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


Armed Forces Day, Plus Shows in Miles Ave & Burcott!

On Stage in Mentmore!

What can I say about last week! I’ve never known it so hot as temperatures climbed and my shows played on through the heatwave and later through the wind and the rain which followed. Luckily three out of my four originally scheduled shows went ahead and by the weekend I continued with my Driveway concerts. On Saturday I played in Aylesbury  for Armed Forces Day and later that afternoon I came back to Leighton Buzzard, changed costume and sang in Miles Avenue songs from the 1940s, 50s and 60s. I really enjoyed this concert as I had been asked to include plenty of Rock and Roll, Lindy Hop tunes for people to dance to which they did.

It’s great when every-thing goes to plan but by the time we came to Saturday the weather changed from hot to unsettled. In some ways I was quite relieved as I had been dreading the thought of wearing my ATS uniform in a heatwave. Temperatures dropped and the rain came in but fortunately it

Slightly Windswept in Burcott!

had been arranged for me to sing from a marque. By the afternoon the rain had subsided but the wind lifted and for one heart stopping moment I had to change computers when the wind caught my table cloth hitting the key pad of my computer causing a glitch. Oddly enough the wind caught my song on the beat taking it back to beginning and nobody even noticed as I sang through regardless and every-one continued to dance.

Phew – that was a close one!

By Sunday the weather was still a little hit and miss but as we say “the show must go on” and I had been booked to play in the village of Burcott

La vie en Rose!

in Wing. Burcott High Street is like a country lane and to it’s advantage it very sheltered. On Sunday there was still a lot of wind but in Burcott you wouldn’t have known. The rain come in just as I was about to set up so I delayed the show by an hour and sang at 4pm. This was the right decision and we all had a wonderful afternoon. Residences brought their chairs and closed off the lane as I sang a selection of songs from the 1940s, 50s, 60s and 70s which included Vera Lynn and Edith Piaf.

It had been my intention to film both of these shows but I was a concerned my phone might blown off the tripod again so i thought better of it.

We are living through extraordinary times and I’ve been enjoying the challenges that the lock down has brought, adapting my shows to suit family audiences and visiting new places. This is the new normal and at the moment I’m waiting for the good weather to return. This Saturday I’ve been requested to perform in Babbage Grove and I’m keeping my fingers crossed the rain will stay away. I should also like to have a few days away and catch up with Paul before getting back to work next week with my Stars and Stripes Show and more Rock and Roll.

That’s all my news for now and I shall leave you with a few photos. Sadly I forgot to take any shots on Armed Forces Day and in Miles Ave but I shall leave you with a great photo which was sent to me by Michelle Spicer at my “We’ll Meet Again” show in Mentmore on the 20th.

Keep Following and Toodle Pip! 😉

 

 


Remembering Vera Lynn in Mentmore & Waterdell + Monkey Magic!

On Stage with Joe Marling in Mentmore!

Joe & His 1942 British Jeep!

May I begin my blog tonight by saying how sorry I was to hear of Dame Vera Lynn’s passing on the 18th June. A lovely lady with an incredible voice. I’m only sorry I never had the privilege to meet her. When it was her 100th birthday I was invited to sing for a number of parties as people came together to celebrate her birthday. At 103 she has left a wonderful legacy of music.

Strangely enough all my Driveway concerts this last week have been 1940s “We’ll Meet Again” shows and it’s been good to perform a few other Vera Lynn numbers too. My favorite Vera Lynn song is “Be like the kettle and Sing” and as yet I haven’t been able to get hold of the sheet music. I have loads of music books but for some reason that song never seems to be included. It’s a number I’ve been wanting to learn and perform for a while now but I’m still looking for the sheet music, so if there is any-one out there with a copy I would love to hear from you.

