Will Michael Jazz Education Award

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BlueJam was awarded a diploma along with three Music Hubs from around the UK last week. Jilly shown here receiving it!
This is a real boost for the work being done by all the organisations promoting youth jazz in Cumbria and for the Music Hub’s commitment to a viable and innovative jazz development programme.
Congratulations to everyone!

EVAN Gallery opening

Eden Valley Artistic Network – EVAN – the new gallery and studios is up and running at 4 Corney Place, Penrith. Lots of lovely art but worth going to just to see BlueJam tutor Lawrence Leith‘s Virginal with a painting of Brougham Hall on the underside of the lid. There is also artwork in the exhibition by BlueJam supporters, with proceeds going towards our Youth Programme.
Fantastic news – they just sold one of my sketches!

New carol for North Lakes School

Putting the finishing touches to this year’s carol for North Lakes School, where my children went and we now all work in one capacity or another. I write a carol for them every year and this will be about the 16th offering. Most of them can be found on vocalunion.org.uk and are free to use for non-profit occasions. Glad to see Mary Keith is using “Welcome” with her choir this year.

Girls In Jazz Workshop

India Harding Great to start off the new academic year with an inspiring collaboration with India Harding, a young vocalist from Lancaster – off next year to Birmingham Conservatoire. One of those rare musicians who combines the skills to perform opera with the inclination to improvise over everything in sight – and an encouraging facilitator who genuinely enjoys engaging with emerging musicians.

We had a really successful session with four newcomers to the group who found their feet quickly, and it was a delight to hear how the others had improved both in technique and confidence.

I got to play drums and trumpet and sing all at the same time so was happy!

BlueJam Winter Music

Regular gigs from now til the New Year at Centerparcs. They are actually great fun as lots of people come to listen, dance, join in and appreciate a range of winter music from medieval to pop to world and jazz arrangements of familiar tunes. I get to play whistle, flute, trumpet and accordion in quick succession so much better than those puzzles at keeping my brain on the go. We’ve done this for 4 years now so are actually quite well-rehearsed – and the money helps to keep BlueJam afloat for the rest of the year.

Absent Friends Nov 2017

What a beautiful event at Eskdalemuir last Friday – part of a Scotland-wide series of events organised by Scotland Palliative Care.

I was commissioned by the Eskdalemuir Expressive Arts group to set a series of verses written by the Writing Group to music. We then performed the song together at the evening event.

It will be recorded before Christmas.

Big Sing at the Big Screen October 2016

A really interesting afternoon with seven primary schools taking part in a music and film event. Using the One Small Bird story and singing Meeting, Ballad and Vuela Libre from the cycle, schools created their own soundscapes, songs and animations describing the journey of the phalarope. Just what I hope will happen when a piece of work is created – that it gets embellished and re-imagined by the different groups of people performing it.

Rheged IMAX cinema in Penrith is a great venue

Cumbria Fireshow 2016!

Plans now finalised for the theme for this year’s show so can get going on writing the music – this year I will be recording a vocal and junk percussion soundtrack with Carlisle primary and secondary school students, with live singers, brass and drummers on the stage. Great to work again with storyteller Jeff Wallcook from Trellis Arts and firesculpture maker and director Gavin Lewery.