May 2016 Music Notes

I emerged from my 10 degree dip in the Ladies’ Swimming Pond on London’s Hampstead Heath this morning, enlivened by an incredible sense of well being. Here in my London paradise I embrace the health giving waters whatever the season, and I do so in the company of other similarly enlightened swimmers whenever I am in town. However, I realize I am considered as rather an eccentric back in Holland-on-Sea when I plunge in to the waves, clad only in my swimsuit, well before the summer sun has beamed it’s rays on to the coast line.

So, “What has all this wild and chilly stuff got to do with music?” one might ask….and my reply would be: “It’s all about inspiration. How can an artist fail to be moved to express her art form after such an exhilarating experience?” And today was no exception – I swam with the ducks and the moorhens (and other detritus, which I care not to think about), embraced by a feeling that Spring is most definitely with us. I glided through the silky waters, completely at one with nature, transfixed by the flying to and fro of a jewel coloured Kingfisher…..and then they appeared – a tinkling of beautiful musical notes that drifted in to my half frozen brain. By the time I hauled myself up and out of the water, my thankful heart was bursting with delightful creative ideas. I was ready for a sunny day of music making in the guise of an urban street band workshop, followed by the initial gathering in north London with the talented songsters, Mr Bain and Ms Baines, in preparation for our forthcoming Thorpe concert. I skipped back through the heath, riffing (1) with the birds and feeling ‘the love’ for the day ahead (cold water kick starts the endorphins, you know – a natural high that is completely organic and free to all, I promise!)

Following my swim and skip, I released my bike from its car rack  (there is a sense of an alternative triathlon training programme here!) and set off for the workshop I was facilitating in Camden. My mind brimming with melodies, I cycled happily along the Regent’s Canal, noticing the crowds of young trendy Londoners entwined in springtime embrace as the liquidy sun announced the arrival of warmer weather. Later, I cycled back past the more intensely entwined young lovers, in time to introduce Bain & Baines to each other that evening. We gathered round the piano as dusk fell, quickly overcoming the initial awkward first meet-up feeling, and settled into sorting out the programme for our “Love Me In Springtime” concert in Thorpe. I listened on as the warbling duo experimented with blending their tones and discussing at great length the repertoire that best expressed the season of burgeoning passion (oh the patience of an obligato clarinetist!! (2). After 2 hours of listening and respecting their vocal gymnastics, I was finally called to add my woodwind colour to the ensemble…I raised a clarinet to my lips ready for some tender springtime musical cooing…..”Just do something lovely here and there” Ms Baines chimed at me whilst prodding her stubby forefinger at the music…..”But we’ll leave that with you, you’ll be fine… it’s time to stop now!”….ah, the life of a patient, flexible jobbing instrumentalist – almost invisible, but oh so necessary!

So…. please come along to St Michael’s Church in Thorpe on 7th May and see what lovely things I come up with to augment the gorgeous B & B vocals,,,,intertwining jazzy lines and some classical solo moments too. In the meantime, should you spot a lonesome swimmer splashing around in the sea at Holland beach, it’ll probably be me, in search of springtime music inspirations to share. St Michael’s Church will be happy to welcome as many of you as possible to our “Love You in Springtime” concert – here’s hoping to see you there!

(1)    Riffing:  repeating a short pattern of musical notes  (mostly associated with Jazz)

(2)    Obligato:  a musical line that is in someway indispensible in performance


 “Love You in Springtime”

A fundraising concert for St Michael’s Church

 Andrew Bain: Tenor | Fiona Baines: Soprano | Catherine Shrubshall: Saxophones & Clarinets| Peter Thorne: Piano

 Saturday 7th May 2016 | 7.30 pm

St Michael’s Church, High Street, Thorpe-le-Soken

Tickets £12 – on the door or in advance

01255 675959 | 01255 861234 | 07957 266621

Catherine Shrubshall – Thorpe Magazine, May 2016 Issue

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