Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Another Workshop - from the Spooky Meister himself

Recently received from the Spooky Meister

"hi folks

if you're interested, the spookmeister stephen taberner (that's me) is running a weekend singing workshop from oct 7 to 9 at maddy prior's barn in cumbria.

I'll do a little bit of everything from my singing world: spooky biz, body percussion, blending, some epic arrangements and sly originals, a few classic pacific songs. it should be fairly awesome.

it's £150 and runs from friday afternoon to sunday afternoon. there's no real skill level required, though it would be good if you can hold a part along with others who are singing it. accomodation is not included, lunches and dinners are.

see http://www.maddyprior.co.uk

conceivably, maybe, see you there

me (stephen) the spookmeister"

Contact taberner@tpg.com.au for more info

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Local Overtone singing workshop

An interesting proposition that has been brought to our attention by one of our Blokedom, Dr Sweeney. Being always interested in knowing how we might better ourself we thought we should share.

"Dear Blokes, This comes from a lovely man who can do truly incredible things with his noise making organs. I am booked on to the day course and thought others may enjoy it too."

Hello everybody,

LightGarden is offering for you to learn the weird and wonderful technique of overtone singing. Honestly: it's just a knack!

We are often asked, whether you would need to be able to sing. The answer is, somehow the opposite: the main noise you are going to produce whilst overtone singing sounds more like a duck or a frog trying to sing.

This course will take you on a journey to make strange noises, which you would not consider to be pretty. This will establish the "fundamental", the note that will then be (by a simple knack) split into its harmonics, or so to speak into it's rainbow spectrum: that will sound pretty!

We offer a step-by-step learning approach, a mix of techniques to try out, and intuitive learning. So far everybody in our courses has "got it": the beginnings of producing overtones.

We are teaching two different
styles, both suitable for home practise and gentle on the voice. We do not teach the deep growls, that can damage your vocal chords - we leave this to other experts and Mongolian shepherds.....From there you can take it home and keep on enjoying making strange noises. Our body is so clever to incorporate this new ability and develop it over time - through practice.

Because of different demands and time commitments we have decided to offer two different courses:

- One weekend course (a full day on Saturday, 8th October)


- a Friday night course, split into three sessions (7th, 14th and 21st October). These will also be our last courses for this year.

Please help us to make it happen and tell us, whether you are interested. These courses are not established yet, so please don't just turn up on the day.

We can always discuss money arrangements (installments for
example). A booking is made, once you have sent us a deposit of £10 before the 10th September.

in summary:

Overtone singing workshops THE HARMONIC VOICE

with LightGarden: David Moss and Masha Kastner

Deposit of £10 by 10th September, please

Saturday, 8th October: one day workshop 11am - 5pm, £45

Fridays, 7th, 14th and 21st October: evening classes 7pm - 9pm, all
for £47

at Quakers Meeting House, Bradford-on-Avon

See Google and Wikipedia or the Lightgarden Facebook page for more enlightenment

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Where were you when wearing - Tokyo?

Stuart at Tokyo station

An impressive entry from Stuart or a very impressive use of Photoshop (or similar digital photo editing tool).

Allegedly he claims to be in Tokyo, no less, which he would have us believe is beyond North Wiltshire and even further than Padstow.

Scoring is as follows:

1. The Location - 4 (pretty impressive, if true)

2. The Pose(s) - 3.5 (if he could have combined the pompousnessossity of the 2nd photo with the location of the 1st it would have scored higher)

3. The X-Factor - 4 - it has yet to be divulged exactly what he was doing there, but we are awaiting an explanation.

Making 11.5 - pretty good score.

Can anyone beat this for pointless grandure and location all in the one photo?

Sunday, 7 August 2011

The Spooky Men's Chorale in Ashton Keynes 2011

Photos from a day where we were thrashed at softball by our guests, despite having crippled several of them. And memories of a great night's singing from the Spookies. Does anybody have any more pictures from the evening?










Saturday, 6 August 2011

Where were you when wearing?

Announcing our very own T-Shirt Competition!

Thanks to Chris and the T-Shirt Inner Circle Working Party we now have some Magnificent T-Shirts to wear with pride around the place whenever the opportunity arises (and some times when it doesn't).

So, what better idea than encouraging this sort of behaviour by holding our very own T-shirt competition? All you have to do is take a picture of someone wearing The Magnificent AK47 T-shirt somewhere, preferably with some indication of where you are as proof.

Points will be awarded accordingly for the following categories

1. The Location - the more "interesting" the better
2. The Pose - the more pompously grand the better
3. The X-Factor - the more silly, amusing, impressive, most amount of people involved, most posed the better, most embarrassing for your kids/spouse/yourself

Scoring will be 1 to 5 points per category, ranging from 1 for "Oh dear!" to 5 for "Wow!" and various ratings in between.

As an example, here is our first entry. Ok on the location and good use of signage as proof, could be more pompously grand, was quite embarrassing for some of the kids although the others thought it was "kind of coool" so probably adding up to around an 8 or 9 = Could do better. So, can you??

This is not a "Wet T-Shirt" competition so keep it clean, this is a family show.

