I am now shore based after quite a long time away. Working backwards I have just had a year off, after 8 years entertaining lots of guests on the cruise ships. This was with Cunard, Crystal, Fred Olsen, Saga, and P and O. (10 ships) It seems to me that my journey in the music world took me back to the sea after all those years in Her majesty's Royal Marines band service, where I worked for 5 years as pianist in the Royal Yacht Britannia. You may remember that I used to tell my funny anecdotes from that time when I was last on the organ circuit. I was very busy doing the organ societies after I left the Royal Marines but I had this itch to travel further afield. So I went off to Cairo for a week, and stayed for 5 years.
I played at the British Embassy there during that time, and have many happy memories of living in Egypt. I bought a Vespa scooter and really got around. That was until the revolution, which made life less safe. (To say the least) I was organist at the cathedral and frequently entertained at the jazz clubs there. ( I even put on my own shows at a local theatre next to the Nile) I had lots of ex pat students and also taught at the American University and in the schools where I had to learn a bit of Arabic. The list goes on and I met lots of really great people. In fact Her Majesty the Queen told me that I must stop name dropping. So I won't bore you with all the folks that I met or accompanied during my years in Egypt or on the ships. I feel incredibly blessed to have been able to perform every day and thereby see such great improvements in my musicianship. I still do not understand why music was so much of a drive in my life. But for better or worse I can say that the years playing the organ earlier have been massively influenced by the daily grind of playing the piano for those eight years at sea. What was even better was the fact that my cabin was only one deck from the piano bar! I did get ashore though, seeing some fairly exotic places!
In the end I felt that I just had to stop and try to get back to reality. It has taken me a year to re adjust to life ashore again. When I found a place to live in Devon, called "Harbours End" it was clear to me that I had to stay ashore until I could pick up my music again.
Currently, after moving house and after the organ festivals at Seacroft, I have really enjoyed getting back to where I left off. Concerts are trickling in for next year, as well as playing outdoors at the steam rallies and festivals.
I find it hilarious that the outdoor festival people are billing me as "The Queens Pianist" while I play the evening hymn and sunset, lowering the union jack next to my stage, over my rather oversized black gazebo. All the cadets stand to attention as I try my best to do a one man beat retreat. But hopefully at a safe distance as I can still kill a man with my cornet at 20 paces.
I have put together my new (old) organ (HE8) the keyboard (KN3000) and the piano along with the military cornet finish and, oh dear, the Colonel Bogey March around the hall at the end. I am looking forward to catching up with so many old friends.
Bye for now.
PS I have now moved to Bristol. Please note my change of address and phone number change.
Martin Orbidans and Mr Alexander's Travelling Show
For the past year, Martin has performed as musical accompanist with Mr Alexander's Travelling Show. As a solo performer, Mr Alexander has presented his classic Family Variety Show for over forty years at the very best events throughout the UK and abroad. Magic, juggling, unicycling, balance and illusion all combine in a spectacular and enthralling entertainment for all ages. Now combining forces with Martin the shows have yet another dimension with the addition of live music.
The two seasoned performers have a strong bond and their repartee and anecdotes keep audiences amused between shows. In the shows themselves the two become a skilled and polished double act invoking memories of Morecambe and Wise or Hinge and Bracket.
Set on Mr Alexander's unique colourful vintage theatre stage, the shows are reminscent of travelling shows of the 1920s and 30s with echoes of Vaudeville and Music Hall. They are surprisingly sophisticated for a twenty-first century audience.
Visit Mr Alexander's website for more details and dates for 2018 - www.mralexander.co.uk
|Concerts in 2017|
|December 1st||Ocean Beach Hotel Bournemouth|
|December 7th||Exeter Electronic Keyboard Club|
|Concerts in 2018|
|January 17th||Broadway Organ Society|
|February 1st||Weston Organ and Keyboard Club (more details)|
1st Visit to our Club
|February 13th||East Devon Organ Club|
|February 16th||Briston Organ Shows|
|February 17th||Chelmsford Organ and Keyboard Club|
|February 20th||Bideford Keyboard and Organ Club|
|February 23rd||Private function|
|February 25th||Regis Organ and Keyboard Club (more details)|
|February 27th||New Forest Organ Society|
|April 8th||Rutland Organ and Keyboard Music Club|
|April 9th||Victoria hotel Torquay|
|May 4th||Rushden Cavalcade (more details)|
May 4th - 7th
|May 9th||NEDOS North east Derbyshire|
|May 12th||Malvern Spring garden Festival|
|May 17th||Harrogate Electronic Organ & Keyboard Club|
|May 26th||Herts County Show|
|June 9th||Barking Folk Festival|
|June 15th||Eroica Britannia Buxton|
|July 7th||Hollowell steam rally|
|July 14th||Witney outdoor festival|
|July 22nd||Bassetlaw steam|
|August 6th||Nottingham Organ Society|
|August 10th||Shrewsbury Flower Show|
|August 21st||Thanet Electronic Organ & Keyboard Club|
|August 24th||Isle of Wight Steam Show|
|August 31st||Wallingford Bunkfest (more details)|
August 31 to September 2nd
|September 8th||Cambridge Electronic Organ Society|
|September 26th||Faversham Organ & Keyboard Concerts|