Happy New Year! – made any resolutions then?

Well – A good day and a happy new year, 2015 to all of you who have stumbled across this page… and welcome to the very first post of my brand new blog!  I find myself staring at a blank computer screen after, on a whim, deciding to register my name as a domain, downloading some blogging software, and typing in the rather wordy title ‘Thoughts and musings of an amateur Manchester musician’ (might change that later when I come up with a better one…)

Needless to say, that title pretty much sums up what I’d like to blog about.  I’m just about to turn 41 and it occurred to me that I’ve pretty much spent over 30 of those years involved in music making of some form or another.  Like countless others, including, I hope, some of the readers of these articles, I’m not talking about a mere hobby or relaxation.  No, as many of you will entirely understand, this is an all encompassing lifestyle which truly colours your day to day existence.  No, we can’t go on holiday that week, I’ve got an opportunity to play Mahler’s 3rd Symphony… Sorry, can’t come to your wedding, there’s been a gig in my diary on that date for the last twelve months…  I’m still a little disappointed that me and my wife’s trip of a lifetime to Australia coincided with my friend’s theatre group’s production of Stephen Sondheim’s ‘Company’… and it was even a bit of a consideration about whether we would start a family.  Who’s going to babysit when we both have a gig on the same day?  (Susan’s a very fine violinist – out at a rehearsal as I type). (We did have a baby by the way, he’s called Eddie, he’s one now and pretty fab – here’s a picture of him playing piano duets…Eddie piano

So, the plan is to try and put pen to paper and come up with a few thoughts about my musical life, past, present & future, hopefully a few interesting anecdotes, some words about the projects I am involved in currently… snippets of minutia that come to mind that I think might be worth sharing.  And hopefully I’ll get to hear the same from you!  So many of you are involved in exciting projects – concerts, gigs, recordings, theatre productions.   Lets make this a place where we can share our excitement!  What are you involved in now?  Let’s hear about it.  Going to a concert, gig or whatever is great but I love hearing about the journey to that finished product, the behind the scenes toil, the craft and art behind it.  That’s what I intend to write about and I’d love to hear the same from you too.

I realise that, if you are reading this at all, chances are you already know me and probably already have an idea about the sort of music I’m involved in.  But- in case you have just stumbled across this – a little bit of background.

My musical life is and has been pretty eclectic and has involved a bit of singing, piano playing, composing, conducting and mainly (as can be seen from the dubious photo of me in a hat, probably to the left of this article) trombone playing.  The eclecticism also extends to the types of music I have been involved with, ranging from classical through jazz, swing, opera, music theatre, light music, pop & rock. I’ve always been particularly interested in the way that musicians schooled and trained in these different styles differ in the way they work and have enjoyed learning from them – so hopefully I’ll be able to talk about that a little too.

Currently I’m playing in a number of local symphony orchestras, a swing band and a funk band and I look forward to writing more about them all in due course.  I am also on course to finish writing a short opera which I hope I’ll be able to find people to sing/play through later in the year (there – I’ve said I’ll finish it in black & white now….my librettist will be happy).

And then there’s this blog, a chance to tie it all together and spread a bit of positivity and excitement about this lifestyle that has been chosen for us.

And that’s my resolution.  Would be lovely to have you along for the ride!






2 thoughts on “Happy New Year! – made any resolutions then?”

  1. I’m interested to hear about your opera, Richard. If you’re looking for people to give it a sing through and there’s a part for my kind of voice I’d love to have a go.

    1. Hi Nick – thanks very much for replying. I rather think you might be a little bit too good for my first attempt at writing something as ridiculously complex as an opera, but yes I would be delighted to show it to you when the time is right! I’d also be interested to know if you have any suggestions re small companies that might be interested in trying out new stuff. I don’t want to say too much now except that it’s a short (less than an hour) ghost story, 5 in the cast (3 tenors/baritones, 1 bass, 1 mezzo) 5 instrumentalists and offstage small choir. It incorporates hymn tunes, folk songs and nursery rhymes and will hopefully be scary!

      I’ve been in the orchestra for some brilliant performances from you – I think my favourite was when you blew us all away in the tenor arias for Rossini’s Messe di Gloria with John Huw Davies’ choir at the RNCM. Fantastic!

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