Dressed for Action at Bletchley Park!
On Stage at Bletchley Park!
They say if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again and I’m thrilled to say that after 24 years of trying my moment finally materialized at Bletchley Park last Saturday when I was engaged to open the museum’s summer concert series on the oval lawn. Ordinarily to be engaged to perform 2 x 45 minute sets of music depicting the popular tunes of the 1930s, 40s and 50s isn’t a difficult assignment, but when you add into the mix the years of trying and hard graft to get there it suddenly becomes a very big deal indeed.
I first applied to perform at Bletchley Park back in 1997 but it was never quite the right time and sometimes all it takes is for an opening to appear, for some-one to give you a chance, and then everything becomes possible. When I think back to how my 1940s act was in 1997 to how it is now I feel very proud of what I have been able to achieve, thanks to the skill of my musical arranger Richard Whennell and dress maker Judith Row.
In the early days my ATS uniform consisted of nothing more than a battle dress jacket, hat and skirt. Now my uniforms cover ATS, WRNS and WAAF plus US WAAC and WAVES too, not to mention my current walking out ATS uniform which Judi made for me back in 2004. I’m so
On Stage in The Ballroom!
proud of my musical and medley arrangements which are the very best and have kept my act unique.
A lot of thought goes into my shows and for Bletchey I wanted everything to be perfect. Initially Paul should have been working with me as my sound engineer but literally two days before he got pinged and had to self isolate. Although I can easily mix sound myself I was worried about the stage aesthetics but fortunately all was well and it didn’t detract from my performance.
For my BP debut I opened my show in ATS uniform and changed into a pink 1940s suit for the second half. It’s important to bring a choice of costumes especially when performing out-doors as anything can happen and sure enough it did. No sooner had I changed costume and sat down for lunch the heavens opened and there was a mad dash to bring all my equipment indoors. What ever the weather the show must go on and thanks to my friends Harry and Suzanne we were able to resume my show in the ballroom.
I’d put together a special program which consisted of British, American and French songs
Meeting Up With Friends in the Ballroom!
from the 1930s, 40s and 50s. These included numbers made famous by Vera Lynn, Judy Garland, Edith Piaf and the very best of Hollywood. I also commissioned two new musical arrangements of Vera Lynn’s song “Be Like the Kettle and Sing” and the Judy Garland power ballad, “By Myself”. I’d been wanting to perform these songs for a long time and Bletchley Park seemed like the perfect venue.
There’s nothing more exciting than a new musical arrangement and both went down extremely well especially “By Myself” which seemed appropriate and I can’t wait to sing it again at my next concert.
Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree Post Bletchley!
Singing the 50s, 60s & 70s for Wendover WI!
Thank-you to every-one who came to see my show and especially to Tammy and Molly for making this possible. I had a lovely day and it was such a treat to see behind the scenes and so much of the house and grounds. I hope in the next week or so I will be able to share with you some more photos thanks to my friends Harry and Suzanne. In the meantime I shall leave you with a few snaps from my own camera.
Since Bletchely I haven’t stopped working and I’ve sold all my dates for August. It’s been a great week as I’ve been out performing every-day all sorts of different shows from “Thank-you for the Music”for Wendover WI, “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree” to Patriotic Royal Garden Party style performances. This coming Saturday I will be going back to the 1920s with “Putting on the Riz”and tomorrow I have two shows back to back starting in Wallingford in Oxfordshire and finishing in Milton Keynes.
On that note I will leave it here tonight . Keep Following and next week I will tell you more about my forth coming shows at Stonehurst Farm’s 1940s event 14th & 15th August.
Toodle Pip and Bye for now! 😉