Raised to the sound of a piano

Throughout my childhood and teenage years, a common theme was that often the background to whatever I was doing at home was the playing of a piano by my Dad George Robertson and sometimes by my Mum Sheila Robertson. It’s probably because of that playing that I am often drawn towards someone tinkling the ivories. I’m into smooth jazz and David Benoit playing ‘You read my mind’ (try the link below) is probably top of my list of favourites although I also love the playing of Bob James, Keiko Matsui, Joe Sample etc….

www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrBYBffdG5g

Mum liked Charlie Kunz and Russ Conway whilst Dad was often playing church-related music as he was in two church choirs in his lifetime – St. Wilfrids Kirkby-In-Ashfield and St Andrews Maghull.

I’m told that they had a piano from when they first got married and moved into 14 Orchard Road K-In-A. I think this will be that original piano just visible in the background of a photo of my October 1958 Christening:-

Later they had a beautiful ‘Baby Grand’, a Gors & Kallmann, which I’m told came from family friends Millie* & Len Rodwell. That piano followed us from Kirkby-In-Ashfield to Rochdale and then on to Maghull as Dad’s jobs for Thomas Cook took us on a Cook’s Tour of northern England. And that piano was probably the most important piece of furniture in all 3 houses. It was French Polished on one occasion and tuned a couple of times each year. I recall watching the piano tuners at work, one of whom was blind.

The Gors & Kallmann Baby Grand in Mum & Dad’s Sefton Ln Maghull house.

I never learned to play myself and whilst I don’t do regrets in life in general I’ll make an exception over this. I should have learned.

But playing music had fortunately just skipped a generation as our daughter Jen plays the flute and is a member of Maghull Wind Orchestra. She can also play the piano a little and Dad would help her learn when she was little. Then one day we were at Mum and Dad’s house and I was called in to hear Jen play one of my favourite tunes, Forever Forever by Keiko Matsui and to say I was delighted is putting it mildly.

Then as in all families, the older generation fades away and I was left to clear Mum and Dad’s Sefton Lane house in Maghull but this house had a Baby Grand to dispose of! And what a task finding a new home for it proved to be. I’d assumed that a piano in such great condition and so lovingly cared for would be snapped up. Think again, no one seemed to what it so I contacted Sefton Council’s Music Service to see they had any contacts wanting a Baby Grand piano. They did, and the piano moved to Formby in 2009 finding another loving home for another little girl learning to play.

Jen, in particular, regretted us having to let the piano go but for the same reason I had difficulty finding a new home for it (even a Baby Grand is big) we just did not have the space to keep it.

I’m grateful that I was raised to the sound of piano playing as I find listening to the likes of David Benoit so relaxing………

* Millie, I understand, was a librarian at the Children’s Library in Urban Road Kirkby-In-Ashfield

** The people in the black and white photo are George Poskith Hadley (my great grandfather), Bill Robertson (my Grandad on my Dad’s side), George Robertson (my Dad), Walter Calladine (my Grandad on my Mum’s side), Annie Calladine (my Grandmother), Sheila Robertson (my Mum holding me) and Nellie Robertson (my Grandmother). George Poskith Hadley, Bill Robertson & Nellie Robertson lived at 36 Hampden Street K-in-A. Walter and Annie Calladine lived at 31 Urban Road K-in-A.

Barry White & Love Unlimited Orchestra – Love’s theme

If you’re of a certain age this could have been the theme tune to your youth if you were into soul music in 1973:-

www.youtube.com/watch?v=0If2j-egRm8

Barry White, sometimes referred to as the poor man’s Isaac Hayes, with his only well known instrumental track which still sounds great many years on from its launch into music legend.

Just take a minute to look at all those session musicians in the orchestra. They probably earned just a few Dollars for their performance whilst White would have been cashing it in so to speak.

A piece that Maghull Wind Orchestra could take on I wonder?

Maghull Wind Orchestra play to packed out finale in Prescot

Maghull Wind Orchestra’s latest appearance at Prescot Festival turned out to be a big hit as Prescot Parish Church was packed out to hear them close out this annual festival of the arts with soprano Danielle Louise Thomas.

Click on the photo to enlarge it.

Prescot – Maghull Wind Orchestra to perform in Festival Finale

The now well established Prescot Festival runs from 21st June until 30th June this year and Maghull’s very own Wind Orchestra has been invited to perform in the finale with soprano soloist Danielle Louise.

I hear that the orchestra went down very well at Lydiate Festival recently so if you want to hear them you know where to go – a quick trip down the M57 to Prescot on Sunday 30th June.

Maghull Wind Orchestra rock the Palm House yet again

Another great concert from Maghull Wind Orchestra at Liverpool’s iconic Palm House in Sefton Park yesterday. The place was packed out; here’s a couple of shots of the concert:-

I think it fair to say that the audience was delighted with the performance but not necessarily, somewhat bizarrely, with the venue’s convenience or should I say inconvenience arrangements. The toilets were out of bounds to those attending the concert and a walk of some 5 minutes, for a fit person, was required through the park to another set of toilets where the gents were out of order anyway! How odd, the notices did not say the toilets were out of order at the Palm House, indeed they seemed to be in use for catering staff if I understood correctly. I’ve been there many times and never have I seen the toilets out of bounds before. Frankly, with many elderly people in the audience or considering that the weather could have turned foul at any moment in February the ‘facilities’ needed to be open. Even the orchestra members had to run for the other toilets at half time! I wonder what the trouble was all about?

Click on the photos to enlarge them

The lead photo is also amongst my Flickr shots at:-

www.flickr.com/photos/86659476@N07/

Addendum – I queried the lack of toilet facilities and this is the response – Looks like a misunderstanding on the day – ‘sorry you were unable to use our toilets, this shouldn’t have been the case and that this spoilt enjoyment of both the Palm House and our free Sunday Concert.

We do provide toilets facilities at the Palm House specifically for our visitors and who those attend our events – such as you did when you came to our concert.

However, these are not public toilets for the Park and recently we had been experiencing some anti-social problems and it became necessary to put the signs up around the Palm House to try and deter this.

Anyone who has wanted to use our facilities has been able to so, or has asked a member of staff and have been directed to them. I would stress our intention has never been to stop our visitors using the toilets but only to restrict access.’

Maghull Wind Orchestra

Our very own local orchestra was today playing a Christmas concert to a packed house at Sefton Park’s wonderful Palm House

What’s more, they got a standing ovation. Their concerts seem to go from strength to strength as their reputation spreads far and wide. well done yet again Maghull Wind Orchestra.