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


Welcoming in the Spring & Singing for Blackbushe Airport!

Working Hard in the Office!

February is rapidly drawing to it’s close and we are only a day or two away to welcoming the Spring and moving forward into March.

I don’t have a huge amount to write about largely because it’s been business as usual for February. I’ve been out this month performing romantic songs for the Valentine season while working hard in the office selling shows for the year. Office work can dive me a bit potty and I’m longing to get back out on the road again as I head off to perform along the south coast at the start of next month. I usually open at Hurstpierpoint but this time will be a little different as I begin in Farnham and continue down to Chichester. I have a mixed bag of music to perform with no show like another as I mix post modern with the 1970s and musical theatre with Spring time favourites.

All Set for Blackbushe Open Day!

It’s hard to get a handle on the theme for this year, apart from every-one is going all out for D-Day. Like busses everything seems to come at once and everybody seems to want me for the same dates which is frustrating. That’s the snag with anniversaries and commemorations you have to play the exact dates, days either side often wont do and it can be difficult getting the balance right.

I’m thrilled to announce I’ve been booked to sing for Blackbushe Airport’s Open day on the 15th June which is just after I come back

I’m On My Way Now!

from Normandy. I’ve been booked to preform 3 shows daily covering songs from the 1940s, 50s and 60s.

Blackbushe Airport has an interesting history. It started life in 1942 as RAF Hartford Bridge, and it was used by RAF squadrons throughout the remainder of  the second world war for reconnaissance, defence and strike operations using Spitfires and Mosquitoes. It was also the home of the Free French Squadron (Lorraine).

I’ll Be Delighted to Perform for you in the 15th June!

A number of important people landed at the airport including King George VI  and Queen Elizabeth, Supreme Allied Commander General Eisenhower and Field Marshal Montgomery.

RAF Hartfordbridge was also the home of a new system known as “FIDO”(Fog Investigation and Dispersal Operation) built by the Airforce Construction Unit. Pipes were laid down both sides on Runway 26, and fed with fuel. The pipes had small holes, and if the airfield was shrouded in fog, the fuel was ignited. The heat created would cause the fog to rise and disperse.

On 18 November 1944, the airfield was renamed to RAF Blackbushe, due to confusion over a similar area in Norfolk. On 15 November 1946, the RAF had moved out, and the airport was handed over to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, becoming Blackbushe Airport.

I’m looking forward to their event very much and it will be great to play somewhere new.

Keep Following Toodle Pip and Bye for Now!

 


Chinese New Year & Singing for Valentines Week!

My Funny Valentine!

The start of the year can often be the hardest, for no other reason than it requires a considerable amount of behind the scenes work, selling shows to potential clients. Things don’t really start moving properly until Valentines week and it’s important to have the bulk of the year sold and mapped out by this point. It can be mundane, but essential and I always look forward to being back out on the road again once the calendar comes round to Valentines.

This year has been a little different because I’ve been out today performing for Chinese New Year. Apparently 2024 is the year of the dragon and never was it more important to have “Puff the Magic Dragon” in my repertoire as it was today. Sadly I have yet to acquire that backing track so I just had to make do with songs that referred to the lunar new year instead, of which there are many. I have no shortage of songs that mention the moon

On Stage performing Fever!

which became the main focus for today’s show although another song I would really like to have in my repertoire is “Chinatown my Chinatown”. I remember hearing this number years ago as the opening song in the pantomime Aladdin and I thought to myself  I’d like to sing that one day. It’s a great number and it’s hard to believe it was written way back in 1910.

Next year is the year of the snake. I’m not particularly fond of reptiles and neither are songwriters and lyricists but I expect something will suggest itself should I be called upon to do another Chinese New Year show in 2025.

I’m now full steam ahead with Valentines week and I have a lovely selection of romantic songs I’m looking forward to singing. I’m booked through to the 19th although times are hard. The bottom has fallen out of the 1940s and reenactment market with entertainment at an all time low. Every-one is trying to save

Going out with Paul for Lunch!

money and more events are turning to aspiring local amateurs rather than touring professionals. It’s no wonder foot falls are dropping and perhaps the whole 1940s scene has had it’s time. It’s tragic to see as this is a scene I care about greatly. I hope things will get better but perhaps not.

It’s important to adapt and to find new markets and the private sector who are booking for weddings, anniversaries funerals etc seems to be much more lucrative. I’m not sure where the future lies but with this being the 80th Anniversary of D-Day I’m super excited to be returning with Paul to Arromanches to sing for their D-day Commemorations. More news on that later but in the mean time I shall leave you with a few of my favourite photos.

