NEWS PAGE & BLOG


Hello one and all and welcome to my news page. Here you can see me as my two alter egos the ever efficient secretary Prudie Jones, Evette the Spivette and plain old little me as you catch up with all that is current in my world. Regrettably unlike Prudie my spelling is quite frightful at the best of times due to my dyslexia so I shall apologise now for anything which might be shamefully mis-spelt. In the mean time I hope you find this page fun, entertaining and informative and become a regular visitor to my site.

Chat soon & keep reading
Fiona Harrison
A Voice in a Million


Back From Eastbourne and Singing Through to New Year!

On the Road to Eastbourne!

I’m afraid I can’t spend too long on my blog tonight as this is the week when I move away from performing just one show a day to two shows daily. It’s important I pace myself and make sure I get plenty of sleep in between times.

My show in Eastbourne went very well at the weekend. I had a show earlier that day on Saturday in Middlesex and fortunately everything went to plan. I arrived at the Lansdowne Hotel at 5.30pm. Paul met me there and he had already brought in my bigger speakers which I had given to him a few weeks before. It’s all about team

Paul in Eastbourne!

work and I had been asked to perform a Christmas cabaret for The St George Society.

As with all my shows I away like to have plenty of musical variations which gives me the scope to read the audience and go with the flow. Paul also sang and his songs went down very well with the audience who seemed to be big Sinatra fans. I started my set with a selection of traditional Christmas songs but as the mood quickly changed towards more of a party atmosphere I moved the show up a gear with Abba and Rock and Roll before finishing with White Christmas.

Christmas at The Lansdowne Hotel!

After the show we were able to pack up and enjoy the rest of the evening with DJ Ian as we were booked to stay over night in the hotel. Much as Paul and I would have liked to have seen a bit more of Eastbourne on Sunday I had to get away as I was due on stage at 2.30pm for a Christmas party in Dunstable.

Today I’ve been performing in Cambridgeshire and next Saturday I shall be in Oxfordshire singing in the town of Abingdon. I must leave my blog here tonight as I need to get to bed and catch up on some rest.

Keep Following and Toodle Pip! 😉


Rocking Around the Christmas Tree, Disney & Off to Eastbourne!

Back in the Hair Dresses!

Yes it’s official Christmas is here and as you can imagine I’m well into the swing of Festive shows. Last weekend I was working flat out to get all my paperwork ship shape, presents wrapped and tree up before hitting the road. I’ve now more or less caught up although I have to confess I still have my Christmas cards to do. These last few days I’ve been on the beauty trail between performances having hair and nails done ready for the season as it’s important to always look ones best. (Shame about the photo but what can I say I’m a work in progress!)

My new songs “It’s beginning to look a lot like

Tree Up & Presents Wrapped!

Christmas” and “Santa Baby” have been going down well with audiences and with all this travelling I’ve already started work on researching Disney numbers for next years show, “A Fairy Tale Christmas Spectacular”.  I’ve been talking to Paul about Disney music and until fairly recently I had no idea he was such an authority on Disney films. I grew up in an age where unless you went to the cinema to see them when they came out they weren’t readily available. Unlike today where  it’s easy to buy a DVD or You Tube is just a click away.

With my current Christmas show flowing freely and well bedded in my brain it’s allowing me space to think about other music and plan for the future. I love to be creative and I start rehearsing “My Fair Lady” in the new year. I watched the film the other day while making a pill box hat and it’s refreshed my memory. I have a very clear idea how to stage the show and adapt it into a one woman performance. Paul very cleverly

Homework for 2019!

was able to find me a professor Higgins hat on line and I can’t wait to play all those characters. Of-course I know Eliza very well but it’s Higgins I’m looking forward to getting my teeth into and re-sighting all those wonderful words!

This weekend I’m working in Eastbourne at the Lansdowne Hotel and I still need to type up my show plan and sort out a suitable dress to wear. It’s going to be a bit of a dash as I have a show in Middlesex just before so I will need to get my skates on. Speaking of which I had better leave it here tonight as I still have a few more e-mails to send before going to bed.

