Friday, 7 December 2012


Well, what can I say? The past four weeks have taken me all around Merton, to 20 Primary schools who are participating in The Journey project. Yesterday was my last visit, to School 20 - The Priory! When I arrived the children in Y5 welcomed me back to my old room, where I had taught music for nearly 9 years.

They sang very strongly, with a great sound but would I achieve my quest?..Fortunately I got plenty of T reminders and ...( drum roll 1) 11.15am...(drum roll 2)...I finished Cup No 20 and IT WAS STILL HOT!

So, now you must all watch and listen to Pete's DVD ( remember, he's our fabulous Journey composer who is also just a bit bonkers). Here he is, hard at work writing music for us.

Home Straight, Here I Come!

This is the last week of my quest to drink a HOT cup of tea at all 20 Primary schools partcipating in The Journey Project. On Monday children at Singlegate looked after me very well.

On Tuesday I made new friends at Garfield, in particular Billy Beaver, who had come all the way from CANADA to take part in our workshop! He's a good singer too (although his big beaver tail is a bit awkward when we 'move to the groove').

Then on (and on!) to Merton Abbey and Holy Trinity. We talked about how clever nature is, to make our skin darker or lighter and more suitable to cope with different kinds of weather.

In our Merton schools we are lucky to have the world in one room, with families from many different countries and cultures.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

So, Where To Now??

Onwards and upwards, to Poplar, Joseph Hood and Dundonald. Luckily I have a map. Some excellent singing at all three schools (although I will arrange to be flown in by helicopter next time I visit Poplar!!).

We have a complex and challenging story to tell so don't forget how important it is to use all your mouth muscles and tongue to make sure every word is crystal clear and can be heard by the audience ( ladies, this will also keep your face in great shape, so you will never have to go on 'Ten Years Younger' . I am actually 108, but I don't look it....

Monday, 3 December 2012

On and On I Go (still!)

So, onwards and upwards, this time to Hillcross ( very nifty Beatles mug, thanks!) and Abbotsbury. We talked about the various reasons why people ( and sometimes whole communities) have to move on, sometimes with no choice.
We thought about the people in the UK who have been flooded out and may not be back in their homes for many months. It certainly makes me appreciate the simple things in life - like a good cup of HOT tea!!
Facing an unknown future must be very frightening. Our classrooms in Merton are filled with children from all over the world, whose families have made brave journeys in search of a bright future. What do you think you would miss most, if you had to 'move on?'

Is The Tea Getting Hotter?!

Yes, I do believe the tea in Merton is definitely getting hotter! Cup 8 at SS Peter and Paul was so hot I had to call for help!

Cups 9 at Links and 10 at Merton Park have also gone down very nicely and I'm sure all this drinking is improving my voice! Actually, keeping up fluid levels ( ideally with water) is an important way of looking after your larynx and those 2 precious vocal folds. So, Soo says 'Love your larynx!'

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Cups 6 and 7 - going down nicely thanks!

My Journey continues with excellent visits to Beecholme and William Morris, where I was made to feel very welcome. Our warm up ( from the Sing Up website) 'Ain't gonna let nobody turn me around' is an American civil rights song. We used it to move L and R to the groove, keeping the pulse steady. In the next workshop I'll add the harmony lines, so it really rocks!

Cups of tea numbers 6 and 7 were lovely, too!

Monday, 12 November 2012

STOP 4 - raining!

STOP 4 and I've just come from Stanford. Finished Cup No 5 in a really COOL mug! We talked about how we might feel about beginning the project - excited but also scared! Remember Pete's favourite saying 'Don't practice til you get it right, practice until you CAN'T get it wrong'.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

DAY 3 - On and On I go...

Day 3 and I'm just back from Malmesbury where Year 6 rock! We took lots of care about making the beginnings and ends of words clear and neat - the whole year group sounds awesome. Thanks to the 'ushers', song leaders, the 'clever-clogs' who knew about the larynx and for all who helped me finish Cup of Tea number 4 - Hoorah! Listen to Y6 chant and sing...