Keep Following Toodle Pip and Bye for Now!

Stupid Cupid!

 


Back from Streetstar Studios!

Back Stage at Streetstar Studios!

It seems these days I live my life in the fast lane dashing from show to show and always looking forward as I perfect the past through my many musical shows. Last week the moment had arrived as I made my way up to Streetstar Studios in Manchester with my friend Angela to start work, and shoot my new showreel. It had been a year in the planning and it’s wonderful to see a plan when it comes together.

I’m a Libran and I have terrible trouble making up my mind. I cover such a broad range of musical styles it’s difficult to hone everything into just five

All Set to Film My First Number!

numbers, so in the end I decided to shoot seven songs for the show-reel plus an extra Judy Garland stand alone power ballad “By Myself”. It’s important to show musical diversity which isn’t difficult but getting all the different looks right is where the time goes and it requires a lot of work and a huge amount of patience behind the scenes.

Streetstar are experts in the field and they have a whole team of people who are able to help make your vision a reality.

I was thrilled to meet Dom whose business it is,

Angela and I Between Takes!

camera men Bailey and Danny and photographers Jamie and Mark who made both Angela and I very welcome. They offer an amazing studio package which includes recording, still photography and live filming all under one roof, which couldn’t be more convenient especially as the studio is situated on the first floor of The Birch Hotel in Heywood. Perfect for us as we had driven up from Bedfordshire and also gave us a convenient place to stay.

People fly in from all over the world to film at Streetstar Studios and it’s hardly surprising because they have everything you could possibly need.

I knew it was going to be intense and I had set three days aside which also included our travelling. Fortunately I had my friend Angela with me who helped me enormously zipping me up into my dresses and getting me in and out of my costumes which in some

On Set for the 1970s!

cases can be really tricky. Angela is a phenomenal hairdresser and she was able to create all the different looks I needed to represent the musical decades.

It’s hard to believe, but I had fourteen costume changes in two days and I’m very pleased I brought a couple of spare out-fits too. This turned out to be just the thing when Mark surprised me and allowed me to record my opening sequence in his beautiful vintage car.

A couple of my out-fits were made especially for

Jamie’s Rock and Roll Shot!

the shoot and it’s interesting to see myself on camera now. It’s important to choose costumes which are right for my age and sometime you can stumble upon a look which will inspire the next stage in my career moving forward.

I was passing a charity shop just before Christmas and I bought a mans gold sequin rock and roll jacket I saw in the window. It was a spontaneous purchase and fortunately my dressmaker Judi was able to cut it down and tailor make it to fit me. I took it along to Streetstar as a spare out-fit

By Myself – Judy Garland Number!

and boy didn’t it look good in Jamie’s photos – Rock and Roll here I come!

I also love my new Judy Garland dress which Judi was able to make for me based on an early 1960s pattern and  https://shesdynamiteclothing.com/shop who made my black and gold 1950s “Fever” dress

A huge thank-you to Dom and every-one at Streetstar Studios. I can’t wait to see my show-reel once it’s been edited. It takes about four weeks so something to really look forward to.

On Set with the 1940s!

Tomorrow I’m going away for a few days but I’m back next week as I get into the swing for Chinese new-year and Valentines. I shall leave you with a few of my favorite photos. If you would like to find out more about Streetstar Studios here is a link to their web-site.

https://streetstarstudiosuk.com/

If you work in show business they are well worth a visit!

Keep Following Toodle Pip and Bye for Now! 😉

All Set to Record My Opening Sequence!

 


Happy New Year, Milestones & Off Up to Manchester!

All Set to Head off on my Travels!

I hope it’s not too late for me to begin my blog tonight by wishing you all a Very Happy New Year. I’d also like to say a very big thank-you to everyone who booked me in 2023 and here’s to a terrific and prosperous 2024!

I’m sorry I’m weeks behind with my first blog of the year – which isn’t like me at all! But after performing 49 shows in 33 days and completing 295 shows during 2023 it’s taken me a little longer than normal to get ship shape. I came back from working on the South coast on the 4th January and not without drama, when I discovered the diesel I filled my van up with  was contaminated. It involved me having to get my tank pumped out, a flat tyre, plus a mountain of emails and paper-work I’m still ploughing my way through now!

