The Stage is Set at Danny House!
Straighten Up and Fly Right at Danny House!
I arrived home on Monday evening after spending last week touring along the South Cost. It’s lovely to go somewhere different and since returning home I’ve had a mountain of e-mails to go through in-between performances which is why I’m a little later with this blog this week than I would like. I started my tour in Hurstpierpoint at Danny House with my WAAF 1940s show. Initially I had been booked to perform this show in September to tie in with the Battle of Britain, but after coming down with Covid I had to reschedule my September tour to March.
Danny House is one of my favorite venues. The house has many historical links, the main one being in 1918, when it was rented for three months by Prime Minister Lloyd George. He lived there with his dog, his wife Margaret and his secretary Frances Stevenson. He held regular conferences in the Great Hall, where on 13 October they agreed the terms of the Armistice at the end of the First World War.
I love performing in the Great Hall and I shall be returning in the Autumn to perform “Putting on the Ritz”, songs from the 1920s & 30s, which goes
Some of the Sheet Music from the Collection!
splendidly with the halls elegance. I’ve since become a regular visitor to Danny House and when I was last down in East Sussex visiting the Vera Lynn exhibition in Ditchling I met by chance Vivien Andrews-Smith. On this occasion Vivien very kindly invited me to her home and has given me a wonderful collection of sheet music which belonged to her late father, some of the music dates back from the 1920s, 30s, 40s, 50s & 60s.
As I commission 99% of my backing tracks I’m always looking for original sheet music which I can put into production. I was thrilled to find a
Musical Gems from the Collection!
number of songs I’d been looking for for ages. These included Irving Berlin’s “My British Buddy” “Ac-cent-tchu-ate the Positive” “Goodnight Vienna” and “Tico – Tico”. Although I have a lot of this sort of music in books so often they are not complete sometimes missing verses so it’s great if I can find the original sheet copies.
I always enjoy going away on tour and for many this was the first time some of the venues had had live entertainment in two years. From Danny House I went onto Brighton and along the coast to Chichester, Hayling Island, Fareham and I
Out and About with Poppy in Portchester!
finished my tour in Farnham. Paul and I also managed to have a day out in between shows with Poppy as we had Sunday lunch in Portchester and then took a trip over to Gosport and to one of my favorite shops “Voluptuous Vintage”
While I was touring I had an appointment to see Richard in the recording studio as I dashed up to Bracknell between performances. Richard has just completed “The Girl in the Little Green Hat” for me which I have commissioned for Easter and I will also be adding it to my Wrens show. I’m booked to perform at Bletchey Park on the 6th August as I open their concert season with my 1940s Wrens show “The Fleet’s in Port Again”.
The song was written in 1933 and it mentions a girl in a house by a lake in a park which is perfect for Bletchley. “The Girl in the Little Green Hat” was also sung by Will Young in the 2005 film “Mrs Henderson Presents” (My favorite film by the way) which told the story of the Windmill Theater in London during the 1930s & 40s.
Paul and I Shopping at Voluptuous Vintage!
Last year I commissioned “Babies of the Blitz” which has been going down extremely well in my shows. Once again I recorded my harmonies and it never fails making a refreshing change from The Andrews Sisters and Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy which has rather lost it’s musical mojo, having been done to death!
When it comes to the music of the 1940s there are so many wonderful pieces to choose it’s important to keep shows fresh and think a little bit out of the box. That’s why I’m not adverse to a little bit of artistic licence when it comes
to songs which are written retrospectively. I currently have in production “I’m Busy Doing Nothing” from a 1949 film “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” which deserves a prize for the most ridiculous title. It starred Bing Crosby and Rhonda Fleming and I’ve learn’t there is an appetite for something other than the obligatory swing tunes and tempos which dominate 1940s events.
I’m constantly working and I’m looking forward to a fantastic 2022. While I was away Bretteville l’Orgueilleuse have confirmed for the 17th September moving their Liberation Dance from
All Set to be the Girl in the Little Green Hat!
June which will balance out better for me with the Jubilee weekend. I’m fully booked for Jubilee weekend and I only have one date left for Christmas so the year is really starting to take shape. I’ve also been booked by Quainton railway to perform at the Buckinghamshire Railway Center for the Pee 88 car show on Bank Holiday Monday 29th August where I will be singing from WW1 through to the 1970s.
Next week I’m in rehearsals with my one woman show “My Fair Lady” as I get ready to perform it next weekend for Mothers day. While I was on tour I spent much of my time going over my script and score while driving between shows in my van. It’s a great place to learn as I never like to waste a minute. I also have an appointment on Monday to have all my equipment PATS tested. Gosh that’s come round quickly – zoom another year gone!
That’s all my news for now. I must leave it here as I have a few contracts to finish off tonight which I must crack on with.
Keep Following, Toodle Pip and Bye for Now!