Although my “We’ll Meet Again” show has a basic template I always like to add in a few different

We’ll Meet Again in Waterdell!

numbers every-time I perform it depending on the mood of the audience. Every audience is different and it’s important to go with the flow. Some audiences like to sit back and listen where others want a good sing-along and a bit of a knees up. It’s important to have a varied repertoire and all bases covered. This week I’ve been performing “Yours” and “You’ll Never know” two Vera Lynn numbers I’ve not sung in a while.

The backing tracks to these two songs I commissioned way back in 1998 and now I prefer to use more modern recordings. These original tracks made up part of my touring  “We’ll Meet Again” theater show where my co star was a singing lamppost. I have very happy memories of that show. I played the role of Lance Corporal Wendy Harrison in the ATS. My ATS uniform still has the rank of Lance Corporal and the show was really

Making Friends with Bentley the Dog!

successful. I toured all the way up to Shetland and Orkney and way back down to Jersey and Guernsey – Happy times!

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of performing on Mentmore village green as the village came out with their pick-nicks to watch my 40s show. Sadly Mentmore had to cancel their VE Day Celebrations due to the Covid Lock down and it had been my intention to perform for them for D-day instead. Once again we were unable to go ahead due to bad weather but fortunately every thing came together last Saturday. The weather was fabulous and I had a fantastic audience. My

Hello Bentley!

friend Joe brought his British 1942 Ford Jeep  which made an incredible back drop as every-one sat and joined in with the music. If you follow me on Facebook you will be able to see my show as I steamed it live!

I confess to begin with I had thought Saturday 20th June was Armed Forces Day instead of the 27th only because I turned over two pages in my diary and miss read the First Day of Summer for Armed Forces Day due to having written over part of the writing. However as it turned out things could have worked out better. This coming Armed Forces Saturday I shall be in Aylesbury

Matching Vintage Buttons!

with “We’ll Meet Again” and then I dash back, change costume to perform in Miles Avenue songs from the 1940, 50s, 60s and more.

Last Sunday I sang for a belated 90th birthday in Waterdell as I continue to perform my Driveway concerts in and around Leighton Buzzard. Just like Mentmore it was a beautiful day and Waterdell has a wonderful community spirit. Neighbours came out of their houses to sing along and to wish John a very Happy belated 90th Birthday. While I was there I also made friends with Bentley the dog who was so friendly he

My New Monkey Blouse!

really stole the show.

This week I’ve been able to make great progress with my computer as she’s just received a larger brain and I’ve had her up graded to Windows 10. A job long over due. It’s speeded my work up immensely. With lock down it’s the little things which mean a lot. Today I decided to have a run out to Princes Risborough as I wanted to visit Sally’s Sewing box and fortunately they were open for business.

Before the lock down I bought some incredible monkey fabric there which I have just had made

Tartan Ribbon Trimming!

into a 1940s blouse. I was lucky enough to find vintage buttons on line and I had an original pattern from the 40s. I never stop being creative and I’m looking forward to receiving my V for Victory brooch. Today I was able to pick up some interesting red tartan ribbon which I think  will look fabulous on a dress. I shall leave you with a link from this weeks Observer which featured me in the paper this week.

https://www.leightonbuzzardonline.co.uk/news/people/leighton-buzzard-vintage-singer-pays-tribute-dame-vera-lynn-2889990?fbclid=IwAR1_VTHHXn9l2wdDLOX0dKR2Byjd5MQYR69cHPuPzs0-6hpm6CEG8G6S28I

Keep Following and Toodle Pip! 😉


Singing Through Lock-down & Planning a 1940s Wardrobe! ;-)

On Stage in Harrow Road!

Once again this week I’ve been busy performing my Driveway concerts as I continue to lift spirits by singing around my home town of Leighton Buzzard. The weather has been good and I managed to fit thee shows in at Harrow Road, Cotefield Drive and Mountbatten Gardens. As more people go back to work most clients want their shows at weekends as I continue to work my way through my list. My Driveway Concerts have proved extremely popular and I’m now opening up the service to the surrounding towns and villages. So if you, or indeed know of any-one who would like a Driveway concert please do get in touch.

