Music Matters Autumn 2016

It was lovely to see Whitgift House Chapel filling with lots of familiar friendly faces at the start of our new Music Matters season on 13 September. Nicoline Kraamwinkel and I set feet tapping with a programme of dances that started in medieval Europe and finished in New Orleans, our musical journey taking in Russian Jewish Klezmer and Argentinian Tango.

Richard Suart has chosen to call his presentation on Tuesday 27 September “Generally G&S” or “I should Ko-Ko”, a typically Gilbertian double title.  Richard has recently completed a run of performances of “The Mikado” at the London Coliseum in the latest revival of English National Opera’s hugely successful production. If you look carefully at this picture of Richard as Ko-Ko the Lord High Executioner,  a role that Richard has made especially his own, I think you may be able to see the “little list” poking out of his pocket!mikado-2012-3-134

The full autumn series of Lecture-Recitals at Whitgift House, 76, Brighton Road, South Croydon, CR2 6AB in The Chapel, 7 for 7.30 – 9.30p.m. costs just £64. It’s not too late to take out a subscription, or you can simply pay £10 on the door on each occasion.

Tuesday 27 September: Richard Suart “Generally G&S” or “I should Ko-Ko” – an evening of reminiscence and song, with baritone favourites from the operettas accompanied by Margaret Archibald at the keyboard.

Tuesday 11 October: Jorge Jimenez “Contrapunctus” – Polyphony for solo violin.

Tuesday 25 October: Alan Shellard and Margaret Archibald “Two of a Kind” – costumed clarinettists in marches and much more.

Tuesday 8 November: Alan George “Beethoven’s last quartets: absolutely contemporary for ever!”

Tuesday 22 November: Stephen Bingham “Lines and Loops” – for violin, electric violin and live-looping.

Tuesday 6 December: Katie Clemmow and Margaret Archibald “Imitation” – exploring a favourite device in the composer’s armoury.

Tuesday 20 December: Gerald Place “Searching for Shakespeare’s Songs”  – Gerald sings songs Shakespeare would have known, accompanying himself on the viola da gamba.

There is a second chance to hear Richard Suart, Alan Shellard, Stephen Bingham and Gerald Place who will each appear the next day in our 2.30p.m. Wednesday afternoon series of Musical Offerings at St Mark’s Church Room, Bromley.

Details from Margaret Archibald: 07970 123105;


Clarinets coming home – Everyone Matters at Benslow Music Trust

Year after year each return to Benslow feels to me like another coming home. The house wraps round me as I walk into the hall, I promise the reception team yet again that this year I really won’t lose my room key, and it’s hugs all round as clarinet players convene for another intensive weekend of non-stop playing: clarinet choir, clarinet ensemble, clarinet masterclass, clarinet recital and, this year for the second time as part of the David Campbell Clarinet Weekend, the Everyone Matters group working towards performances in local Hitchin care homes. My clarinet colleagues David Campbell and Ian Scott are on board this year to share coaching the Everyone Matters group as they prepare to perform in the homes, and pianist John Flinders is also on hand to work through the clarinet solos that several of our group plan to perform at our Monday community concerts with me accompanying at an electric keyboard that is already stowed in my car for the care homes that don’t have pianos.

It is so easy now for me to set up the care centre concerts, as all the venues welcome us as old friends and are eager for us to return. This year it was Leonard Cheshire Disability that chose to host our Monday morning concert at Symonds House, where our welcoming audience included a number of staff and residents who had seen some of us in previous years. The intimacy of the room encouraged a very informal atmosphere throughout the concert, with lots of questions from our audience including a fascinating discussion initiated by one of the wheelchair users who asked the thought-provoking question “Why do the clarinets all sound different?” initiating a rewarding discussion in which each player was able to explain some of the details of their own reed, mouthpiece and instrument set-up as well as touching on the differences between individual approaches to tone production.


Linda, Rosemary and Cathy have all played in Hitchin care centres previously, and at Highbury Rise following the afternoon concert Linda found a gentleman who had been born near her own Croydon home, enabling the two of them to share reminiscences of Thornton Heath ponds, leading to him telling the story of how he ran away to sea at age 15.