You could say I’ve hit January running and it’s already been an amazingly engaging one. I’ve performed 10 shows this month

On Stage at Milestones Museum!

so far which is unusual because January is when I’m often in the office planning the year. Next week I’m up in Manchester making my new show-reel and needless to say I’ve a lot to organise. It’s been a year in the planning and it’s great to see everything coming together. In recent years I have invested in a lot of flicker book videos incorporating still photographs. However I felt it was time for a fresh showreel which would showcase my versatility and some of my new Postmodern repertoire, not to mention a few vintage favourites.

Dressed for the Festive Season!

I’ve already we-transferred my backing tracks on ahead plus I’ve had a couple of new dresses made for the occasion. Each gown has been meticulously designed to go with the songs and I’m super excited to have the opportunity of working with a new team of people. I don’t want to give too much away just yet so keep watching this space and once my films are made I will share them with you on this page.

I confess I haven’t been on facebook quite as much as normal as Christmas was an extremely busy season. I performed a number of shows in

The Room is Set for Danny House!

Oxford, Northamptonshire, London and then I was down to Hampshire and along to West Sussex with a special New Years Day Concert at Danny House, one of my favourite venues.

I thoroughly enjoyed singing for Milestones Museum where I was engaged to perform 3 x 45 minute seasonal shows daily which took me through to the end of the year. My new Mary Poppins Medley came through just in time and fitted well within my “Fairytale Christmas Spectacular” brief. It has all the right ingredients for “Twixmas” due to it’s Disney content and has

Relaxing with Poppy on Christmas Day!

been proven to be a real hit with family audiences.

Today I have been busy packing for Manchester and rehearsing my music. My friend Angela will be coming with me as I need a dresser and more importantly a hairdresser who can help me recreate the different historical periods. Some of my dresses are really difficult to get in and out of with awkward fastenings so an extra pair of hands will be a really helpful.

That’s all my news for now as I need to get back to my paperwork. I shall leave you with a few of my favourite photographs from Milestones thanks to photographer Sean La Plain and a few more I took over Christmas and New Year. I look forward to catching up with you all again soon.

Keep Following – Toodle Pip and Bye for Now!

Paul, Poppy and I at Milestones!

 

 

 

 


All Set for Christmas & A Fabulous 2024!

Merry Christmas to You All!

I’m afraid it’s just a very quick blog tonight as I’m dashing between shows to get my blog out before Christmas. I’ve been performing shows back to back and it’s the same again tomorrow as I head off up to Northampton and Buckingham. I’m traveling down to Portsmouth after my show on Christmas Eve to be with Paul and Poppy for Christmas day although I still have a very busy diary ahead of me which will be taking me through to New Year.

I’ve been booked to perform at The Foundry Arms in Poole in Dorset for Boxing Day for a Birthday come Christmas Party and then I’m in Basingstoke performing at Milestones Living History Museum.

I had the pleasure of performing at the Museum earlier in the year for their 1940s event and this time I’ve been engaged to sing for “Twixmas Tidings”, which will be running through for five days from Wednesday 27th to Sunday 31st December. I’m currently

Twixmas Tidings at Milestones Museum!

finalising my show plans and I will be performing 3 x 45 minute non repetitive shows daily at 11am, 1pm and 3pm. My shows will be featuring popular Christmas and New Year favourites and classic songs from Disney fairy tales. Please click the link for details.

https://www.milestonesmuseum.org.uk/event/twixmas-tidings-milestones

Merry Christmas!

Last Saturday I was able to squeeze in a lightning visit to the recording studio where I was able to pick up my new “Mary Poppins” arrangement. Once again Richard has excelled himself and his arrangement has been going down a storm. I’ve been including it in my “Fairy Tale Christmas Spectacular” shows this week and I can’t wait to sing it at Milestones.

I’ve had the Mary Poppins  medley in production for a number of years but due to music priorities we’ve had to push it back, so it’s thrilling to have it at long last. It makes for a fabulous addition to my repertoire especially as it includes a “Spoonful of Sugar” and “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”, two numbers I’ve been wanting to sing for ages.

This will be my last blog for 2023 and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all, my friends and customers for  your fabulous support over the year. I won’t be returning home until the 4th January. I have a special New Years Day concert to perform at Danny House, Hurstpierpoint on the 1st and then I’m in Enfield on the 5th January.

Here’s to a Fantastic 2024!

January is going to be a very busy month. I have a run of Postmodern Jukebox shows and I’m filming towards the end of the month up in Manchester as I start work on making a new showreel which will better represent my current work.

Have a Wonderful Christmas and New Year and I look forward to catching up with you all when I get back in January.