This week we saw the opening of many shops and it’s good to see life starting to return to some sort of normality, although I confess I’m not really a fan of queuing. In this current climate you have to know exactly what you are looking for to make the shopping experience worth the wait. I, on the other hand like

Thank-you for the Music in Cotefield Drive!

to browse and potter about with no particular plan, which is the thing I’ve missed most in lock-down along with visiting vintage fashion and Antique fairs.

Next week “Fabric World” re-opens and I have a list of haberdashery items I need, to finish off some of my current 1940s fashion projects. Before the lock-down my dress maker Judi was altering a vintage Lilli Ann suit for me which I had planned to take out to Normandy this June. I’m looking forward to seeing her again as I also have a dusky pink 1940s blouse in production which I can’t wait to wear.

Consider Yourself At Home!

I saw the fabric by chance in a shop in Princes Risborough and it’s covered in mischievous monkeys. It’s completely bonkers but I just fell in love with it and I knew the fabric would make the perfect 40s blouse. Fortunately I had just the right pattern and I was able to find original 1940s buttons on line at Esty which is the ideal buying sight for for any-one who likes vintage and hand made goods.

It was such a shame that the VE Day events which had been planned for this year were unable to go ahead. However I’m pleased the Leighton Buzzard VE Day event has been rescheduled to 2021. I’m already planning ahead and for some time I had been looking for an original 1940s V for Victory brooch. Last week I found just what I was looking for on Etsy which will be making up part of my out-fit for next years event. Shopping on line is a new experience and it’s amazing the treasures you can find if you take the trouble to look.

Lifting Spirits in Mountbatten Gardens!

This week I’ve been able to complete some of my out-standing jobs including delivering my accounts to my accountant and up grading my e-mail server from Incredimail to EM Client. Next week I plan to up grade my computer as it’s been running extremely slow and move it onto the modern world with Windows 10. It’s long over due for an up grade but I thought now might be the right time.

This weekend I plan to be performing on Saturday in Mentmore a driveway concert as the village sadly had to cancel their VE Day event due to the lock down and on Sunday I shall be at 99 Waterdell. Both clients have requested my “We’ll Meet Again” ATS show and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for good weather. In the meantime I shall leave you with a few photos from this weeks driveway concerts.

Keep Following and Toodle Pip! 😉


We’ll Meet Again & A Wet D-Day in Lock-Down!

Streaming from Home on D-Day!

We’ll Meet Again in Wing!

It’s still very much business as usual as I continue to perform my Driveway concerts around Leighton Buzzard. Last week I was fortunate enough to perform four of my originally scheduled D-Day “We’ll Meet Again” shows which took me to Harrow, Banbury, High Wycombe and Wing.  Sadly Saturday’s D-Day show proved to be something of a wash-out. For now I’ve put the show on hold for when the weather improves.  Instead I decided to stream live from my sitting room as the thunder rumbled out-side and Tigger went mad running up and down the stairs until he finally decided to hide under a bed.

It was lovely to see so many of you paying tribute to D-Day and the Veterans on line including my friends Adrian Cox and Steven Oldrid who appeared in the press and on French TV. It seems very strange not to be out in Normandy this year as Paul and I had been booked to sing at the Liberation Ball in Bretteville l’ Orgueilleuse this coming weekend. We had been looking forward to it very much as this would have been our first time singing in the Juno sector and where Paul would have introduced his new album, “Paul Marsden Sings Sinatra”.

ATS Sweetheart in High Wycombe!

The French press have been busy reporting on how deserted Arromanches and the Normandy cost line is this year which is normally packed full of tourists in June for the D-Day Commemorations. We are already booked for next year and I’m looking forward to when things get back to normal although we must take one step at a time.

