Yesterday was the most incredible day. After years of writing, playing around with wonderful little groups of brilliant musos, yesterday we found the music at the heart of The Wicker Husband.
I was utterly privileged to be in a room with a motley collection of the most outstanding, generous and creative musicians.
In a community centre in Pimlico we heard the Wicker Husband come to life through their incredible playing. The cracking of willow, the tools of the workshop, the sound of life and of magic emerged from their instruments.
The three extraordinary fiddles of Philippa Hogg, Hannah Morgan and Loren O'Dair created the sound of the willow weave; the wicker lark came to life in the tones of Loren's beautiful recorder; the rhythms of the land and of life were conjured by Ruairi Glasheen's dynamic percussion arrangements which included hitting everything from pots and pans to wicker baskets; the magic of wicker coming to life was represented by the sparkling exuberance of Jon Witten's ethereal hammer dulcimer; the sound of the village appeared magically from Josh Sneesby's playful and cheeky accordion and melodica. And everything was glued together by the sublime smoothness of Hedi's Bass.
Add to that the beautiful voices of Laura Wickham, Philippa Hogg, Josh Sneesby and Anne Marie Piazza and there wasn't alot more that a composer could ask for.
Then our captive and endlessly enthusiastic audience of our brilliant director/dramaturg Charlie Westenra and of course the indubitably talented bookwriter Mr Rhys Jennings capturing the whole event on film.
After so many years of living with these songs, it was an exceptional experience to hear them roar into life with such dynamism and skill. Keys were changed, notes were added, bars were added, the songs grew and changed and evolved beyond what I could ever have imagined and all thanks to this incredible bunch of people. There are times in life where you just feel so grateful for everything that conspired to put you in certain situations and yesterday was most definitely one of them.
I simply cannot wait to share this sound with you all when the show is finished.
Also huge thanks to all those who funded our crowdfund and to the wonderful folk at Dunedin Operatic Society whose financial support made it possible to pay these brilliant folks for some of their time. Thanks also to the brilliant Stiles & Drewe and their assistant Lettie Graham for their guidance and wonderful support in helping us create this show (two of the songs we worked on yesterday were written out in France while I was on retreat with them). And of course thanks to the wondrous folks at MMD whose endless support of new musical theatre writing has made all of this possible.