Scaling Down Indoors!
Singing Indoors Behind a Screen!
Hi every-one as you can see I’m burning the midnight oil yet again trying to get everything finished in time for the weekend. This week I’ve been performing “We’ll Meet Again” shows with the run up to VE Day this Saturday. I’ve also been working hard in the office, now restrictions are starting to lift, bookings are coming in and I have plenty of dates I wish to sell. Normally I would have the year sold by March but with the restrictions everything is happening that much later.
It’s encouraging to see a turn in the tide and more optimism. People are looking to the future and starting to plan ahead. For the immediate future it’s still the smaller shows which seem to be winning through but for the first time in ages I’m confident about the year and I’m looking forward to getting back to normal and moving forward with 2021/2022.
It’s important to remain versatile and never has it been more important than now to scale shows up or down at the drop of a hat. Today I was asked to perform indoors and the client very kindly provided me with a screen to sing behind. During
Performing Out-side “We’ll Meet Again”
the show I was able to remove my mask but I have had situations where clients have wanted me to perform with a mask on which isn’t ideal for singing. It’s an extraordinary time and it’s important what ever the request I can adapt to suit the space and the situation.
I make a point of replying to all my e-mails within 24 hours and this week it’s been good to be sending out contracts. I currently have a run of “We’ll Meet Again” ATS shows which will be taking me through to the 16th plus a few variations involving Birthdays and the music of
“We’ll Meet Again” Birthday Show in Wendover!
the 1950s and 60s. I also have a Zoom show to perform on Friday which will be streaming live to my clients on Hayling Island and a number of Driveway concerts to fit in in-between times.
For VE Day I’ve been invited back to Aston Clinton to perform a community Driveway Concert for the residence of Chapel Drive. I played there at Christmas time and the street enjoyed my show so much that they now wish to make it an annual thing with me returning this December. For the moment everything has been put on hold as we hear bad weather may be on it’s way for Saturday. I’m keeping my fingers crossed all will be well as I have a great show planned and I’m looking forward to seeing every-one again in Chapel Drive.
For now I have a number of contracts I must finish and send out tonight so I will leave my blog here as I continue with my office work.
Keep Following Toodle Pip and Bye for Now!
The Best of British – Shame About the Shoes!
This week it’s been good to be out singing again and getting back on track with beauty. What a difference it makes to have ones hair done and this Friday I’m in the Beauty parlor addressing some of those all important beauty issues.
Last Friday was St Georges day and I had two Pearly Queen shows back to back, one in Royston and the other in St Albans. My “Best of British” show is always a good seller for St Georges Day as it features sing-along favorites from the Music Hall stage. It’s especially hard work at the moment as I often have to allow extra time for flow tests and time to change into costume. It’s much more convenient if I can wear my
St Georges Day in St Albans!
performance clothes to travel in, but due to the nature of my Pearly Queen costume it’s an out-fit I have to change into.
Last Friday I had to drag my sack barrow over gravel which really took the shine off my shoes. I didn’t realise how awful my shoes looked until I saw the photos from my second show. It’s heavy physical work getting from place to place, setting up and striking down quickly especially when you have to do it all in heels. It would be easier if I just changed my shoes at the venue but the reality is once I’ve loaded my sack barrow with rig, there isn’t any room left. Staying on-top of things and keeping shoes looking smart is important. On Saturday I bought a plain pair of black leather ones which I hope will look smarter for longer and will with-stand the riggers of dust and shingle unlike my black swede shoes.
Getting Ready for my Show in Northampton!
No show is like another and during these Covid times it’s important I’m ready for anything. Last week one client insisted I performed my show while wearing a surgical mask. I don’t mind admitting it was quite a challenge especially as surgical masks are one size fits all and it kept falling off while I was trying to sing. Fortunately I have a mask cage which is designed to hold the mask away from my mouth. After a bit of experimenting I managed to get the two to work together and my show played on.
Today I’ve been working flat out in the office selling dates for 2021 and it’s great to see the year finally starting to take shape. May is going to be a full month as more venues open up. Nearly all my shows are booked to take place out-side and I have a busy run of shows with the May Bank Holiday and VE Week. My Driveway Concert concept is still proving to be very popular and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for good weather this Bank Holiday.
Enjoying the Weather!
On Monday we couldn’t have wished for better weather as I performed an out door concert in Northampton and streamed the show live on Facebook. This Saturday I have a Birthday party in Milton Keynes and then I’m performing the first of my “We’ll Meet Again” ATS shows of the season with the run up to VE Day.
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Shopping at Accessories of Old!
Isn’t it lovely to see the sun and to be out again enjoying a little bit of retail therapy. Like every-one I’m looking forward to getting back to some sort of normality and now the restrictions on non essential retail have been lifted it’s wonderful to be able to browse in pretty shops and Antique centers once more. It does wonders for my morale!
Last Sunday I made it into London as I visited “Accessories of Old” in Fulham. I’ve been wanting to make it down to one of their open days for months now but due to the lock down and
Finding the Perfect Pair of Sun Glasses!
my singing engagements I hadn’t been able to get any of my dates to tally. Last weekend that all changed as they opened up to the public and I had a list of goodies I needed.
There’s nothing I delight in more than a bit of a bazaar and rummage and “Accessories of Old” never disappoints as they have a wonderful array of old new vintage stock which they have been slowly transporting back from their warehouse in South Africa. The last time I visited I was able to pick up some incredible vintage sequin trimming and on this occasion my list included 1940s sun glasses, 60s earrings and vintage watch chains. I
In the Hair Dresses!
have a number of projects I’m currently working on and I now try and shop to order. It’s easy to get carried away but fortunately I was able to find everything I went for and better still I was even able to park out-side. On the way back I stopped off in Berkhamstead and enjoyed the last of the Spring sunshine as I sat out and enjoyed a coffee while watching the world go by.
This Friday it’s St Georges Day and I’m looking forward to performing two Pearly Queen shows back to back. It’s been far too long since I was last at the hair dresses so I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to make it along to “Hair by Kim” on Tuesday. Neglected lock down hair has been getting me down but after a couple of hours with Kim I felt rejuvenated. Presentation matters and it’s important I look well turned out when performing my shows. Next week I’m booked in to have a number of well over due beauty treatments as I get back to normal and work on looking my best.
Colour Restored & Hair Back to Normal!
Dates are starting to sell or be it slowly and I’m looking forward to a time when I can be out shooting and filming again. I’ve a number of songs I’d like to record and put to film so once things open up I hope to check out a few locations.
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La Vie en Rose!
I’m sorry I’m a day or two late with my blog this week but I’ve been out and about a fair bit these last few days performing shows while squeezing in rehearsal time in-between performances. I have a lot of different show briefs I have to get ready and rehearse, while still making time to learn new music. I’m constantly up dating my shows and it’s important I’m able to sing anytime, anyplace, anywhere with whatever the client may ask for. This can vary from Opera to Rock and Roll and any manor of musical styles in between. So it’s important to always be prepared!
This week I’ve had something of a mixed bag from “A Song for Spring”, a French inspired show “La Vie en Rose” to zooming across to Rotterdam with Hollywood Musicals, 1940s to the 70s and more. It’s a lot to keep fresh in ones head all at once and it does require work maintaining spontaneity. Last week I was rehearsing my French songs and it’s been interesting to see the video footage from my shows. I now try and stream my performances as much as possible
Zooming From Home Over to Holland!
which it’s proving to be a great learning tool. It’s helping enormously with my singing technique although getting the technology to work seamlessly every time can be challenging especially if the wifi goes down.
Back in the old days it was easy to make audio rehearsal recordings. I would first take my sheet music along to a pianist who would note bash my songs through before I would make a decision on which numbers I would put into production and have made into backing tracks. With the Covid lock down it’s not been possible for me to see a pianist so I’ve been having to cross reference with
Streaming Live In My Easter Bonnet!
You Tube. Fortunately there is so much material on line I’m usually able to find what I’m looking for but it’s not the same as having a pianist who can go over those awkward bits, and check all notes have been correctly learn’t.
Last Tuesday it’s was wonderful to have the opportunity to sing to the members of “The Pickwick Club” in Rotterdam and I would like to say a big thank-you to Gill Van Beest for inviting me. I did try and video the show but sadly the footage didn’t come out properly and I was a little concerned about the sound quality. I’m still waiting to hear the feed back from the club but
Rehearsing at Home in my Scruffs!
sometime on zoom you can be in the hands of the Gods if the Wi Fi dips out.