Earlier last week I had hoped the concert season at Bletchley Park was going to go ahead. However the task of opening the museum and introducing social distancing measures prove to be too costly to make the opening viable. It’s such a shame as I had been booked to sing on the 12th July and something I had been looking forward to very much. I first applied to perform at Bletchley Park in 1997 and it’s taken me 23 years. Maybe 2021 will be my year as 24 years is a long time to wait for any opportunity.

Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree in Banbury!

I’m extremely creative and I confess I long for new experiences. I’m growing board with so much of the same and I’m constantly doodling down designs and ideas which I long to put into production and make happen. TV has lost it’s appeal and I miss going out for lunch and visiting Antique centers and fabric shops which always inspire me. It’s not the same buying on line and I love the experience of going into a shop and then going out for tea afterwards. Such a treat!

That’s all my news for now. I shall leave you with a few shots from this weeks shows.

Keep Following Toodle Pip and Bye for now! 😉

 


Driveway Concerts, Commemorating D-Day & A New Arromanches Video!

On Stage at Atterbury Ave!

This week is already promising to be another exciting time, with D-Day just around the corner and a full week of shows ahead. Today Paul officially launched his debut album “Paul Marsden Sings Sinatra” and thank-you every-one for your wonderful comments and feedback. Last Wednesday Dave Dawes from 1940sradio.com played seven of Paul’s tracks and if you would like to know more about the songs on the album and order a copy please click the link below. You can also hear Paul sing by watching his videos and show-reels on the same page.

http://www.fionaharrison.biz/paul-marsden/

Getting Ready to Sing at Hercules Close!

Today I performed in Harrow which was one of my officially booked shows. I wasn’t sure if the client was still going to go ahead with the lock-down. However with such lovely weather and every-one suitable socially distance the show couldn’t have gone better and was a great success as I sung “We’ll Meet Again”.  Tomorrow I have another Driveway Concert booked for Millers Close  and then I head over to Banbury on Wednesday to perform my “Don’t Sit Under the Apple tree” show.

Last weekend I had a fantastic run of Driveway concerts which started with

Summer Lovin’ in Hercules Close!

a 90th Birthday at Rosebury Court and then I visited Atterbury Ave on Saturday and Hercucles Close on Sunday. All these shows were extremely well attended as people brought their garden chairs and watched me in the sunshine. I’ve really enjoyed performing these driveway concerts which has brought the community together and lifted spirits.

I’m still learning the art of live streaming although there is so much to remember. Earlier this week I forgot to put in the Wi Fi code in and just as you would expect I ran out of data during the show. I’m getting better at it although I have had a few

We’ll Meet Again!

issues with the camera not turning and filming me 90 decease up the wrong way. I’m often having to set everything up in bright sunlight and sometimes I can’t always see the icons. While I was setting up for Sunday’s show the sun went behind a cloud and I could see the screen better. I also had my glasses on which made such a difference and was my best streaming attempt to date.

My only set back was I kept loosing the connection which means when I’m filming over the thresh hold on pavement I can be slightly out of range. I expect many of you

Remembering D-Day with Len and Harry!

have watched my shows live on Facebook and it’s great I’m learning a new skill. As today’s show was a private affair I didn’t film today but I’m planning to do more in time

For the rest of this week I will be out and about in my ATS uniform, so if the temperature drops a little I wont mind too much as long as it doesn’t rain.  For D-Day the 6th June I’ve offered my services to the village of Mentmore. Initially they had booked me for VE Day but with the lock-down it became impossible to go ahead so when I offered the village a Driveway concert for D-Day they jumped at the opportunity.

I’ll Be Seeing You!

Usually Paul and I are performing in Normandy at this time of year although we had planned to go out a week later in 2020 to tie in with Bretteville l’ Orgueilleuse liberation event at Juno. I first started performing at the D-Day commemoration in 2004 and I’ve been performing in Normandy every year since. With the lock down I’ve been going through my photo library and I came across a lovely collection of photos which were taken in 2016 of my “We’ll Meet Again” performance in Arromanches with the veterans. These photos were given to me by photographer Yves-Noel Jacquelin.