Toodle Pip and Here’s to a Fantastic 2024! 😉

 


Merry Christmas, Back from the Jambusters Fair, Plus A New Video!

On Stage for Jambusters!

It wont come as any surprise to hear I’m now well into my Christmas season. My new songs are going down a treat. You can’t beat a Richard Whennell arrangement and it’s a delight to have some new numbers, for this Christmas. I’m loving Richard’s arrangement of the  John Rutter song “Candlelight Carol”. It’s truly beautiful and a perfect match with my voice type.

I also have a gospel arrangement of the Victorian hymn “Oh Holy Night”. For many years I never liked this song but by adding a gospel beat, it’s suddenly come alive for me and works really well within my festive repertoire. Another one of my favorites is “The Perfect Year”. It’s from the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical “Sunset Boulevard” and although I’ve been singing this song for many years it comes fresh to my 2023 Christmas show.

Last Sunday Paul and I were performing for the Jambusters

Merry Christmas Every-one!

Christmas market in Woburn. It was a lovely event and I had been booked to perform a selection of Vintage Christmas Songs and 1940s favourites. The event took place at Woburn village hall and there were some wonderful items for sale. Needless to say I was able to do a little bit of Christmas shopping between sets while Paul performed a couple of popular swing tunes too.

I had been looking forward to this event very much because the event organiser Zoe does things so well. It’s important to be versatile and for the second half of the show I added in a lot

Shopping at Bella Blooms Stall!

more 40s favourites. You can’t go wrong with the classics and there is something about the music from this era which just makes your toes tap. My friend Harry was able to take photos and I hope to have a lovely array of shots which in time will be making there way into another flicker book video. I find this to be a wonderful way of recording the day and always makes for a great momento.

Speaking of which it give me great pleasure to launch my new flicker book video from Milestones Museum. This selection of photos

In Full Christmas Song!

were taken by photographer Sean La Plain in May when I performed for the museums 1940s event and I hope you all enjoy watching!

https://youtu.be/hWiQPnLL7lk?si=01FG-PS6Vhoilakt  

I’m going to be returning to Milestones later this month as I’ve been booked to perform for their “Twixmas Tidings” event which runs through from Wednesday 27th – Sunday 31st December. I will be performing 3 x 45 minute shows daily at 11am, 1pm and 3pm and featuring popular seasonal classics and songs from Disney fairy tales. To find out more please click the link below.

https://www.milestonesmuseum.org.uk/event/twixmas-tidings-milestones

I shall leave you with a few of my favourite photos from this week

Merry Christmas from Paul, Poppy & I

as I continue to perform shows through to mid January.

Keep Following Toodle Pip and Bye for Now! 😉

Santa Baby!

 

 

 


London Poppy Day Totals and All Set for Christmas!

Singing for London Poppy Day!

I’m thrilled to be able to tell you that we have at last got the totals in. London Poppy Day raised over a million pounds £1,017,000.00 on the day and we at Euston station collected £22,614.72. for the Royal British Legion. That’s a whopping 11% increase on last year. This is a phenomenal result and thank-you every-one for your amazing support. I felt very proud to be singing from 8am – 6pm, 30 minutes on 30 minutes off alongside the Poppy collectors at Euston station, raising money for this well worthy charity.

This was the 2nd time I had been invited to sing for London Poppy Day. Last year I was placed at London Bridge but this time I was requested to cover Euston station which is much easier for me to get to when driving down from Leighton Buzzard. I’m no stranger to these sorts of events having played Birmingham Poppy Day many times before. The time goes really quickly and afterward I worked out I sang for five and a half hours covering 134 songs

All Set for Christmas!

including my medley compositions.

It’s all about pacing and maybe it is true what they say you don’t get older you just get better. Now I’m in my fifties my voice is in its prime. I can go for longer and not think about it. I have a naturally high soprano voice which sounds young while enjoying the benefits of maturity. Last year I had my Covid jab a few days before which was a little like singing though a cold. This year I took the decision to delay my jab until today which proved to be the right decision so I was able to give my all for London.

As with all these things I don’t have much time to rest and straight afterwards I had a full diary of 1940s ATS Remembrance shows which I played through to the 18th November. With the King’s Birthday on the 14th November I had one “Happy and Glorious” concert to complete and now

Plenty of Christmas Music to Learn!

it’s full steam ahead with the Christmas season.

