Archives for posts with tag: james duggan

It wouldn’t have mattered if every train had been cancelled due to snow or if every taxi driver had gone on strike, I would have got home on Sunday carried along on a wave of sheer joy, thanks to the Christmas Cocktail concert by Judy Macinnes, Julie Davies, James Duggan, Delories Dunn, Richard Hunter, John Ruescas and Jonathan D. Mellor.


A Christmas Cocktail was a beautiful concoction of songs, poetry and silly nonsense of the best kind, mixed by the group themselves with ingredients including a touch of Noël Coward, Gustav Holst, and that trusty old friend, Traditional, and  served in the bar at the Hotel Vinci Via 66. This was an inspired choice of venue as we were able to enjoy the singers’ voices without the hassle of amplification, and we were all so close, it was lovely.

John Ruescas has such a beautiful, tender tenor voice that he is able to make the most of any romantic song, and manages to make the apparently unequivocal When you tell me that you love me sound like the saddest ever song of unrequited love, and his moments of The Most Wonderful time of Year turn your thoughts immediately to far away family instead of at- home comforts. By contrast, Delories powers on with her great voice and stage presence, and has the great advantage, for me, of coming up with songs from the very Americanest of repertoires which I haven’t heard before.

Richard, of course, was superb, reciting the first world war poem of the unofficial truce at Christmas 1914 followed by Tannenbaum in German and English. The world stopped turning for a few moments then, and the horror of that war, and all the other wars since 1914 and the ones tragically still under way, was hanging there with us in the room.

It served me right for doubting, but Anything you can do I can better did not seem, on the face of it, the most appropriate choice for a Christmas event, and there they were, Julie and James, wrecking the song mercilessly and bringing the house down with a Madrid 2010 mix of the great  duet. James also recited, this time The Boy Actor, which he performed so movingly that I was not only one to mistake this for his own work, apologies to Noël, not Gallagher by Coward.

Everyone, of course, did more than just these items I have mentioned, and were accompanied by Jonathan at every turn, who even did a turn on his own, and so sympathetically was his accompaniment.


And Judy, boss for the night, soloist, duetist, librettist and inspiration for the concert. Thank you for the ideas, the choice of music and for your wonderful singing. A great night and a wonderful way to get Christmas rolling. Thanks to you all, we have started to Have Ourselves a Merry Little Christmas…



A dream about musicals was written by James Duggan for Jill Hyde and the members of the Liverpool Phoenix Concert Orchestra and Judy, Julie, Dolories, Diane, Kevin, Richard and John in 2010… well, I was there too……

A dream about musicals: by James Duggan


Last night I had a dream about musicals

I dropped three coins in a fountain

Julie Andrews appeared; on top of a mountain

Swaying and swirling and singing with glee

She said, “Come, sing with me”

“But, what’ll I sing?”; “Oh anything,

Just remember to start at the very beginning.”

As I began singing, a church bell was ringing,

She said, “Oh dear, I must go,

But come with me, for some tea,

To the cute little convent below.”



When we arrived, Henry Higgins

Was there with Eliza,

Eating jelly and custard and

Surrounded by a lot of young men

She spoke of the weather, and

The rain on the plain in Spain again and again and again.

Freddie arrived and sang about

The street where she lived.

Higgins was livid and stormed out of the place

Not before turning, picking up the bowl and

Throwing some custard in her face.



Andrew Lloyd Webber appeared

Rehearsing his version of Guys & Dolls

All gangsters in sharp suits and spats

But when I looked closely

I saw the cast was mostly

A few dogs and a whole load of cats.

Porgy was there with his Bess, if you ask me why, no reason,

It’s a dream, I guess

Lloyd Webber said wow

And the cats went miaow:

The whole thing was a bit of a mess.



I moved out west

To a bright golden haze on the meadow

And a strapping young man said, “Welcome to Oklahoma.”

His name was Curry and he showed me his surrey

The whole thing happened in such a hurry

There was a horse and a cow and a calf,

We had a bit of a laugh and I said,

“This place should be called Jokelahoma!



I floated to somewhere unspecific

To a sunset on some enchanted evening

Ah yes, South Pacific.

There a panto dame and a girl were sharing a wig

I started to stare

The girl said, “Shoo!”,

Grabbed some shampoo and

Washed that dame right out of her hair.

Julie A appeared again in a car

No, a taxi,

Being chased by a horrible nazi,

She said, “Sing!”, but when I opened my mouth

Nothing came out

I had woken up and then I knew

For a dream about musicals

To come true

Needs an orchestra like the one

Playing here

On the stage

For one night only

Especially for you.


Thanks James.

See also my post on the Liverpool Phoenix Concert Orchestra


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