I’ve been in NZ now for nine months, which is nine months too long away from my beloved, who is still in Sydney. I came here in April to spend time with my dear friend Fane before he passed (Fane died on June 17, 2021), then stayed on to work —until lockdown happened — and now I’m in the process of selling my lovely 1910 Napier villa. Then I’ll be back to Sydney – but things in Sydney have changed: Jann & I no longer have our Coogee apartment, and given the taboo against singing and dancing I don’t have a gig —  so who knows where we’ll live? and who knows when I’ll be running vocal workshops again?
     So here I am in a charmingly airy and light little studio in the villa, watching circumstances unfold, writing music, trying to make sense of everything, missing Fane and missing Jann. In the meantime, I press on with Zoom sessions and with Patreon which has proved very stimulating and rewarding.
     Since I started on this platform 18 months ago, Patreon has provided me new opportunities to delve deeper into, and to expand on, the music I love, and to find a home for some rare and precious musical treasures: field recordings I have made in Demopolis, Alabama, or Memphis, Tennessee, for instance, or hard-to-find gospel 45s; live cuts from the many projects I’ve been involved in, like Fane Flaws ’ great Napier band No Engine or NZ’s premier soul band, Rough Justice, demos, out-takes, and experimental recordings that reveal the extent to which I dote on Stockhausen and Eno. As well, in undertaking to provide monthly scores and Zoom tutorials, I’m inspired to find new repertoire and fine-tune existing arrangements.
     My musicological leanings also find a home in my Zoom seminars/rants about various aspects of the music I love— for instance, how gospel and jazz have intersected, or the influence of gospel composer Kenneth Morris, or the importance of the Alabama gospel music tradition. I’ve taken virtual gospel tours online to Memphis, Chicago and New Orleans, and I’ve moderated several Zoom sessions on choir directing. In future Zoom sessions, more choir directing discussions are bound to occur, plus I plan to take you to New York and Birmingham, Alabama on virtual gospel tours, look at women who sing low and men who sing high, discuss vocal improvisation and so on.
    So the Patreon trip has made my creative life broader and richer, and I’m hoping my endeavours do the same for you. I wish all the best for 2022!

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