Chris plays folk fiddle as well as clarinet, flute and recorder, and he offered us a welcome interlude from wall-to-wall clarinets with two Irish jigs for which he wrote out a shadowing harmony part for me as a duo accompaniment.


It’s a big ask for a group of amateur players to come together with only short rehearsal time, as part of a densely timetabled weekend, to put together an informal concert programme from scratch, and this group managed it magnificently. The Activities Co-ordinator at Highbury Rise, where many of the residents are living with dementia, wrote afterwards, “Music has a wonderful effect on the brain and evokes memories that may have been forgotten”, and the Volunteer Co-ordinator at Symonds House summed it up: “A lovely concert for a Monday morning”.



Rutherford Summer Club 2016

Margaret Archibald recalls some highlights of her day at Rutherford School where she and harpist Alexander Thomas were contributing music workshops designed to explore this year’s summer club theme of “Water”. 

It really is astonishing how much stuff I manage to take for one day of workshops!

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It was 1st August, there was no school-run traffic, and I arrived at Rutherford School with more than an hour and a half to spare to set up for a full day of workshops with harpist Alexander Thomas. This was already the second week of the school’s Summer Club, and we would spend the day working with five different groups of children all with profound and multiple learning difficulties. Somehow the time flew by as I unpacked lots of small percussion suitable for the school’s holiday project “water”, raided the music therapy percussion trolley, created a watery décor with water-blue silks and colourful umbrellas, and laid out the props and percussion ready in appropriate batches to be used for successive music items.

Alex and Winnie the Pooh 20160801_125624

Alexander Thomas arrived early too, having allowed plenty of time to drive from Dalston with his harp, the very special instrument chosen to be a new experience for the children. We were conscious that summer club should be fun and engaging, and we hoped that the chance to hear a harp and to feel its vibrations would be a thrilling experience for these wheelchair-bound children. We also wanted the support staff to have fun too, and the ratio of staff to children was mostly 1:1 so it was important that everyone was having a good time. Manoeuvring the wheelchairs really close to the harp was rather tricky, and we needed to be very careful not to damage the harp’s pedal box, but nearly every child was able to get close enough to be able to reach out with staff help and touch the pillar of the harp, feeling the strong vibrations flowing through as Alex played. One little girl, whose head we were told is nearly always down on her chest, lifted her head to gaze at Alex and his harp, and at the end of the workshop during our goodbye song she waved us her farewell.

Alex seen through the strings 20160801_130922

A favourite piece at each session was “Mists”, a dreamy and evocative piece for harp and clarinet that we elaborated with the sound of rainsticks, wind chimes and a thunder drum. First we explored the sounds that could be made with the percussion instruments, and then staff helped the children orchestrate the piece with imaginative, atmospheric sound effects. The opportunity to take part by adding additional percussion sounds and visual props to the music was noted by several members of staff as especially enjoyable for everyone, and by the end of each session we had added ‘seaweed’ (green plastic bag strips tied to coat hangers!), a plastic diver, ocean drums, pebble bag scrunchers, sea shells in a bucket, frog guiros, seed pod rattles and castanets to the list of atmospheric additions to enhance a deep ocean-scape, a pirates’ hornpipe, and the song of boatmen heaving on their oars as they pulled a heavy cargo up the river. Finally we invited a free choice of percussion so that everyone could join in our final goodbye song playing their favourite instrument.

As Alex and I were packing up our gear and gradually returning the school room to its former state, we reflected on how lucky we were to be able to play such lovely music, and to share it with these very special children who cannot share their thoughts in words but whose responses mean so much.

John’s Project – Part 2

John Morris, to whose memory we dedicated our July 2016 “Conversation Pieces – Words and Music uniting the Generations”, gave many hours of administrative time during his retirement years to the Croydon Performing Arts Festival. He was a passionate advocate of the Festival’s Asian Music section, and I think he would have been especially delighted that the second phase of our memorial project this year featured a 14 year old veena player, Malathy Nithiyananthan.