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Day Two, Part Two...

From Liberty I went onto Bond school, to meet their fabulous singers, who can certainly move to the groove! We practised keeping the pulse steady, marking it on our knees , then moving to the groove, so the movement becomes part of the music. Even more importantly I finished HOT cup of tea number 3!

Day 2 - The Journey Continues...

This morning I visited Y5 from Liberty school, to teach them the first song 'On and On'. They sound pretty good already! We talked a lot about facial expression and making the right shape (e.g. ooo, eee or yaah) in order to make the right sound comfortably at the right pitch. Here's a pic of their 'questioning' face, using the singer's secret weapon - EYEBROWS! I also finished my second cup of HOT tea - Hoorah!

Monday, 5 November 2012

The Journey to the RAH Begins!

STOP 1 on my much-anticipated journey to The Royal Albert Hall began today at St Teresa's RC Primary School. A lovely group of KS2 pupils sang very well as they tackled our first song 'Where to Now?' I also finished a cup of tea whilst it was still HOT!!!

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

The Journey Begins!

Great first session yesterday with students from 5 Merton Secondary schools: Ricards Lodge (thanks for hosting!), St Mark's CE Academy, Raynes Park, Harris Academy and Bishopsford. Around 100 young singers rehearsed 3 songs from The Journey with composer Pete Churchill...and it sounded pretty good!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Hand in Hand The Movie...

What were you doing on Tuesday afternoon? Finishing up your reports? Meeting with colleagues? Watching a spot of tennis? Well, this is what I was doing...proof that a lifetime of work in education has taken its toll.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Rap Rehearsal

Here is a clip of the Merton Young Voices as we rehearse the first rap section of Hand in Hand. We're working to get the words clear and rhythmically accurate. It's also the first audioboo I've posted up all by myself!

Friday, 22 June 2012

Backing track for Merton's song to encourage and inspire.

I'm learning how to use Audioboo, a great way to share short audio clips! We now have an MMF account and I'll be using it lots as our new projects develop. Here's the backing track to Hand in Hand, with some of the backing vocals in the mix. And here is the backing track with no vocals or BVs - enjoy!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Sing Up

Very useful meeting with Sound Connections yesterday on the development of Sing Up. Lots of new material and training coming soon. If you haven't signed up yet go to   The subscription rates are really good value. The power of singing can't be underestimated, as neatly demonstarted by our wonderful Merton children at the Royal Albert Hall last year.

Here are a couple of photos from the recording of Hand in Hand, taken at Crown Lane Studio. L-R Phil, Soo and John, Jessica, Mia and Beeta. We had a great morning ( and I even managed to fit in a Sing Outside session with Young Song Leaders at Dundonald Park! It's all go at MMF...

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

"Hand in Hand" - a song to celebrate!

This is the winning song that  London Borough of Merton have chosen to celebrate the summer of 2012. It was written by Merton pupils Mia, Beeta and Jessica from The Priory and SS Peter and Paul, in collaboration with the Merton Music Foundation. Have a listen - I guarantee you will love it!

Monday, 18 June 2012

"The Journey" - exciting Autumn project!!!

Spent a very happy hour yesterday watching the DVD of Pete Churchill's The Journey, performed at the RAH in 2009. Can't wait to get started on its revival as MMF's major choral project this coming year!

Click on the follwing youtube links for a flavour of this outstanding work...
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Friday, 15 June 2012

An Olympic song for Merton!

Just listened to the first mix of 'Hand in Hand', Merton's Song to Encourage and Inspire - great work from Mia, Beeta (The Priory) and Jessica (SS Peter and Paul)! MMF had nearly 60 entries for our song-writing competiton from 12 Merton primary schools. The 2 winning entries were developed with the girls, using musical expertise provided by Phil Merriman, then recorded at Crown Lane Studio. Final result will be with you very soon - I guarantee it will have you singing along within minutes!

This is my first attempt at blogging. Stick with me to find out more about this incredible song!