Keep Following, Toodle Pip and bye for Now!

 


It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas, New Videos & Singing in the Rain!

Christmas Shopping in Debenhams!

Getting All Wrapped Up for Christmas!

Paul Before the Show at Mill Hill Synagogue!

I can’t believe just how far I have fallen behind with my blog this week but like the title suggests it really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas and even now I’m dashing to get my blog out between festive shows. I started the first of my Christmas shows yesterday and I’ve been rehearsing this week to make sure all was right in my head word wise before I stepped out with my first Christmas show on Friday.

This year I have a few new numbers including the tittle song “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” ( another brilliant Richard arrangement) and “Santa Baby” which we have lifted a key. I think I mentioned in my last blog next year I will be launching a new Christmas show “A Fairy Tale Spectacular”. I can’t wait to get to work with Richard on the new musical arrangements in the Spring as we start to prepare for Christmas/New Year 2019/2020.

Speaking of New Year I’m currently learning Abba’s “Happy New Year” and “The Perfect Year” from “Sunset Boulevard” which will make great additions to my New Year’s show. This week I’ve launched two new videos, A Rock and Roll showreel and a 1940s Swing take on the traditional Scottish song “Loch Lomond”. So if you get the chance do click my You Tube button at the top of this page and take a look. I was keen to have something Scottish for New Year and Burns Night so I’m very pleased with the way “Loch Lomond” has turned out.

My mother and I have been watching “Outlander” on DVD which is set in 18 century Scotland. The whole concept of being able to travel through time has always fascinated me. The story begins in the 1940s then we go back to the 18 century (two of my favorite historical periods) and then

On Stage at Mill Hill!

we move on into the 1960s and back to the 18th century again. It’s a good yarn and I’ve found some of the costumes very inspiring. Needless to say I’m into everything Scottish at the moment and next August Paul and I will be heading up to Edinburgh for the Military Tattoo. So can’t wait and I’m already thinking about designing a new dress with an 18th century come Scottish feel!

This week I’ve been busy trying to tie up all those loose ends before Christmas only I still have a mountain of paper work to get through. Last weekend I was able to go to Milton Keynes and get all my Christmas Shopping done and this weekend I must finish my wrapping and make a start on all my Christmas Cards. It’s difficult trying to fit it all in between shows especially after such a busy November.

Last week Paul and I had a show in London at Mill Hill Synagogue and afterwards

Paul and I with Miss Paramount!

we had the pleasure of meeting up with our French friend and fellow singer Miss Paramount in Covent Garden at La Ballerina. A charming Italian restaurant in Bow street. It was good to be in London again and to visit the Royal Opera House and to see all the Christmas decorations. On Saturday I drove over to the Cots Wolds and performed for a private party in Moreton in the Marsh a “We’ll Meet Again” show which was my last uniform show of the season.

This week I invited my friend and French horn player Barry Castle to join me at the cinema to see the MGM classic “Singing in the Rain”. It’s true

Paul Out With Miss Paramount Enjoying London!

what they say they really don’t make films like that any more. Singing in the Rain is my favorite musical and it was wonderful to see this fabulous Technicolor film on the big screen. I was able to really study the costumes this time around in detail and see so much more. After all who could forget those wonderful dance sequences with Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Donald O’ Connor!

I was really pleased Barry was able to join me as he use to play french horn at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. Having just been there a few days before it was good to catch up with all the news.

Tea at The Royal Opera House!

Gosh just noticed the time and I really must dash. It’s now Christmas shows all the way through to the New Year. Keep Following and Toodle Pip! 😉

“We’ll Meet Again at Moreton in the Marsh!

 


Back from Leeds, Manchester and off to London & The Cotswolds!

In Full Swing at Thorner Victory Hall!