Veena IMG_3501 colour edit

Malathy was able to come and play just at our last performance at Woodcote Grove House, and we were all thrilled to see this large and beautiful instrument at close quarters as she carried it round the room to show everyone before playing a beautiful raga-inspired piece.

Our other two young musicians for the full two-day project on 19 and 20 July were 15 year old Carol Leader who played flute in the ensembles and a Chopin Nocturne as piano soloist, and 16 year old Joseph Mackley, who played mostly alto saxophone in our programme but who also played his French horn, played a piano solo, and truly enchanted everyone when he sang “Some Enchanted Evening”.

19 20 July Joe and Ian FullSizeRender colour edit

Ian Fasham, just emerged from an intensive run of Garsington Opera, was able to join Margaret Archibald to lead the rehearsals and to give a sonorous bass to the ensemble numbers flexibly scored for flute, clarinet, saxophone or horn, and trombone. Given this line-up we needed to create some of our own arrangements and to make imaginative use of pre-existing ones. We put in a solid three-hour rehearsal at Red Court Nursing Home, where we were offered free use of a spare lounge all morning to prepare for our concert there that same afternoon. By the time we were eating our picnic under a garden sunshade we had come up with a programme ranging from a Marenzio Madrigal and a Monteverdi Canzonetta to favourites from the West End, film and TV.

We had picked two of the hottest days of the year for these concerts, and after a short rehearsal and morning concert next day at Beth Ezra Trust we were once again grateful for the offer of a shady patch in the garden to eat our picnic. Then it was just a short drive round the corner to Woodcote Grove House, where a few residents from Orford House across the lawn were able to join us in the elegant lounge for the last concert of the series.

19 20 July tutti FullSizeRender colour edit

“I had hoped that the project would be fun and different”, wrote Carol, “and it certainly was! As well as playing music, I particularly enjoyed talking to the elderly residents at the 3 care homes to learn about them and their story”. Joe had offered us a wide selection of choices from his repertoire and we particularly wanted him to share two of the most popular items. Later Joe wrote “Your choice of ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ and ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ provided great joy and ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ put big smiles on everyone’s face. My expectations were exceeded as we made them happier than I had anticipated. Talking to the residents following our concerts was a wonderful opportunity to find out what they enjoyed and hear about the very interesting and varied lives that they have had. It was a very enjoyable two days and it really made people happy”.

Thanks to the generosity of John’s many friends, over the four days of our project two separate groups of young musicians from the Croydon Performing Arts Festival have rehearsed with their professional colleagues and performed alongside them in six of Croydon’s care centres for older people, and we very much hope that this year’s collaborative project will be the first of many.

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Thank you David!

A lovely picture from David in our audience last Tuesday at Cherry Orchard Centre…

David's Cherry Orchard picture colour edit

…celebrating the music in our concert for flute, clarinet, trumpet and ‘cello.

Everyone Matters is mounting a four-day project this July in memory of John Morris who worked tirelessly over many years as a volunteer administrator for the Croydon Festival of Performing Arts. The project “Conversation Pieces – Words and Music uniting the Generations” was chosen in discussion with John’s family and friends to celebrate music’s power to bring people together regardless of age or circumstance.

Our first two days took place on 4 and 5 July when 18 year-old flautist Daniel Jacob-Ormson and 17 year-old trumpeter Nick Smith, both Festival prize-winners, rehearsed and performed alongside clarinettist Margaret Archibald and ‘cellist Julia Desbruslais in concerts of Baroque, Classical and traditional music. We started our day with a full morning of rehearsal in the Chapel at Whitgift House, working up a programme of Baroque concerto and trio sonata movements by Caldara, Corelli and Reinhart, a “London” Trio by Haydn, a Church Sonata by Mozart, our own arrangement of the famous Tambourin by Gossec, and traditional tunes including the “Pugwash” hornpipe, the glorious “Danny Boy” appropriately played by Dan on the flute, and the Keel Row briefly featuring the piccolo.