It's just a bit of fun so there aren't really any apart from The Judge's decision is final!

We look forward to seeing some excuses for lowering the tone on family holidays with some classic embarrassing Dad etc. Magic Man Moments.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Spooky Men's Blog 2011

Day 10: Spooky Cakes and Spooky Ales

by The Spooky Men's Chorale on Monday, 25 July 2011 at 17:21

Reposted here

Call time was 1pm at the residence of Jon Price, leaving us lots of time to explore Oxford. I was lucky enough to get a driving tour of the various colleges by my billet host, and the buildings around Oxford were extraordinary. It was simple enough to get to our meeting point from the centre of Oxford, especially as Stephen had sent us all a helpful text with the address and which bus route to take. Naturally I had managed to lose my phone charger days before and thus was relying on a fairly sporadic memory bank to get me there. Fortunately I ran into John McNaul (there is no way I spelt that correctly) and he pointed me towards the right bus. After asking the driver for a ticket to “Mere Street or something” I realised I had no idea what number house it was... After two or three not-so-successful attempts I found the right house. Somehow I was early, so I enjoyed a nice cup of tea and a chat with Jon and Barbara. The other Spookies trickled in over time until we were all present at 1pm. Ish. Before we headed off the Price household was granted with a coveted Spooky Canvas Print to show our appreciation for their wonderful hospitality and help in organising everything the day before. Then we set off for Ashton Keynes.

It was a nice, short trip. We arrived at the local school at around 3, and I don’t think I have ever had a warmer welcome – including my own birth. The all-men choir of the area – AK47, run by our Chris Samuels – were there with a large portion of other Spookophiles who were present at the last Spooky UK Tour. A barbeque was thrown together (fortunately by an Australian), RIDICULOUSLY good brownies and scones were available for decimation in the school hall, and a game of rounders/softball was being set up on the school oval. After eating roughly double our body weight each, The Spookies and AK47-and-villagers moved over to the oval for a bloody game of softball. And bloody it was. Clearly the locals’ plan was to disable as many members of the Spooky Men as possible. They succeeded. Before long, at least three Spooky Men had lost the full use of their fingers and our Spookmeister was sitting on the sideline with an icepack on his knee. I have no idea how he managed to do so. He was playing catcher – the position in softball that moves the least out of anyone. But this did not stop him. He bravely stood up to bat, then threw himself on Robin’s back and let him do the running. I managed to repay some of the injury caused to our team by hitting an 8-year-old in the head with a ball. Unintentionally, of course... And Chris managed to almost kill one of the AK47s by belting the ball straight into their stomach. Fighting fire with fire. Before long it became apparent that something called an annihilation was taking place. The Spooks were up 27-3 (huzzuh!), so we decided to drop the rules and just have some fun.

After the barbeque it was time to get ready for the gig. At the same time we seemed to be having some issues with the bus. It was out of battery. Some of the Spooks gave it a good push, but even then it had some trouble starting. Later it turned out that Chris had actually forgotten to turn on the ignition during the push start. It also turned out that my performance blacks were in the bus and the bus wasn’t coming back. A chase ensued.

Upon arriving at the Church – where we were singing – we were in for a pleasant treat. The people of Ashton Keynes had actually brewed two different ales especially for the Spooky Men: Magnificent Ale and Spooky Ale. They were legendary. And just to top it off, there were specially made beer glasses inscribed with “The Spooky Men’s Chorale: Ashton Keynes 2011”. It was a beautiful thing.

After sampling the two ales several times we thought it would be a good idea to sing at some stage. The crowd was being warmed up by Kate Rowe and singing along with vigour. It was a brilliant gig. It was quite a small venue, but really nice and intimate. We sang acoustically, and it made a great sound. In the interval we went out and sampled some more of the ale, and also had a chat to the audience. And sampled some more ale. The second half was just as nice to sing in, but this time we brought up AK47 to sing with us for ‘Concrete’ and ‘Satisfaction’. It went brilliantly, and we decided to confuse Stephen by inviting one of the members of AK47 to take over Neville’s solo halfway through. The Spookies then finished with Dancing Queen as an encore.

Only a couple of days previously one of the local pubs was taken over by three local couples in a hope to create a really good pub in the village. That night it just so happened to be open, so all the Spooky Men, AK47s and many of the villagers invaded the pub for the night. We sang and drank boisterously and completely ruined our voices. Then the Spooky Men created several “Bass Sandwiches”. This is basically created with one person (normally female) surrounded by about ten men singing an impressive chord. It was a lovely thing to behold.

The pub stopped serving at midnight, unfortunately, so we moved on to one of the local’s houses to continue socialising. It was there that we finally plucked up the courage to cut the Spooky cake. It took less courage to eat it. It was a brilliant night with an awesome support group. Fortunately the next day is a day off. IN A SPA. It is going to be a good one.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Village Newsletter - 2011 06 June

Taken from the August entry to the Ashton Keynes Village Newsletter

June was certainly an eventful month for our intrepid Blokes, being quite literally full of events! It began early just before June got started when we had one of our infamous Flying Solo sessions when we attempt to rehearse material without our leader Choirmeister Chris Samuel. Previously these sessions have had mixed results ranging from the sublime to the sonically “challenging” as those intentionally tricky harmonies have proved just a little too much when not adequately directed, but we seem to have got the hang of things now. We made a great deal of progress, in particular some of the Blokes taking up conducting duties for the first time in their singing careers.

