Happy New Year!

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So it’s time to get back in the saddle and start paying attention to the outside world again. I hope you have all had a restful break over the holiday season, with the balance of fellowship and quiet time that best suits your personality. For myself, I can’t remember the last time I spent quite so many days in a row at home without working, which is a bit of an achievement. I love what I do for a living, but I had some times during 2018 when I struggled to remember what I do when I’m not doing that.

January is traditionally the moment when, along with everyone else, I’d take a moment to think about goals and new adventures for the year. I confess I’ve been finding it hard to do this year, as any process of envisaging the future bumps up against the anxieties of what will happen to my country at the end of March. I have been doing my best to ignore the news over the holidays, but from the glimpses I’ve seen, nothing in the way the country is being run looks any more realistic or competent than it did before Christmas.

Hence my big wish for this year is, possibly rather forlornly, that our government wakes up from its collective delusions in time to avoid driving us headlong into sustained and unnecessary crisis. Anything I might personally want to happen is so dwarfed, and indeed, framed by that context that it feels somewhat futile doing big-picture dreaming until April when we know what kind of world we’ll be living in.

In the meantime, it is a good moment to remind ourselves of Steven Covey’s distinction between circle of concern and circle of influence, and save out sanity by exerting such control as we can over the things we can affect.

I have a goodly stack of new arrangement commissions to get my teeth into this year, and an even more generous pile of past arrangements now coming available through Sheet Music Plus, so will be steadily increasing my list of off-the-shelf charts over the next couple of months. The coaching schedule is currently looking a bit less busy than last year’s, which given the amount of arranging stacking up is probably something to be grateful for, at least for now.

(Don’t let that stop you getting in touch if you were thinking of making a booking! But if you don’t, I’m going to enjoy the luxury of some extra time at home.)

And of course the adventure with the Telfordaires continues from next week. I feel very fortunate to have found a chorus with such a warm and supportive culture. You know you’ve bonded with a choir when you find that just seeing the familiar faces starts taking you into that happy musical bit of your brain where the outside world recedes and your consciousness is taken over by harmonic pleasure. A bit like eating chocolate, except you feel better rather than worse if you binge on it.

And on that note, it is time to wish you all a happy and healthy new year, with plentiful experiences that feel like magic unfattening chocolate.

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