Hello every-one once again I’m writing on the run between shows as I get ready to head off to my hotel as Paul and I are performing at Mill Hill Synagogue a Big Band and Swing show tomorrow before heading off to Covent Garden in the evening. We’ve had a full weekend and I’m typing with care trying not to knock my nail varnish as I desperately need it to dry before hitting the road.

Last weekend Paul and I were up in Leeds singing at Thorner Victory Hall for a special Remembrance Dinner Dance arranged by the Royal British Legion. I had been engaged to perform 2 x 45 minute sets. The first,

Paul Doing His Swing Thing!

a WW1 cabaret featuring all the popular Music Hall songs from the time followed by a Big Band and Swing set with songs from the 1940s. Paul had been engaged to preform too as we got everybody up on the dance floor dancing to the very best swing tunes of the time.

A great deal of effort had gone into organizing the event and the hall had been beautifully decorated with flags and posters from the Great War which even included a WW1 exhibition. Dinner was served just prior to our show which featured shepherds pie and apple pie and cream which went down really well with the guests. Nearly every-one had dressed up for the occasion which was delightful to see and we finished the evenings entertainment with The White Cliffs of Dover/We’ll Meet Again and British themes.

Both Paul and I had a fantastic time at Victory Hall as the

Getting Ready Back-Stage for My WW1 Set!

audience gave us a standing ovation through a sea of waving union jack flags. So thank-you to David for engaging us as it was lovely to be part of your event. That night we stayed just down the road at Crocodile House and we were made extremely welcome by our hosts Carol and William Heaton who also came and saw our show on Saturday night.

The next day Paul and I were on the road by 11.00 am as I had been booked to perform a Music Hall show in Manchester for the Bramhall Community in Sale Moor. I revived a call out off the blue back in March thanks to the Bramhall organizer Peter.

Before the Show at Victory Hall!

As I was already working in the North I was able to click the two jobs together and call in on my way home. Once again we were given a wonderful welcome and  both Paul and I hope very much to return in the future as I finished my second set in my top hat and tails with the aria Nessun Dorma, but then you can’t go wrong with Puccini!

After London on Wednesday I will be moving on forward in time to the 1950s and 60s than back to WW1 on Friday as I head down to Chiswick. On Saturday I will be performing in the Cotswolds in the town of Moreton in the Marsh my “We’ll Meet

On Stage at Bramhall!

Again” ATS show for a special event arranged by Mc Carthy and Stone so it’s a very busy time!

Last night I was in the recording studio with Richard laying down the counter melody to my new Christmas song. “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas”. Next year I’ve been engaged to perform a one woman semi staged concert version of the musical My Fair Lady where I will be playing all the parts. I start rehearsals in the New Year and my first booking for the production is on the 1st March. I’m also working on developing a new Christmas show for 2019/20 which will be “A Fairy Tail Christmas” and include the best of Disney and much more. I’m currently working on some new musical arrangements which I will be putting into production with Richard at Easter. I can’t wait to get started as the show will include some new medley compositions of Mary Poppins,

Laying Down My Christmas Vocals!

Aladdin, Oliver and more.

Gosh is that the time! Must dash! Keep Following and Toodle Pip!

 


Remembering the Armistead at Sherington & On Stage at Thorner Victory Hall!

On Stage at The Friday Club!

It’s been a full week of Remembrance having performed fourteen “Pack Up Your Troubles” and “We’ll Meet Again” shows in seven days. I can now take it a little easier as I’m just down to one a day this week. This Saturday Paul and I will be on stage at Thorner Victory Hall in Leeds for a special remembrance dinner dance. I’ve been engaged to perform 2 x 45 minute sets. The first is to feature songs from the Great War and then for the second set Paul and I will be performing Swing tunes from the 1940s.  On Sunday I shall be in Manchester at Sale Moor performing my WW1 “Pack Up Your Troubles” show for a private event before heading home to Bedfordshire.

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of performing a mixture of music from the first and second world wars in the village of Sherington at St Lauds Church. The whole village turned out

On Stage at St Lauds Church, Sherington!