The following week we held our regular workshop session with Choirmeister Chris and managed to hone some more material and even got the stomping right in Satisfaction without anyone falling over because they started on the wrong foot. The session was topped off by a run through of Big Spender with some of the Siren Sisters conducted by Graham Loveday. Then it was off to the Open Mic night in The White Hart and some hearty renditions of Concrete, Haul Away Joe and a very heartfelt Tsmidao.

The Ashton Keynes Music Festival was looming and a very important moment for the Blokes, our first actual public performance without Chris conducting us, which made for a very nervous moment too. As we gathered together in one of the classrooms it made for a very strange site with a dozen and a half burly blokes all dressed in black apart from their lurid Caribbean shirts singing a Georgian hymn in a room full of tiny chairs and tables – but the last minute bonding paid off with a storming show. Right from the off the audience did not know quite what they were witnessing as Neil Burston introduced us and explained why were flying solo whilst the rest of the blokes did some very loud and distracting limbering up exercises.

The show continued at a tremendous pace with introductions from Big Mike Grier, resplendent in Georgian gangster outfit, and then conducting duties were handed over to Martin Hawes, one of our contingent from out of town, who ably lead proceedings until his over enthusiastic conducting caused the penguin attached to his arm to dislodge itself – you really needed to be there to witness this and Andrew Levens' wooden leg and Jon Hughes' pirate ship – an unforgettable spectacle!

The final moment came during the mass encore when the blokes subverted the proceedings by performing their two lines of “I'd like to teach the world to sing” in deep Georgian style whilst holding Cocoa Cola bottles – quite a contrast to say the least and an interesting end to a very emotional evening.

However, our valiant sonic voyagers did not have long to recover as we returned to the Festival Marquee which saw our very first, ramshackle public performance just over three years ago. Yet again we marched into the tent and then to the amazement of assembled masses we started to wander around the tent, singing as we went with consummate style until Chris forgot the words to the chant he was leading! Recovering well he managed to get us on the stage for some more hearty renditions in a strong set that included a blistering version of “(I can't get no) Satisfaction featuring Lars Frimert in particularly fine voice and benefitting from the opportunity to unburden himself in front of several hundred people. We ended with a now traditional audience participatory number, Down to the River to Pray and headed off for a well earned rest.

However, we couldn't relax for long as we had a final engagement for the month at the Corsham Fringe Festival performing in St Bartholomew's Church in that lovely town. Despite it being foul weather the Blokes put in a fantastic performance, possibly one of our best yet judging by the audience reaction and the recording of the event. Afterwards we had yet another special Magic Man Moment when a lady in the pub spotting that we were clearly all dressed alike and somehow part of some group ended up asking us to sing her a song. We had the perfect piece for her being as she told us she was “a Capricorn called Beverly”, and sang a superb conversation stopping version of Tsmidao, a fantastic moment to cap off a very busy month.

Hopefully by the time you read this many of you will have attended the concert in Holy Cross Church being given by our inspiration The Spooky Men's Chorale and a memorable event it is likely to be.

Come and join us

Suitably inspired from our various performances and the Spooky Men' s Chorale, if you are a Bloke who might like to join in the mixture of heartfelt lyrics, (intentionally) “tricky” harmonies, occasional beer and magnificent silliness, then to find out more about “The Magnificent AK47” from http://themagnificentak47.blogspot.com or email us.

Forthcoming dates

At time of going to press, current plans for rehearsal dates in the Ashton Keynes School Hall, 5-7pm unless stated otherwise:


Sunday 7th Aug 5-7pm - Flying Solo + more official Pow Wow, aka AGM?

At the new & improved White Hart

A bit of a sing then a more formal discussion about things

Possibly stay on for Open Mic

then a bit of time off for good behaviour until

Sunday 4th September 5-7pm - Flying Solo

At the new & continually improving White Hart

A bit of a sing to try to remember all our material then stay on for Open Mic

Sunday 18th September 5-7pm - Workshop with Chris

At the school hall

Sunday 2nd October 5-7pm - Workshop with Chris

At the school hall then stay on for Open Mic


Sunday 16th October St Georges, Bristol as part of the Festival of Song

More details nearer the time

More information, links to many recordings and up to date listings can be found at our regularly updated website at http://themagnificentak47.blogspot.com/


The Inner Circle
Ashton Keynes
Sing Like a Bloke Chapter
aka The Magnificent AK47

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Spooky Do 2 - Big Thank You

A VERY Big Thank You

to everyone who made Spooky Do 2 such a big success. A lot of people worked very hard to make it possible and run so smoothly so well done to all involved.

Great music, great summer's evening, great audience, great lights, great atmosphere, great pub afterwards.

A VERY Big Thank You.

P.S. We are in the process of editing the audio, photos, videos many of which can be found at our Facebook page (click here) and other places we'll tell you about when we get round to it.