The Tailor Of Gloucester

I must apologise to you for my tardiness. Tut tut. It's Tuesday and I do like to get a song out to you by Sunday. But on Sunday I spent all day at the acoustically exquisite St John's in the Wilderness Anglican Church. In the afternoon the two groups I direct had their end of year concert. We threw in some pretty fabulous guests and it was a genuinely lovely afternoon. Then in the evening Emlyn and I sang there in a people's Messiah, hosted by the Corinthian Singers of Adelaide. What a piece of music. My favourite moment was when the conductor/MC announced that we would all sing The Trumpet Shall Sound, and several hundred people roared through that magnificent song together. 

From the afternoon concert, here are Wendy Stanton and my mum Kerry O'Regan singing Still Still Still - based on the arrangement I did two weeks ago.  I re-arranged it for these two to suit my mum's contralto voice. 

We left home around midday and got home after 9pm. It was a great day - all sorts of singers sharing all sorts of music - but it was long and it was hot (41 degrees in the city) so when I came home I didn't feel up to blogging. I was still wiped out yesterday and didn't have the vavooms for finding/writing/editing a song for you. This morning I still didn't know what to share with you for this week.

Then today on a linkedin choral group someone was looking for suggestions for their choir. The needed a piece that was secular, manageable for a community choir and that lasted 20 to 40 minutes. Luckily I had such a piece up my sleeve. I linked them to my setting of Beatrix Potter's sweet story of The Tailor Of Gloucester. 

This little piece goes for about 40 minutes. I wrote it for my unauditioned community choir Voices in the Wilderness who toured it to several primary schools and performed it publicly in the Adelaide Fringe this year. 

It's written to perform to young children and there are two songs in it that the kids learn beforehand and sing in the performance - where they play the role of the mice. The text is all Potter's (abridged slightly but all the words are hers) and I used folksong tunes from Gloucestershire as the musical themes. 

It's fun and playful and written to be accessible for the singers. There are solos for The Tailor, Simpkin and spoken narration between the songs. I wrote it to evoke 18th century music - when the story was set - and scored it for simple violin, viola and cello. My brother who is a rather versatile musician added extra texture to the score - sometimes playing guitar to evoke a continuo, sometimes drumming and adding a percussive teapot.

We staged it for the Fringe and the choir became a living set - forming an arch around the outside of the stage and holding props suitable for each scene. The choristers created the set of the tailor's shop by draping material over themselves, and converted to the tailor's kitchen by picking up teacups and teapots. This meant minimal movement and chore - a choir isn't a theatre company - but it was very effective. The narrator, the tailor and Simpkin all moved about. When we toured to schools all the children had made mouse ears for themselves.

Sheet music, rehearsal tracks, videos for the kids to learn their songs and resources for teachers can all be found here

If you want a piano reduction please let me know.