I’ve just had them made into a new flicker book video for You Tube to commemorate D-day this year so more people can enjoy them. The video just went up today and you my blog followers will be the first people to see it. I wanted a French song for the sound track and in the end I choose “La Vie en Rose” which I thought was suitably appropriate.

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

 


Paul Marsden Sings Sinatra, The Show Goes On & Getting Mobile Savvy!

A Cheeky Show at Adams Bottom!

Once again it’s all go here at Harrison HQ as I get ready for a busy week ahead with the run up to D-Day. This weekend I’m continuing with my out-door driveway concerts around Leighton Buzzard. I have a number of Birthdays to perform for and then it’s full steam ahead with my original scheduled shows, many of which have been rescheduled to take place in private gardens.

I’m thrilled to announce Paul Marsden is launching his debut album on the 1st June this coming week and thank-you to every-one who has already posted up a review on Facebook. I knowPaul Marsden sings Sinatra CD a couple of you are still waiting for your pre-view copies. Those of you who already have a copy it’s wonderful to hear just how much you have all been enjoying Paul’s album. You can’t beat the music of Sinatra and the combination of Paul’s fabulous singing voice with those classic arrangements has made for a fantastic album. We’ll Done Paul!

To find out more about Paul Marsden and his new album please click the link  below where it’s also possible to order a copy of his new CD, “Paul Marsden Sings Sinatra”!

www.fionaharrison.biz/Paul-Marsden 

Sadly due to the Covid-19 lock down we wont be able to perform in Normandy this year however

On Stage in Finch Crescent!

Paul and I have been booked to sing next year at Bretteville l’ Orgueilleuse, Juno. I have it on good authority that this year on the 6th June Paul’s album is going to be played across the square in Arromanches as the mayor is a big fan of Frank Sinatra and of Paul’s singing voice.

I too will be doing my bit for D-Day performing in the village of Mentmore. Initially I had been booked to perform for their VE Day event but with the lock down restrictions all the VE Day events were cancelled and I thought it would be nice to offer the village a Driveway concert instead, which they were thrilled to except.

Lifting Morale at Kents Hill!

I’m looking forward to getting back to work tomorrow although I have enjoyed a few days off from singing. I was pleased to pick up my new mobile phone and it’s good to be able to stream live in portrait and landscape. I hope to start streaming live again soon and sharing with you a few of my shows while I’m out and about.

I’m trying to get a bit more mobile savvy although I still say if you want to get in touch with me it’s best just to drop me an e-mail or to give me a call on the telephone. I know a few of you have tried to message me on Facebook but because I have been with-out a phone for a couple of weeks I’ve missed a couple of your messages which I’m now trying to catch up with.

I shall leave you with a few of my driveway concert photos from last week. Keep Watching, Toodle Pip and Bye for Now! 😉

 


Business as Usual, It Ain’t What You Do & The New Album!

Getting Set Up In Middleton Way!

Once again I’m in something of a dash tonight as I continue with the new normal. While lock down remains and all the official venues stay closed I continue to perform my driveway concerts in and around Leighton Buzzard. It’s been very enjoyable to perform for local people and so far I’ve performed twenty three shows this way singing a variety of songs from Opera to Rock and Roll although Abba Disney and Grease still remain to be the most popular choices with families.

I’m making the most of the weather and tomorrow I head off to Milton Keynes to perform

Singing the 60s & 70s in Cormorant Way!

in Tonbridge Grove before the rain returns on Thursday. Apart from performing my driveway concerts I’ve been working with Paul on his debut album “Paul Marsden Sings Sinatra”. I picked his album up from the supplies the other day and I’m so pleased with the finished look.