Getting Dressed in the Vestry for my WW1 Set!

Remembrance Poppy Cakes!

to support the event as I opened with a selection of songs from the first world war and then performed some favorites from WW2 for my second set, which also included songs from the musicals. During the interval the organizers had made a wonderful section of poppy cup cakes which were thoroughly enjoyed by all.

In fact this week I’ve been amazed by all the lovely remembrance poppy cakes people have made to commemorate the end of hostilities. On Sunday I had three shows back to back and I’ve been working not just as a singer in a show sense but in a ceremonially capacity too. All poppy cakes consumed have been thoroughly enjoyed and have helped to kept me going. People don’t always realize just what hard work it is going from show to show singing morning, noon and night. It requires skill and a lot stamina.

This season I’ve enjoyed mixing my repertoire and thanks to a ladies suggestion who heard me sing at New Street station in Birmingham on Tuesday I have been including “That Lovely weekend”.  A beautiful song I’d almost forgotten about, in fact the centenary has inspired me to resurrect a few numbers I’ve not performed in a while. I have so many songs in my repertoire it’s been like a breath of fresh air to pull out some songs from my back catalog and good for my audiences too.

When it comes to the music of the 1940s there seems to be far too much repetition among artists. All performing the same songs bought off the internet with very little creativity or imagination. All my backing tracks are custom made which makes such a difference.

This is all my news for now but next Saturday I will be in Moreton in the Marsh.

After my Show in Maids Moreton!

Keep Following and Toodle Pip!

 


New Street, Birmingham, Remembrance & the Poppy Appeal!

Pitstone and the Poppy Appeal!

Joe Marling The Poppy Man of Pitstone!

It’s November and after Halloween and Guy Falkes Night it’s now full steam ahead with Remembrance and the Poppy Appeal. If you have been following my  social media pages you will know I have a show for every season. My Halloween show “Fly me to the Moon” has been very well received this year and I’ve enjoyed singing my new arrangements. I’m now performing two to three shows daily for the next couple of weeks with remembrance and the great war centenary so it’s important I don’t forget to pace myself.

Pack Up Your Troubles in Princes Risborough!

Ready to Roll at New Street!

Last Sunday I was pleased to make it along to see my friend Joe Marling other wise known as The Poppy man of Pitstone as he works tirelessly to raise money for the Poppy Appeal. Every year he stands out-side Mason’s Stores in Pitstone with his 1940s WW2 Jeep filling tins for the appeal. I think he’s now up to his 13th tin so keep up the good work Joe!

Collecting with the RAF!

The Poppy Collectors!

On Saturday I had the pleasure of performing in Princes Risborough my WW1 show “Pack up Your Troubles” and this coming Saturday I will be in the Village of Sherington performing the songs of WW1 & WW2 for a special event at St Lauds Church. Today I’ve been in St Albans, tomorrow I’m in Watford and High Wycombe, Friday Leighton

The Army Band!

Collecting with the Navy!

Buzzard and Hitchin, Saturday I also have an earlier show in Northampton and then on Sunday I’m in Aylesbury and onto Maids Morton for my evening performance.

On stage with Recruitment Sargent Alan!

My day started early as I left Leighton Buzzard at 5am in the morning so I would be at New Street station for 7am. Driving to Birmingham isn’t a problem but finding where you need to go once you are in town is. It quickly became apparent that my Sat Nav  was of no use at all in the city as many of the roads are one way, pedestrianized or closed for roadworks.

In the end the only way I was going to make it to New Street station was to find someone with local knowledge. Fortunately I was able to pick up a very nice crane operator by the name of Mark who had helped to build part of the city. With Mark’s local knowledge he was able to direct me to where I needed to go. At times even Mark  found it difficult with so many roads closed and I certainly couldn’t  have made it to New Street and the Poppy shop with-out his help him.  Such a kind man who I wanted to pay but instead he insisted I put the money into the Poppy fund. So thank-you Mark where-ever you are for your generous kind help and for being such a gentleman. I couldn’t have done it with-out you!