Our first concert on the Monday was at the South Croydon Centre, where we offered post-luncheon entertainment to some 20 older people for whom the Centre provides support, company and hot meals. After a good chat over cups of tea all round, we popped back across the road to give our second concert in the newly refurbished and extended Community Room at Whitgift House; it was good to see so many friends from previous visits to this continuing care community in our audience, including a number who also attend our Tuesday night Music Matters lecture-recitals in Whitgift House Chapel, and a former trombonist who especially enjoyed meeting fellow brass player Nick:

Whitgift House P1030856

Tuesday morning began with a short top-up rehearsal followed by our concert at Cherry Orchard Centre that provides day opportunities for adults with learning disabilities. The 50-strong audience ranged from people in their 20’s to others in their 80’s, a lovely reflection of the project’s primary aim to bring the generations together in a shared enjoyment of music. Finally we were off to Wilhelmina House, playing in their new lounge where thankfully we started our afternoon performance just as the bulldozers outside ceased work for the day!

We asked our young colleagues what they most enjoyed about the project; for Nick it was”playing with an ensemble of such a high standard” and for Dan “the response, it was a nice surprise to see how much the audience enjoyed it”.

Whitgift House P1030853

Contrapunctus – Polyphony for solo violin

Wednesday 22 June 2016 2.30 – 4.30p.m.

Lecture-Recital in the series Musical Offerings

in the Church Room

St Mark’s Church, Westmoreland Road, Bromley, BR2 0TB

 Jorge’s passion for the violin and for music of the highest quality has led him to direct, conduct and lead international ensembles throughout Europe, giving stylish, authentic performances of  music from Medieval times to the 21st century.

As a soloist, Jorge has toured widely in Europe and South America playing on a 1680 Vincenzo Ruggieri made in Cremona or, as best suits the repertoire,  on a 1797 Neapolitan J&A Gagliano.

Jorge’s engagements in 2016 include guest director of Capella Cracoviensis, assistant musical director at Netherlandse Opera,  musical director and conductor of Wratislavia Cantans Festival Orchestra and Choir, and his new solo programme “Duende” at the Varazdin Baroque Evenings 2016 (Croatia).

Entry to non-subscription holders: £10 on the door

Home-made cakes, tea, coffee and biscuits will be on sale during the interval

Enquiries: Margaret Archibald, Artistic Director, Everyone Matters, 21, Stone Road, Bromley, Kent, BR2 9AX

Tel: 020 8464 1645; Mob: 07970 123105




Twitter: @EM_Charity

Everyone Matters: a company limited by guarantee no. 07450130; registered charity no. 1143445

A view of the trombone from the bottom


Wednesday 25 May 2.30 – 4.30p.m.

Lecture-Recital in the series Musical Offerings

in the Church Room

St Mark’s Church, Westmoreland Road, Bromley, BR2 0TB


Ian Fasham 20160521_145633
“…all that tubing”

Ian Fasham started off his musical life as a tenor trombone player at the age of 11. From the start he was fascinated by the look of the bass trombone (with all that extra tubing) and the sound of the low notes that it could make. He joined Kent County Youth Orchestra at the age of 13, and was loaned his first real bass trombone! He developed an early passion for opera, and now  works regularly with Glyndebourne, The Royal Opera House Covent Garden and Garsington Opera.  He has been the bass trombone player of the London Mozart Players since 1985. Away from the trombone, Ian has a wife (also a professional musician) and two school age children. When they get the chance, as a family they like to enjoy the outdoors and countries with warm climates!

Entry to non-subscription holders: £10 on the door

Home-made cakes, tea, coffee and biscuits will be on sale during the interval

Enquiries: Margaret Archibald, Artistic Director, Everyone Matters, 21, Stone Road, Bromley, Kent, BR2 9AX

Tel: 020 8464 1645; Mob: 07970 123105




Twitter: @EM_Charity

Everyone Matters: a company limited by guarantee no. 07450130; registered charity no. 1143445