Today I was performing in High Wycombe “La Vie en Rose” a French inspired show as I mixed French songs with songs from shows set in Paris and more. You can see footage from today’s show on my personal Facebook page and also Wednesday’s “A Song for Spring” show too. Tomorrow I’m in Chalfont St Peter with the last of my “Song for Spring” shows before it’s all change next week with St Georges Day and Pearly Queen shows.
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Performing in Ashburnham Crescent!
May I begin my blog today by saying thanking you for all your lovely Easter cards and good wishes over the Easter weekend. It’s been lovely to receive them and I’m looking forward to coming out of lock-down and moving forward with this years shows. This weekend I’ve been out and about performing my Driveway Concerts in all sorts of weather but like the saying says the show must go on and I’ve been adapting my costumes and wrapping up warmly to suit the changes in the weather.
Events are still sluggish to get going but there is movement and for now my Driveway concerts are
Down Came the Snow!
still proving to be the most popular way forward as I continue to sell my weekends. On Good Friday I was booked to perform in Weston Turville for a Birthday party and on Easter Sunday I sang for the residence in Ashburnham Crescent which is just across the road from me. Thank-you so much to Isabelle and John for allowing me to use their driveways and we couldn’t have wished for better weather. For those of you who follow me on Facebook I expect you have been watching my live streams as I try and share my shows as much as possible. Sometimes the wi fi can be a little in and out but it’s good for me to look over
A Warmer Out-fit for Biggleswade!
my performances as I have a number of new songs for this season which I’m still perfecting. It’s important to keep moving forward and to never stand still especially when it comes to my show planning.
With the current restrictions all my live shows must be performed out-side. Yesterday I was win Biggleswade and this time I came properly prepared and wore my thick green coat where the day before I got rather caught out in Dunstable as the temperature rapidly dropped and the snow began to fall. They tell me better weather is on it’s way and next week I have a mixed bag of shows to perform as I continue with the Spring theme. I also have a French show to perform on the 16th so I need to brush up on my French this weekend and I’m zooming across on Tuesday to Holland to perform for the Pickwick Club which began in the 1960s as a club for British War brides.
In my Warm Coat & Easter Bonnet!
I’m constantly expanding my repertoire and the time I’ve had at home these last few weeks has been extremely valuable as I continue to learn new material. This summer I’ve been booked to sing for the Leighton Buzzard carnival and the theme this year is the 1960s. Naturally I’m working on expanding my repertoire and I need about 3 hours of non stop 60s numbers which I will be performing from the top of a float.
This afternoon I’m taking my mother over to Stevenage for her second Covid vaccination jab and I’m hoping to get my second jab late May. That’s all my news for now as I quickly head out for a morning run.
Keep Following Toodle Pip and Bye for Now! 😉
On Stage Today at Newton Court!
Getting PATS Tested for 2021
Hello every-one I’m just between shows as I get set for Easter with a little run of concerts which will be keeping me busy over the Easter weekend. Today I was singing at Newton Court in Olney for a special 90th Birthday. I had been engaged to sing a mixture of music from the musicals and Operas which went down extremely well and I’m looking forward to returning in September when I’ve been engaged to sing for a 70th Wedding anniversary.
Now the weather is starting to get warmer it’s great to be working out-side again with a live audience. It’s encouraging to see bookings starting to come in and tomorrow I shall be performing the first of my Easter Bonnet shows. With so many venues not able to open up it’s still my driveway concerts which are proving to be the most popular. I didn’t think that by this time of year venues would still be in lock-down but it is good to see movement and I’m looking forward to getting back to some sort of normality.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the weather stays fine. Tomorrow I’m off to Aylesbury, then onto Weston Turville, Stoke Hammond, Dunstable and finishing in Biggleswade. I have a variety of different shows to perform over Easter
while in between times learning new material. Last Friday I had all my equipment PATS tested ready for the new season and now I’m raring to go!
One of the new songs I’ve been working on has been “That Man” which was originally performed by Caro Emerald. It’s very popular with dancers on the Lindy Hop and dance scene. It’s one of my projects for when we come out of lock down but I’m keen to record it and produce some photographic imagery to go with it. I have a lot of ideas buzzing around in my head at the moment as I research possible venues and explore different costumes ideas.
That’s all my news for now as I send you all my best wishes and hope you have a wonderful Easter.
Keep Following Toodle Pip and Bye for Now! 😉
On the Sunny Side of the Street!
I’m afraid I don’t have a great deal to write about this week other than it’s been very much the same as usual with me working hard on learning lots of new songs. Wednesdays show in Chichester went well and I drove down especially to perform it. I had been booked to perform my “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree” show and I enjoyed the drive very much which gave me the opportunity to learn a couple of new numbers there and back.
A week Saturday I was back in the recording studio picking up a number of new songs. It’s been good for me to learn some new material taking me out of my comfort zone while trying out different singing styles. For those of you who follow me on Facebook you will have seen me streaming a couple of these new numbers between rehearsals. I’m currently working on a new Driveway Concert for this year and at the moment I have a collective mix of numbers from the 1940s to the 70s which
We’ll Meet Again!
I’m trying to put into some sort of show order.
It’s important to never stop learning new songs and I currently have in production “Be Like the Kettle and Sing” and “By Myself” which I can’t wait to pick up once Richard has finished the arrangements. Two numbers I’ve been wanting to do for a number of years. In between times I’ve been adding lots of songs from the 1960s including “Summer Holiday” and “Love Potion Number 9” which are must haves for my Summer and Halloween shows. I can’t think why it’s taken me so long to add them to my repertoire.
Last Thursday I was performing a mixed music show in Burnham just out-side of Slough which gave me the opportunity to try out a few of my new numbers. Next week I start on Easter Bonnet shows as we move into April and then I’m fully booked for St Georges Day. It’s still very slow compared to how life was before the pandemic but work is coming in and April and May are starting
The Show Must Go On!
to fill up steadily.
Yesterday I did my first over seas zoom show for a club in Holland and I’ve been booked to perform for them in April. Monday’s show was something of a try out and I was pleased we had a good connection and no breaks in the wifi. It use to be so much simpler in the old days when you just turned up and sang. With the world in lock down everything has gone high-teck and you have to be a wiz with technology in order to survive. Like the tortoise and the hare it takes me a bit longer than most but I always get there in the end!
That’s all my news for now and I shall leave you with a selection of some of my photos from past Driveway Concerts.
keep Following and Toodle Pip! 😉
Spring is in the Air!
Spring is in the air and 2021 is quickly moving forward. This Sunday I’m booked in to have my Covid-19 vaccination and then I’m travelling south to perform one of my shows. Fortunately I’ve been able to reschedule the rest of my Chichester tour to September but it’s important to keep working and to fulfill my commitments even though all my shows are now being performed out-side.
This week I’ve been busy in the office and it’s encouraging to see clients starting to book shows again. This Saturday I was due to do a Driveway Concert but with the change in the weather we have rescheduled to Good Friday. Dates are now starting to sell although many of the bigger events don’t feel confident to go ahead this year and are rolling their events over to 2022. I still see my Driveway Concerts as the way forward and it’s good to see dates selling as a result.
Putting on the Knitz!
During the lock-down I’ve been able to get into a good routine and every day I make sure I go for a sixty minute run in the morning and then I spend four to six hours a day in the office. I also practice and rehearse my songs for another couple of hours a day and it’s been good for me to tackle o few of those tricky numbers where in the past I’ve been singing all the right words but not necessarily in the right order!
I’m not sure if I should admit to that – but the songs I find the hardest to learn are repetitive
1940s Knitwear for Spring!
songs, where many of the lyrics remain the same and they only have a few minor alterations. Oddly enough I find wordy songs easier to learn as they tell a story. This week I’ve been rehearsing three of “The Supremes” numbers You Can’t Hurry Love, Stop in the Name of Love and Where did Our Love Go. All very similar but with practice I’m getting there.
This Saturday I’m popping down to the recording studio to pick up a few new numbers which I will be including and adding into my new Driveway Concerts for 2021. I have a couple of other songs
Lady in Red!
in production which as yet wont be ready until later in the year. I’m concentrating on feel good happy numbers from the 1960s 70s and 80s as I continue to move forward with my vintage time lines.
That’s all my news for now as I need to get back to my song learning. Sadly I’ve not taken any photos this week so I shall leave you with a few of my favorite 1940s knit wear shots.
Keep Following Toodle Pip and Bye for now! 😉