Sadly I can’t spend too long on my blog today because I start Christmas shows on the 29th November and I have a series of new songs to learn for this season. Shrewdly I picked up my new songs from the studio in January as this time of year is always extremely busy. Richards arrangements are second to none and it means a lot to have them. I’m looking forward very much to adding them into my repertoire.

This year I have a new Christmas opening number “We Need A Little Christmas” which is from the

The Jambusters Vintage Christmas Fair!

American musical “Mame”, A fabulous gospel arrangement of “O Holy Night”, “Let it Snow” which replaces my original track, a medley of “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” with “Carol of the Bells” which I used as the backing track to my Black Country Living Museum Christmas Flicker Book video. I will be officially launching this video in  a few weeks time so keep watching this space and finally the “Candlelight Carol” which was written by John Rutter and is just beautiful.

Next week we are having all our windows replaced so I need to get on with my word learning and Christmas show plans. On the 3rd December I’m engaged to perform for the Jambusters Vintage Christmas Fair which will be taking place at Woburn Village Hall from 11am. I’m booked to perform 2 x 45 minute Christmas sets at 11.30am and 2pm. I’m looking forward to the event very much and I hope I will be able to do some Christmas shopping at the same time too.

Keep Following, Toodle Pip and Bye for Now!

 

 


London Poppy Day, Remembrance & The Air Raid Shelter Cafe!

On Stage at Euston Station!

I’m sorry I’m a little later than normal with my blog this week. As you might expect I haven’t had a great deal of time to myself having performed seamlessly through the months of October and November with Halloween, Guy Fawkes shows and straight on into Remembrance season. As ever I’m constantly learning new music and it was great to open my Guy Fawkes shows last week with Elvis’s popular tune “Burning Love”.

This week I’ve swapped my flaming dresses for ATS uniform. I’ve a full diary of “We’ll Meet Again” Remembrance shows to perform which will be taking me through to the best part of next week and I’m now performing two shows daily up until the 12th November. I have an enormous repertoire and I’m always making musical changes to keep my shows fresh and exciting. This year I’ve been performing The Band of Brothers

Singing for The Poppy Appeal!

theme tune “Requiem for a Soldier” which has been going down extremely well.

Good show programing is essential and I usually perform this number after the 2 minutes silence on remembrance day itself which is a lovely way of opening my show. For now I’ve been placing “Requiem” as the penultimate number which sits well in my show planning before it will be taking its proper place again for Remembrance day.

Collecting for the Appeal!

Last Thursday I was at Euston Station performing for London Poppy Day. Last year I was at London Bridge and at New Street Station in Birmingham too. This year the Appeal concentrated on London and I was placed at Euston which is much easier for me to get to. I had been booked to perform from 8am in the morning through to 6pm at night 20 minutes on 20 minutes off all through the day. It’s a big sing but very enjoyable as I performed a mixed repertoire of Opera to Rock and Roll, not to mention all those popular sing-along favourites from the 1940s, which people

Out-side The Air Raid Shelter Cafe!

just adore.

This year it was much easier because I had a clock right in front of me and in the end I simplified my sets by performing 30 minutes on 30 minutes off which seemed to work better with the trains. I first started singing for the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal in 2018  in Birmingham and I now have these Poppy days off to a fine art.

I usually play my first show as a straight through 60 minutes set from 8am to 9am and then every 30 minutes on the half hour.  I find this works

Inside The Air Raid Shelter Cafe!

well so in effect I’m only singing for five and a half hours which seems to go very quickly. The hardest part isn’t the singing but the standing which is why I always bring a couple of pairs of shoes. On this occasion I only needed two pairs, one flat pair for hauling equipment and setting up and the other, a smart pair of heels because they always look so much more glamorous when on stage.

As yet I’m still waiting to hear just how much we raised on the day. I know over £15000 was raised on credit card machines alone but just how much was taken in cash donations I’m still waiting to hear back but as soon as I do I will let you all know.

This week has been very full on with shows every day and on Tuesday I was booked to perform for the Royal Star and Garter in High Wycombe. Just down the road is The Air Raid

Tea in the Air Raid Shelter!

Shelter Cafe and Tea Rooms. I’d been wanting to visit for a long time as it’s just changed premises to Frogmore Street. It’s a little like a 1940s museum with lots of artifacts from the war. My show wasn’t until 4pm on Tuesday so I made the most of the opportunity, called in for lunch and enjoyed the war time ambience.

I shall leave you with a few of my photos

Keep Following Toodle Pip and Bye for Now! 😉

All Set for The Royal Star and Garter!

 

 


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