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It's Worth Mentioning

International Women's Day. A Celebration of women talking and working.

This is a photo of myself and Mary, Chair of Harbour Lights Community Choir, discussing things! Which we do all the time. There is a fantastic team of people on our committee, but I think it was initially down to the conversations between myself and Mary when it came to deciding to keep the Choir going throughout Lockdown and really growing the feeling of community within our community choir. It's nice to take a moment to recognise that we did it. Our choir, thanks to everyone involved, has grown and developed since then and continues to be so much fun and means a lot to me and everyone involved.

Women quietly talking about things - and making it a bit louder in their actions - changes things. I want to share another small but significant success that will hopefully lead to a larger one, with your help.

Again during the quieter times of 2021 (remember them?) I decided to have a proper look at the Trinity Guildhall Syllabus that I had been teaching for 15 years. I went through the grade system myself and have to confess that the discipline was extremely useful, and has proved so for many of my students. BUT: every single one of the songs I sang was by a dead white male.

Fantastic songs, inspiring and uplifting, but not representative of the world and not fair. It hasn't changed much in the last 40 years - new songs, but same bias. So I started a wee marble rolling, through Twitter, asking for alternative suggestions composed by women and people of colour, rolled it on to my former and current students and through social media, and compiled a small list to challenge Trinity, as I knew they would be reviewing their syllabus, published this week. Guess what? To their credit, they listened and they also contacted other sources for more help, and there is a start now..... particularly in the Musical Theatre section. But I am 57 and younger people who know more about current composers - and specifically songs that would make good showpiece songs for Recitals and Grade Exams - need to step up and keep up the pressure. I believe Trinity are going to add to their lists on a rolling pattern as suitable material is assessed, so there is no excuse! If you want to help, send me a message and I'll point you in the right direction.

I know it makes a real difference. One composer known to me, Ella Jarman-Pinto, is delighted she has been selected and features in their newest Grade 8 publication and it is profoundly well-deserved. Check out her beautiful music. - late edit, the song was played on radio 3 this morning apparently!

Women - people - quietly thinking and talking about things makes a difference. Polite demands for change sometimes work! So does shouting loud, so don't stop doing that either!

One last paragraph, as I seem to be patting myself on the back (an extremely awkward thing for me to do, in very many ways since my shoulder injury!). The last fortnight has been quite gratifying. The above news made me happy, but I also got a few requests which made me pleased to be asked, even though I couldn't fulfil most of them. Two people invited me to perform (I don't have a band on the go at the moment sadly), someone asked me to lead a choir, and a couple of workshop requests came in which I can schedule. I'm just about as busy as I can manage, and the work is varied and interesting, and what more can you ask?

I'll carry on quietly doing my thing.

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