Directing Music in Mere Green

September 8, 2017

I’m very grateful to the Rector and congregation of St James’ Chuch, Hill for allowing me to come into their church community and cover the vacant post of Director of Music for a while. We had a choir practice last night and I’m playing for my first Sunday service this weekend. There’s a wonderful pipe organ, a baby grand piano, choir and all sorts going on in what is a very busy parish. Read the rest of this entry »

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2017 in review

January 15, 2017

It’s only a couple of weeks old, so it’s probably harsh to try reviewing 2017 already, but I know there are a couple of things coming up I wanted to muse on, so here goes.

[tl:dr Reflections on stuff that’s coming up, a couple of name drops and a quick delve through recent events. Normal service continues sometime soonish.] Read the rest of this entry »


Ales Beers and Carols

November 1, 2016

We’re going carolling in pubs again. It’s another glorious romp around some excellent ale houses with a piano and a sheaf of carol sheets which seems to be an annual indulgence. I’ve just sent an order to the printers for flyers (download yours in advance here if you like) and we have more pubs than ever on the list.

general Read the rest of this entry »


Why should the Presbyterians have all the good music?

January 24, 2016

It’s been a while since I wrote about Christian music, but something this morning really made me pause and think.

Horatio Spafford is known for a few things, principally as a chum of great evangelist Dwight Moody and the writer of “It is well with my Soul” – a hymn inspired by the tragic loss of his four daughters in a shipwreck when crossing the Atlantic to holiday in England. The hymn, published by Sankey to a tune by Philip Bliss, is a standard in traditional protestant Christian churches, an inspiring message that whatever the world throws at a person God’s love and grace are sufficient to meet the challenge. It’s a hymn strong on key Christian themes, and recognised and sung across the English-speaking world.

Which is why I’m rather disappointed that Matt Redman nicked the chorus to shore up one of his recent compositions. Read the rest of this entry »


Chip off the old block

December 12, 2015

This evening the Doorknobs played another charitable gig in aid of the Aldridge Church Centre building fund, and St James’ Church Mere Green.

My role in these affairs is basically to sit at the back of the band on piano, fulfilling the time-honoured position of chord monkey (assistant chord monkey if a guitarist is present) and filling in with blistering improvisation if there are gaps to fill. Read the rest of this entry »


Just a quick thought about leadership.

March 30, 2014

This morning I was treated to a Mr Hopley sermon. These are usually well thought out, structured for ease of understanding, and often include maps and spatial or timeline elements which help to explain and educate the congregation. Mr Hopley is a well respected teacher of Humanities. You can tell.

This morning’s message concerned the end of Moses, who led the Israelites through the desert to the Promised Land, but was not permitted to enter it himself. Only one thing stuck with me from the whole sermon, and it’s this:

Leaders are human.

I hate being in charge as much as I love it. The feeling that I can do something and make a difference is quickly balanced with the responsibility which weighs on the person at the top.

So we open our Bibles (being well brought up church types) and we find (among others):

  • Noah the drunkard
  • Abraham the wanderer
  • Jacob the thief
  • Joseph the braggart
  • Moses the murderer
  • David the adulterer
  • Gideon the coward

So no matter how bad we feel about our leadership, we’re hardly the worst example. As a bloke, it can be a bit daunting to realise most of the strong assured and dependable leaders in the Bible seem to be women. Or called Jesus.

I’m really not going to get into a slanging match about women priests (bishops, archbishops, popes, whatever) but it makes me think sometimes.


Christmas at the Parish church in Aldridge.

November 24, 2013

I’m a musician on the rota of band leaders at Aldridge Parish Church. This Christmas will be one of the more intense ones for me, because I’m playing at the carol services (two of them, back to back, December 22nd evening) and the morning of December 15th. Read the rest of this entry »