Archives for posts with tag: judy macinnes

I have been thinking about this over Christmas, especially after playing in a local non-pro Big Band  directed by Robin Cooper, and the next night attending  a lovely Christmas concert by some good friends here in Madrid. It also took me back to June and the visit here of the Liverpool Phoenix Concert Orchestra, which I’ve written about in another post.

Here are my ideas, I’d love to hear your comments on why you perform as an amateur musician.

Here are some reasons why some people (I’m not telling you which reasons are mine) might be involved in music as an activity that is not a form of income for them:

A star is born: persons who long to be on the stage and who dream that their big break is just around the corner, they are a discovery just waiting to be ….discovered;

Man in the mirror: persons who have a huge political/social conscience and hope to change the world through their campaigning through the platform which the arts can give them;

Love story: persons who believe that true love could flower in the next audition or in the interval at the very next show;

I don’t like Mondays: persons who have jobs that range from tedium to nail-biting tension and find performing a healthy escape;

Coca-cola reminiscence: persons who’d like to teach the world to sing, love doing music and want to share their pleasure with others … now we’re getting there…;

Moon riverdwellers: when Johnny Mercer wrote these gorgeous lines, don’t you think he was expressing that search for those spine tingling musical moments we’ve all had thanks to people around us when we’ve been playing/singing in choirs, bands or orchestras…

We’re after the same rainbow’s end–
waiting ’round the bend,
my huckleberry friend,
Moon River and me.

So there’s my Christmas quiz, all polite comments will be posted here for us all to enjoy.

This post is dedicated to the Big Band of the Aula de Musicas in Madrid: directed by Robin Cooper, and to all my friends from Liverpool and the Christmas Spirit group directed by Judy Macinnes:

Liverpool  Phoenix Concert Orchestra

Musical Director: Jill Hyde

Associate Conductor: Dr. Robert Howard

Violin: Christine Bratherton (Leader), Rose Sims, Robert Howard, Suzanne Dawber, Lyndsey Travis, Paul Dadswell, Jane Little, Yan Zhang

‘Cello: Charlotte Sawyer

Double Bass: Julia Cadman

Flute: Laura Bonnett, Jane Berry, Frances Aston

Oboe: Alex Swift

Clarinet: Susan Hyde, Maggie Edwards, Lyndsey Whelan

Bassoon: Helen Chatterton, Sara Padmore

Saxophone: Howard Fenton (flute), David Toller

Trumpet: Tony Lister, Gary Boden, Julie Baker

Trombone: Jonathan Malits

Tuba/ Bass Guitar: Mike McLoughlin

Percussion: Alasdair Chatterton, Janet Malits

Liverpool  Phoenix Concert Orchestra

Administration: Tish Bratherton

Tour Organisers: Jill Hyde, Tish Bratherton, Howard Fenton,

Susan Hyde, Christine Bratherton

The Singers:

Kevin Beer

Julie Davies

James Duggan

Delories Dunn

Diana Grayland

Richard Hunter

Judy MacInnes

John Ruescas



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…


%d bloggers like this: