Singing is living

I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t sing. My earliest memories include singing nursery rhymes with my mother when I was four. I’m not sure when I learnt Polly Garter’s song from Under Milk Wood, but it was definitely after I left the local church choir. That was in 1954, which I now know was the year Under Milk Wood. My somewhat puritanical father had finally agreed that choir was not compulsory for my older brother, which gave me an excuse to leave, too. I was grateful to Dave, because pop music — my mother’s songs from her Welsh and operatic upbringing seemed so much more attractive.

At Cheltenham Grammar School, I was always in the school choir, singing in all four of the usual choral voices as my voice broke and matured, and four musical stage shows. University introduced me to the 1960’s folk singing revival and a mini career as a folk singer afterwards. From the 1970’s onwards there have been very few years when I haven’t sung in at least one stage musical.  More recently, the number of musicals has decreased, and the number of song lyrics I’ve written has increased.

Therapeutic singing
A big relaxation during my working years was singing with a choir, both here and in America, enjoying both the music and the cameraderie. So when I contracted cancer, one of the few resultant benefits was the support of Maggie’s Cancer Care centre in Cheltenham, especially the weekly meetings of its choir.

Singing with a group with whom I had so much in common proved an uplifting and cheery experience. The greatest highlight is singing with Maggie’s Choir at a fund raiser for Maggie’s in May, after singing my own new lyrics for Danny Boy. . .  16 June 2018

Writing songs
Learning the words of songs you wrote yourself is harder than learning someone else’s. At least, it is for me–I keep wanting to make improvements. But the five I’m singing next Saturday are set in stone as from today. . .   3 March 2015

Music men put GCHQ and Cheltenham spin on music hall favourite ‘Maybe It’s Because I’m a Londoner’ and other classic songs Gloucestershire Echo  February 2015

Two former Gloucestershire schoolboys have put a Cheltenham spin on well-known tunes. Howard Timms and Roger Turner were at school together at Gloucester Road Junior and Cheltenham Grammar schools and are bringing their own brand of music and humour to The Playhouse in Bath Road, Cheltenham.

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