Once I had made it to the Poppy shop I was able to meet up with my contact Yanto and a very nice lady who helped me down to New Street station with my equipment. On the face of it it isn’t far but when you have two sack barrows full of equipment and high heels the walk seems like a marathon. Unfortunately it’s quite a slope from the shop to the station and I got my wheels caught in the tram tracks  trying to control the weight of the load. Once free it was straight into the station as I set up by the  escalator and the RBL stall.

Our next problem was access to electricity which Yanto was able to sort out with the station manager and Network Rail. Then the retchet went on my mic stand and due to the morning dampness the stereo had stopped working on my AMP which meant I only had sound coming out of one speaker. Fortunately I always carry spares and as the morning wore on the stereo returned. It was a heart stopping moment and I must have aged a year yesterday with all the worry!  I was mighty pleased when the stereo returned which just goes to show an amp needs to be kept in the warm and not left to get cold as it causes a condensation issue and effects the stereo.

My plan was to sing 20 minutes on 20 minutes off all through the day from 8am – 4pm but with the Army band having set breaks we ended up going with the flow performing as and when so as to keep the music constant. Once I’d ironed out all the technical issues and started singing there was a wonderful atmosphere at the station as every-one pulled together to do their bit for The Poppy Appeal. All in all I think I sang my way through  80 numbers performing Opera to Rock and roll and a selection from the 1940s too. So thank-you Yanto and to all the many volunteers who helped to make me feel so welcome. It was lovely to work with you all and here’s to next year.

Next week I will be in Leeds and Manchester but I shall tell you more about that in my next blog.

Keep Following and Toodle Pip!

On Stage Doing My Bit!


Halloween Magic, Launching The Poppy Appeal & Off to Birmingham!

Launching the Poppy Appeal with David Merrington!

I’m afraid once again I’m between e-mails and I haven’t too long this evening before I must get back to my show plans and make sure everything is in place for my forth coming Remembrance performances. This week I’ve been busy with Halloween shows and I’ve been enjoying trying out my new arrangements.

I’m still experimenting with “That Old Black Magic/Witchcraft” which requires a different mic technique. Richard has done me proud with the musical arrangement which has a bossa nova come swing feel and requires a different laid back singing approach. I guess you could say  I’m working towards a sound which is more like

Going Witchy Poo!

Marilyn Monroe. Tender in tone and contrasts beautifully with “It’s Magic” which Richard arranged for me in the Liberace style. I’m really getting down and enjoying being Groovy with “Spooky” and “Devil in Disguise” is proving very popular too. I’ve also been “Over the Rainbow” with the Wizard of Oz this season and back on my broomstick with “Fly Me to the Moon”!

I’ve invested a great deal in this shows musical content and it’s lovely when a plan comes together. It’s been a good seller as I could see there was a demand for something which still maintaining an element of glamour with-out being ghoulish. Halloween is big business and it’s important I always stay on trend and have shows for every occasion. This season I’ve been invited to taste and try so many wonderful Halloween cakes which never cease to amaze! I shall be playing “It’s Magic” through to the 5th November and yes you guest it – I will be finishing my show on Guy Fakes night with the Joseph

David Merrington Collecting in Morrisons!

Locke number Blazeaway!

It maybe Halloween but it’s important to remember this is also the season for Remembrance. Last Saturday I had the pleasure of working along side David Merrington from Leighton Buzzard’s Royal British Legion as we launched the start of the Poppy Appeal. Every year David sells Poppies for the Poppy Appeal in Morrisons supermarket and this year Morrisons invited me to join him for the Launch.  I was engaged to sing 20 minutes on 20 minutes off all through the day and between us we were able to fill 3 tins.

On Stage in Morrisons Supermarket!

