Happy Cliff Burton day

Retro edition of Kerrang! magazine from 1988

Today would have been the 59th birthday of legendary Metallica bass player, Clifford Lee Burton.

Cliff tragically lost his life on 27 September 1986, aged only 24 years, in a bus crash in Sweden while Metallica were promoting their Master of Puppets album. I once had a poor quality bootleg recording of his final concert at the Solnahallen Arena in Stockholm, Sweden on 26 September 1986.

I’ll be spending the day listening to the first three Metallica albums, Kill ‘Em All, Ride the Lightning, and Master of Puppets as well as various early live recordings.

Happy Cliff Burton Day!

NYCGB Alumni Christmas song

This has been the year for lockdown choirs and following the success of the National Youth Choir alumni’s Shenandoah project in June, we geared up in the autumn to produce something in time for Christmas.

Arranged by Louise Clare Marshall (whom many will have watched bringing in the new year last night on Jools Holland’s Annual Hootenanny), we held sectional rehearsals on Zoom in early November and videos were submitted during the final week of November, leaving about one month for our team of technicians to edit and mix the audio and video.

The video launched on Christmas Eve and, remarkably, we were featured at the end of the BBC News broadcasts that evening!

I’m so proud of what we have achieved. It’s not the same as standing in the same space and making music together but I’ll take it over nothing.

Thank you to all who were involved. To Louise, the section leaders, everyone who got involved, our wonderful team of audio and video engineers, and the rest of the NYCGB Alumni Champions Committee—some of my dearest friends in all the world.

Enjoy! And see if you can spot me on the video.

Shenandoah by NYCGB Alumni lockdown virtual choir

Over the last two months, I have been involved in a project with the NYCGB Alumni to record one of our favourite pieces, the American folk song “Shenandoah” arranged by James Erb.

We asked 404 (or so) singers to video their part of the piece, singing along to a backing track created by the tremendous Will Dawes. Then we had a technical team piece it all together, Ben worked on the audio, Tom on the video.

We thought we started this because we wanted to have some fun. We thought that we could possibly use it as a fundraiser or to encourage more people to take up singing but then we realised:

• We did it because we love singing.
• We did it because we love our alumni family.
• We did it because we love this piece of music.

I hope you love it too.

Feel free to share it far and wide.