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And joy be to you all...

Signing off for the Holidays

Usually my last blog post in December is full of talk about how choral folk will be looking forward to a rest after the busiest time of year for performances. Not so much this year, eh? But we all deserve a bit of a break nonetheless. There’s been an awful lot of screen time this year, and our eyes deserve a rest. So, other than Skyping with your family, maybe now’s a good time to spend less time online and think about curling up with a good book or a craft project instead.

There’s little one can say about 2020 that won’t sound obvious. It’s been strange, it’s been tough, we’ve all grown in ways we couldn’t have imagined this time last year. Some of the changes we have had to embrace we may choose to carry onwards with us into the future, others we will gladly abandon as soon as we possibly can.

Arranging Update: Opening Up for Commissions

From today I am available again for arrangement commissions! Thank you for your patience while I took time out to do some learning and experimenting. As I’ve explained to the various people who have enquired since I stopped taking new commissions back in October so I could work my way through those I’d already committed to and create some space for my own project, I didn’t keep a waiting list in the interim. Experience has told me that if you queue people up too many months in advance, by the time you get to them, their needs have changed anyway.

So, I won’t assume that you’re still looking at the songs you were talking about earlier in the year, and am starting from a blank slate. As is my usual practice, I slot people in basically in the order that the commissions are confirmed (including, if applicable, evidence of the necessary permissions), though jiggling about a bit to take into account the timescales different groups are working to.

It will be interesting to see what it’s like going back to 4-part writing after 6 months focused exclusively on 8-parters. Though of course, if you’d like to commission an 8-parter, I’m better at it now that than I was 6 months ago :-)

Welcome to the Twenties!

Happy New Year everyone, indeed Happy New Decade!

It's funny how we have a good ten year's warning that the next higher-level change in arbitrary articulation of time is going to happen, but when it comes along I never seem to feel quite ready for it. Fortunately, the time keeps ticking past whether I have myself organised or not, so maybe I can just carry on with what I was going to do anyway.

Still, January is the tradition time for new starts, and I have some fun projects lined up for the first part of the year. My chorus, the Telfordaires, will be running a Learn to Sing in Harmony course from next Wednesday - and there's still time to sign up if you know any guys in Shropshire or its environs who might like to join in the fun.

Signing off for the holidays...

(Is it just me, or does anyone else find it hard to type 'signing'? My fingers automatically revert to 'singing' unless I watch them very carefully indeed...)

Well, it seems very lazy of me to stop blogging again a scant 3 weeks since resuming after my autumnal hiatus, especially as I've been told off again this week for stopping while I wrote my other papers. But I do this every year, so you can't be surprised. At least I'm waiting until less than a week before Christmas this year to hang up my pencil, rather than going off gallivanting for an entire month as I did in 2017.

Another Anniversary

Ten years ago today was my last day as a full-time university lecturer. Which means I’ve been freelancing for as long as I worked at Birmingham Conservatoire. Where did all that time go? Well, we can answer that as I’ve blogged about a lot of it on the way past. I’ve spent most of it working with singers and conductors, as arranger, coach and mentor, helping them do their thing with greater confidence, skill and joy.

When I left academia, I was often asked whether I saw myself going back. To which the answer was that I didn’t know. Ten years previously I hadn’t imagined going freelance, so I really couldn’t predict how I’d feel ten years on. Now that ten years has passed, I discover that I can’t imagine myself stepping back into full-time institutional life.

Happy New Year!

So it’s time to get back in the saddle and start paying attention to the outside world again. I hope you have all had a restful break over the holiday season, with the balance of fellowship and quiet time that best suits your personality. For myself, I can’t remember the last time I spent quite so many days in a row at home without working, which is a bit of an achievement. I love what I do for a living, but I had some times during 2018 when I struggled to remember what I do when I’m not doing that.

The Christmas Post

The title is in the spirit of ‘The Christmas Song’. Other blog posts about Christmas are available, but a gratuitous definite article always makes things look more purposeful when you’ve not yet thought of a better title. (I’m not – necessarily – saying this was the songwriter’s rationale, just sharing my own process.)

Anyway, just a quick note to say that as usual I’m not planning to post over the seasonal break. I shall be aiming to get myself some more time away from screens over the holiday, and am helping you do likewise by not posting anything you might want to read. If it turns out that you actually like a little escapism from all the people and excessive good cheer, you can always indulge in a little nostalgic browsing of the archives.

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