, haha. Then the public vote got added and in a flash Ukraine got 400+ points and yes, that’s fine too, a wonderful show of public support for Ukraine from Europe and Australia (hhhhmmm, why are they in Eurovision?). Ok, we didn’t officially win, but in my eyes we did and it was right for Ukraine to be lifted on to our shoulders.

Finn the fireman xxxx

Boys! Evan, Kenny, Rufus.

Dear Evan Hansen. On behalf on the Tenorettes, I would like to thank you for your invitation to visit last Saturday. We chatted, ate, drank and laughed lots before arriving at the theatre. We rather liked your poppy tearjerker (especially the first half) and were very impressed at how well you made your bed. Must say though that the second half (the wallowing and shouting bit) was 40 minutes too long and we wanted a finale with the main songs in. It was an amazingly well produced show (albeit too American in parts for us “pull yourself together” ladies). Again though, there are really only three great songs in this show. As I’ve worked on ‘Choir Actually’ I’ve noticed the same with many shows – Dreamgirls also has only three songs worth using. Sister Act though was jam packed with goodies!

The Tenorettes visit Evan Hansen xx

Dads youngest sibling, Uncle Kenny, has just celebrated his 70th birthday. He’s ten years younger than Dad. The Days are quite an usually close family; rare these days. I’ve grown up somewhat out of the loop, but when I see the family gatherings, with all my cousins and their kids and partners and so on, it’s really lovely. There are masses of them and they all stick together – not just for special occasions. Happy Birthday to a lovely uncle xxxx

Uncle Kenny and (cousin) Karen xxx

Since the show choir became ladies only (sorry boys), I’ve gradually changed the way I arrange the songs. I don’t even try to get it sounding like a “mixed” choir now. I don’t even worry if vocal parts cross over, nope, there are no rules, except I don’t bunch lower harmonies – I try to keep the low ladies, the Tenorettes (haha), a nice gap below the other groups, as it gives depth. Gradually I’ve shifted them all higher too. I am worrying that I’m getting less inventive with age. Great Hearties rehearsal last night with sops and alto 1. We are winning, even though my big iPad has died! Sob, sob and yet more expense! RIP iPad, you served me (and Rufus) well.

Rufus. My boys. ❤️
Another for Sister Act. Love the lyrics.

Jack Sparrow, Beyonce and Riotous Rockits.

Woohoo a great week of Rockits and Hearties. Both of Hearties Tuesday sessions were much better than last weeks and I could hear that most (not all!) had been working at the songs. Rockits on Thursday was fabulous fun. Lots of Hawkhurst Rockits joined us – so good to hear the new songs brought to life. Absolutely loved the evening. Next week we return to Market Square for Tenterden Rockits and just in time for the lovely weather! I’m liking the new arrangement I did for the Sisterz (below), which is, Say my Name by Destiny’s Child. The Sisterz have a new set ready for the Jubilee weekend. They have two short sets; the first is Andrew’s Sisters type songs and the second is modern songs, arranged with a vintage twist.

A real Watermelon Baby!

In between doing scores of scores (oh my!) and arranging the last couple of songs from Sister Act (for Choir Actually), I am working on the, Calling All Angels track that the Hearties recorded in my studio cupboard. I pull a few in at a time and tidy them up, then return to my scores. I can hear a few birds tweeting outside in the garden and Hugo meow in one. I am just waiting on one more recording to be done next week and then I can finish it off. The video that will accompany it has been ready for some time.

Many years ago! The guys, led by Wayne Bridle, singing West Side Story song.

It’s pushed way, way back in my mind, but the recent press surrounding the Johnny Depp/ Amber Heard court case, does bring a few memories back. Clearly there are genuine cases, BUT there are also an awful lot of women who falsely cry all sorts of things, just to get whatever it is they want. Water off a ducks back to them, yet it destroys the lives of others. In the UK, men are forced into very expensive (they cannot get legal aid) court cases to clear their names and get their children back. It’s utterly disgusting and the laws need changing; this is a common scenario and it happened to us. We were lucky that my parents were able to help fund court costs, just to ensure the truth was heard. Other men aren’t so lucky and lose their homes and children when they are totally innocent. So, Johnny Depp is a complete twat, but I watch Amber Heard sat there playing the victim, when she was the aggressor. Believe me, men can be victims too. Speaking of twats, what is it about Keir Starmer? I asked Dad, “he’s a worm,” he said. Oh yes, that’s it. Lib Dems did very well in the local elections – no surprise. The government is taking a battering. I wonder what the hell this country expects? Everyone is moaning about the cost of living – HELLO, IT’S A WORLDWIDE CRISIS, try looking at the bigger picture.

Nanny Duty includes getting ice cream and wearing funny hats.
Say my Name. © Arr. Max Wilson.