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80 years of Blue Note

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Giving something back.

When I was young, I often played at Benslow Music School in Hitchin. It was the venue for many of my classical outings, rather than the big band gigs in pubs that became more of a feature as I got older.     In 2018, I heard that Benslow Music Trust was in need of volunteer stewards for some of its concerts, and it seemed the ideal opportunity for me to give something back to young and developing musicians in Hitchin (and from further afield).     Last night was my first shift and it was fun. It was good to be back in the building, especially following the renovations it's had in recent years.     I'm looking forward to getting involved more in the coming weeks and months.

How will you make a difference in 2019?

Inspiration can come in many ways and from unexpected sources. What you have to do is look out for it. Having an open mind is key.
    My inspiration this week has come from my elderly father.
    He's turning 87 in May and this year marks the 70th anniversary of Harpenden Gang Show. He appeared in the first show in 1949 and several others in the 1950s
    The current Musical Director - Ewan Murray - has included a tribute to yesterday's scouts and dad will be on stage for just a few minutes in the finale.
    Dad's shirt was made in 1951 or 2 (I'm not surprised he can't remember!) in Singapore and he's proud that he can still wear it. At the time, he was doing his National Service - a different world and a different time.
    Just talking to him this week has allowed him to remember those times before he married my mum. He's told me stories he probably wouldn't have remembered otherwise.
     A real inspiration.

Showbiz panel discussions

As part of Roberto Perrone's first showbiz panel of 2019 on BBC Three Counties Radio, I got involved in discussions about music, books, TV shows and music (again).
    It was a fun way to spend an hour on Friday and Roberto hosted brilliantly, making sure everyone had a chance to contribute. My fellow panellists were author Tony Drury and music maestro David Mann. It was honour to sit alongside them and to find out more about what they do.
    I'm looking forward to getting involved in these panel discussions in the future - the next one is already booked for 8 February.

Pride comes in surprising places

My father is approaching 87. Before he gets there, he is appearing on stage at Harpenden Public Halls as part of the 70th anniversary of Harpenden Gang Show.
    Seven people are singing - that’s my dad on the far right - each one representing a decade since the first performance in 1949.
    At their first rehearsal together, I was moved to tears of pride. Dad is part of something which has brought pleasure to thousands of people.
    Pride can sneak up on you when least expected.

Farewell to 2018 and best wishes for 2019

Have yourself a merry little Christmas

Wishing you all the very best. Normal service will be resumed in a couple of days.