Heaven on Earth: The Joy of A Capella Harmony Singing with The B Naturals

What is the greatest musical instrument of all? I believe it is the human voice. Nothing compares to the joy of a capella harmony singing – in perfect pitch, of course, and under the tuition of an inspirational musical director… or how about four musical directors, one for each voice part? Recently I  took partContinue reading “Heaven on Earth: The Joy of A Capella Harmony Singing with The B Naturals”

The Beatles, A Cry From the Heart, and a Curious Collection of Letters From Beatles Fans Full of Youthful Passion

Did you know my very first published work under the name of SC Skillman was a cry from the heart, in the form of a poem which appeared in print courtesy of The Beatles? No? Here it is, a cry from the heart of a frustrated fan, as it first appeared in Beatles Monthly editionContinue reading “The Beatles, A Cry From the Heart, and a Curious Collection of Letters From Beatles Fans Full of Youthful Passion”

Beatles Shine with Passion and Energy in New Documentary “8 Days a Week: the Touring Years”

How young, innocent, and naive they were, aged in their early twenties: cheeky and endearing. As Paul McCartney puts it, “At the beginning it was all very simple. By the end it had become very complicated.” And in the Beatles new documentary “8 Days a Week: The Touring Years” we saw a transformation rather similarContinue reading “Beatles Shine with Passion and Energy in New Documentary “8 Days a Week: the Touring Years””

Book Review: The Beatles Lyrics by Hunter Davies

Having received this book as a Christmas gift, substantial 375-page tome that it is, I devoured it in a few days. I found the book utterly compelling. Hunter Davies starts by describing his search among collectors, companies and auction houses for what must surely rank among the most valuable “scruffy scraps of paper” in theContinue reading “Book Review: The Beatles Lyrics by Hunter Davies”

Comic Opera of Gilbert and Sullivan – the Great English Comic Theme of People Pretending To Be Better Than They Really Are

On Saturday evening I enjoyed watching and listening to a concert by the Warwick & Kenilworth Choral Society given in Kenilworth School, during which the choir performed Gilbert & Sullivan’s comic opera Trial by Jury. I have personal memories of Trial By Jury; during my childhood and teenage years I sang in a girls’ choirContinue reading “Comic Opera of Gilbert and Sullivan – the Great English Comic Theme of People Pretending To Be Better Than They Really Are”

The Joy of Singing, from the Challenge of J.S. Bach, to A Community Choirs Festival in Stratford-upon-Avon

Singing is  a gift of God, and a channel for empowerment. This weekend has been an amazing time of singing. And I’ve learned a few things about this life too. On Saturday night, the choir I sing with, the Warwick & Kenilworth Choral Society, gave a performance of Bach’s B Minor Mass that truly honouredContinue reading “The Joy of Singing, from the Challenge of J.S. Bach, to A Community Choirs Festival in Stratford-upon-Avon”

People of Inspiration Part 6 – Gareth Malone, The Love of Singing and the Rediscovery of the Power of Sound

What or who would inspire you to start singing? Gareth Malone, self-described as an “animateur, presenter and populariser of choral singing” (Wikipedia) Even if you’ve spent years of your life  thinking  you “can’t sing”? And there are many people with this gift – I’ve met quite a few in my own life of singing –Continue reading “People of Inspiration Part 6 – Gareth Malone, The Love of Singing and the Rediscovery of the Power of Sound”

Searching for Love… And Craving Celebrity

In my last post, on the case of Jimmy Savile, I wrote about the dark side of celebrity. We live in a society obsessed with celebrities – the gods of this secular age. And we try to convince ourselves that fame would guarantee entry into a perfect region of love, wealth and success. Yet theContinue reading “Searching for Love… And Craving Celebrity”

People of Inspiration Part 3 – Susan Boyle, Who Made a Choice to Use the Gift God Had Given Her

As the third personality in my mini-series on People of Inspiration, step forward Susan Boyle. In the musical “I Dreamed a Dream” , which I saw at the Birmingham Hippodrome, I learned much about this gifted singer  and deepened my knowledge of her life-experiences and background. The show starred Elaine C. Smith in the role ofContinue reading “People of Inspiration Part 3 – Susan Boyle, Who Made a Choice to Use the Gift God Had Given Her”

People of Inspiration Part 1 – Paul McCartney, Muse, Minstrel and Keeper of Dreams

Today, opening a new mini-series on People of Inspiration, I offer my first choice: Paul McCartney. He was my childhood hero. I first fell for him when a schoolfriend put a souvenir programme into my hands and I saw a picture of him singing “Yesterday” at the Royal Variety Command Performance, a few years after thatContinue reading “People of Inspiration Part 1 – Paul McCartney, Muse, Minstrel and Keeper of Dreams”