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 here 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, and after the organ festival 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 (KN2000) 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. I will do my best to see you all again if you will risk it!
Bye for now.
|Concerts in 2017|
|July 29th||Cumbria steam rally Grange over Sands|
|August 11th||Shrewsbury Flower Show|
|August 25th||Isle of Wight (outdoor festival)|
|September 1st||Bunk Fest Wallingford (Oxford)|
|September 8th||Malpass Steam Rally Cheshire|
|December 7th||Exeter Electronic Keyboard Club|
|December 18th||Redcliffe Hotel,Paignton|
|Concerts in 2018|
|February 1st||Weston Organ and Keyboard Club|
|February 11th||Briston Organ Shows|
|February 17th||Chelmsford Organ and Keyboard Club|
|February 20th||Bideford Keyboard and Organ Club|
|February 27th||New Forest Organ Society|
|April 8th||Rutland Organ and Keyboard Music Club|
|April 24th||Thanet Electronic Organ & Keyboard Club|
|May 12th||Malvern Show|
|May 26th||Herts County Show|
|June 9th||Barking Folk Festival (more details)|
Marking Folk Festival
|June 15th||Eroica festival, Buxton|
|July 7th||Hollowell steam rally|
|July 14th||Witney outdoor festival|
|July 22nd||Bassetlaw steam|
|August 4th||Isle of Wight (outdoor)|
|August 10th||Shrewsbury Flower Show|