1. Several years ago I was asked to take on the role of KS 1 coordinator at school. One of the responsibilities I took on was to be responsible for the Infant Christmas performance. The first one I produced was called 'Snowman at Sunset' and I added extra bits to it to make it 'ours' (and longer!). One things I added was a song I wrote for especially that performance called 'Long, Long Ago', to be sung as the nativity tableau unfolded. Simple - very, very simple, just three verses with a chorus - but it went down quite well. I've written a number of Christmas songs over the years - the season seems to bring out something creative in me. They've never been all that fantastic or complex, just simple children's songs because that's who I work with. Children! Little children too.
2. Wind back a couple of years before then and we had a new head who was - still is - a brilliant musician. Every year she conducts massed children's choirs in places like the Royal Albert Hall and Westminster Abbey (in aid of Barnardos) and, of course, our own choir goes along. It has been a great opportunity and one of the driving factors in our school gaining the Gold Artsmark Award in recent years. I wish I had such experiences as a musical child. I have been very, very fortunate to have taught under her inspiring leadership.
3. Fast forward several years to now. Amazingly and very humblingly, 'Long, Long Ago' comes to light again and has been chosen as one of two songs that will be performed in Westminster Abbey this Christmas. And maybe, just maybe, I will be going along to accompany the massed children's choirs on the piano. I'm overwhelmed and very, very excited. It's just - oh, I don't know - amazing.
Eeeeek - a song I composed will be sung in Westminster Abbey!!!!!!!!!!!!
And I might be there too, playing the piano!!!!!!!!!!!!
Long, long ago
In the dark of the night
When the winds were blowing and the stars were shining,
A baby was born
In a manger laid
In a stable
He came to show us a better way
To live our lives from day to day
He came to show us how to love each other . . .