On Sunday I will be meeting up with Joe Marling the Poppy Man of Pitstone and then next Tuesday I will be singing in Birmingham at New Street Station for Birmingham’s RBL Poppy Appeal. Tuesday’s show will be a real killer as I start singing from 8am – 4.30pm 20 minutes on 20 minutes Off all through the day. So if you happen to be at New Street Station on Tuesday do come along and say hello. It will be lovely to see you.

This Saturday I’m in Princes Risborough performing my WW1 Show “Pack Up Your Troubles”at the Community Center to commemorate the Great War centenary . The following weekend I will be at Sherington for a special event and then on the 17th November I shall be in Leeds at Thorner Victory Hall. I shall have more news on those performances in my next blog.

In the meantime I enclose some posters about Caddington Grove

Care Home, 175 London Road, Dunstable. Newly opened it offers a wonderful range of facilities which are available to the local over 50s community. This includes a hair salon and a Dementia friendly Cinema Club. I sang for the homes opening a couple of weeks ago and I was very impressed with the services they offer. So if you are local to Dunstable and over 50 do pop along and check out Caddington Grove’s  facilities.

That’s all my news for now. Keep Following and Toodle Pip! 😉

The Poppy Appeal!


Remembering The Great War in Fareham, Poppy Appeal, BBC Radio & Going Spooky!

On the Justin Dealey Radio Show!

Paul and I by the Remembrance Stone!

Hello every-one once again I’ve had a full week having done a radio interview for BBC Three Counties radio on Saturday and then dashed back from performing in Fareham. Tonight I’ve been rehearsing my Halloween repertoire in time for tomorrows show in Marlow which is my first Spooky show of the season. I’m dying to try out  “That Old Black Magic/Witchcraft” arrangement which I commissioned from Richard new for this season. I also have the Elvis song “Devil in Disguise” and “Spooky” which are two new numbers for me which I haven’t as yet sung live in performance. I’ve been  re -looking at some of my Halloween arrangements as I wasn’t happy with them and it’s lovely to see the show coming together. After all there is nothing more thrilling than stepping out on stage with a brand new, tailor made musical arrangement!

Fareham’s WW1 Commemoration Ceremony!

Fareham’s Remembrance Stone!

The next two weeks are going to be a mix of Halloween and Remembrance shows ranging in style from ATS, WAAF and WW1. So I have quite a variety of costumes to wear and musical content to sing my way through. On Monday Paul and I were down in Fareham as I had been engaged to perform for a WW1 ceremony which involved the mayor and all the local VIPs representing the services. A speech was given by the mayor as she unveiled a Great War commemoration stone and a bugler played “The Last Post”.

In the Studio with Justin Dealey!

I sang just prior to the unveiling and at the end as the VIPs made their way off to a special commemorative lunch. Part of my job was to get the local children from Good Manors nursery involved with the singing. The children were only 3 and 4 so very young and it soon became apparent in rehearsal expecting such little ones to clap for 3 – 4 minutes was a little too much.  When it came to performance I thought on my feet and gave the children flags instead which was easier for them to use and gave the press the shots they needed.

A day or two before I was on the Justin Dealy radio show for BBC Three Counties.  It’s a bit of a wacky show and Justin and I had such fun. He asked me to sing live “Johnny B Goode”, “Mr Sandman” and “The Boogie Woogie Bugler Boy from Company B”. As yet I haven’t heard play back but it might be another one for my web-site  radio archive.

This Saturday I’ve been engaged by Morrisons super market in Leighton Buzzard to open the Poppy Appeal by singing 20 minutes on 20 minutes off from 11am to 4pm all through the day. The lady that booked me is away on holiday and I’m hoping we can still go ahead as she wanted to be on hand to organize. I’m fully booked for the next three weeks so I’m not able to reschedule but all being well Saturday will go ahead as originally planed.

On the 6th November I will be in Birmingham  at New Street Station singing for the Poppy Appeal there but more news on that later.

Keep Following and Toodle Pip! 😉

 


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