If you follow my blogs you will know I worked very closely with my web-designer Karen Hardicker on the cover design back in March, and it’s great to see when all that hard work pays off. We were inspired by the original art work which appeared on Sinatra’s albums and we were keen to do something similar. Paul will be launching

Paul Marsden Sings Sinatra!

his album on the 1st  June which still gives us a little time to sort out his call to action button on his web-page. If you would like to hear a couple of Paul’s tracks click the link below which will take you through to Paul’s You Tube Channel

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC65GEqWyzd-_9MLup–0GOA

I too have been working on another flicker video to tie in with D-Day and the 6th June. Pulling from stock I have a wonderful selection of photos which were taken a couple of years ago when I was booked to perform in Ste Marie du Mont. On this occasion I worked with French photographer Alexis Lahaye so it’s great to be able to share these photos with a wider audience on You Tube. For the sound track I’ve chosen It Ain’t What You Do (It’s the way that you do it) which is a real Lindy Hop favorite of mine.

I shall leave you with a few shots from my driveway concerts. Keep Following Toodle Pip and bye for Now! 😉


Driveway Concerts Continue and Memories of Utah Beach!

About to Begin in Byford Way!

It’s just a very quick blog tonight as I continue to perform my driveway concerts in and around my home town of Leighton Buzzard. I’ve been doing my bit to lift peoples morale during lock-down and after a few colder days it’s great to be out performing again. More businesses are starting to open up which is great as I have a number of dresses I’m keen to get into the dry cleaners which all need special care.

Many of the shops are still closed in the high street but like every-one I hope it wont be too long before they open again. It’s good that the shops which are open have social distancing rules

Stepping Out with Mr Sandman!

in place which I expect will be with us for many months to come until a vaccine is discovered and becomes available.

If you’ve been following me on Facebook you will know I’ve been having trouble streaming my shows in landscape. It took me a while to figure out the problem and thank-you every-one for your help and suggestions. In the end it turned out to be a fault with my mobile phone which has since gone back to the supplier. I have another one on it’s way and I hope it wont be too long before I’m up and running again. At the moment I am with-out a mobile so if you need to talk to me please use my land line.

Technology has never been my forte although the lock-down has meant I have had to face some of my demons head on. If nothing else once this lock-down is over it will be good to be a little more up to date and know how to stream and make

We’ll Meet Again at Riverside!

videos. A great way of me staying in touch with you all and quicker too, as I wont have to worry about my dodgy spelling!

Today I had the pleasure of performing at Clipstone Park and tomorrow I head off to Fallowfield as I continue to perform my Driveway Concerts around Leighton Buzzzard. It was extremely windy today and I’m looking forward to some brighter warmer days ahead. Clipstone Park is a new estate and open to the elements where tomorrows show in Fallowfield is more sheltered.  Yesterday I was in Byford Way and it’s been fascinating learning more about the new estates

Grease is the Word at Clipstone Park!

which have sprung up around Leighton Buzzard, many of which I never even knew existed

I’ve been finding my mix music shows have been going down best for Driveway concerts with Abba and Grease being the favorites. The old Marie Loyd song “Don’t Dilly Dally on the Way” has also been popular and today I included Chuck Berry’s “Johnny Be Goode” which my Clipstone Park audience really enjoyed.

Usually at this time of year Paul and I would be getting ready to sail out to Normandy to perform for the D-Day Commemorations. Due to the pandemic

Memories from Utah Beach, Normandy

everything has been put on hold and I’m pleased to say our Liberation event at Bretteville l’ Orgueilleuse has been rescheduled to 2021. Paul will be launching his new album “Paul Marsden sing Sinatra” on the 1st June and I shall be telling you more about that later in my next blog. In the mean time I’m currently working on a new flicker video with my web designer Karen Hardicker and her husband Peter featuring my photos from our time at Utah Beach and Ste Marie du Mont. These were taken  by French photographer Alexis Lahaye a couple of years ago and I thought it would be a great way to remember D-Day  and our Normandy trips as Paul and I wont be able to visit in person due to the lock-down.

Thank-you for reading and Keep Following! 😉

 


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