Inside Amber’s of Amersham
As I drove to wards Amersham the distinctive sight of “Ambers of Amersham” came into view and I’ve got to say that this was an event I was looking forward to. The last occasion that I played the piano here was a couple of years ago and I really enjoyed the event. To call Ambers a clothes shop would be the understatement of the decade. Ambers is a centre of fashion and beauty with three large rooms of fashion, a hair studio, a beauty salon, a resident tailor, a childrens clothing department and a restaurant.
It is usually the first event of the year where I get the chance to play all the old Christmas songs and Alistair (the owner) encourages me to play jazz and swing. To play the piano at Ambers is a job made in heaven as far as I’m concerned. Not only do I get the chance to play the music I love, but I always get treated incredibly well by the owner, Mark the manager and all the rest of the staff.
The evening went very quickly and it wasn’t long before I was packing up my baby grand piano shell and all my other equipment. It took me around forty minutes to pack everything up and pack it into the car. As I drove home into the darkness couldn’t help but feel a little bit sad that it was all over. Looking on the bright side they may book me for next year.
Christmas Tree at Ambers
Here are the contact details of Ambers:
Ambers of Amersham
Tel: 01494 722471
Wedding Car at Camden Place
After my long drive from Nottingham to Chislehurst, Kent I was pleased to see the beautiful building of Cambden Place in front of me. This is the home of Chislehurst Golf Club and there were loads of people milling around. I found that the staff were very helpful, and having showed me where to set up, they carried on with their work. It didn’t take long before I had completely finished setting up all my equipment and I then took a short walk around Chislehurst Common. It was a lovely afternoon it was so nice to take in some air having spent so much time in the car over the last two days.
Camden Place, Chislehurst
The purpose of my visit to this great venue was to play the piano for another wedding, but this time I was going to be joined by vocalist David Edwards. He sings all the old jazz standards as sung by the likes of Tony Bennet, Nat King Cole, as well as songs made famous by The Rat Pack. After returning from my walk David arrived and he was pleased to see that I had set everything up. He often uses his own equipment, but on this occasion we had arranged that he should use mine.
After a short wait everyone started to enter the room where the wedding breakfast was going to take place, and we immediately started performing. We had been hired to entertain the guests through the meal and both Sarah and Paul (bride and groom) were fans of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin’s music. At first we kept the volume fairy low, but our audience seemed to like the music and started to join in singing some of the songs. Everyone seemed very appreciative and the afternoon went by very quickly.
I always enjoy working with David and this was no exception. Playing the piano for this particular wedding was a really great way to spend an afternoon. Please make sure that you visit David’s website at http://www.loungejazz.co.uk/.
I hope that Sarah and Paul had a lovely day!
Contact Details of Camden Place
Address: Camden Place, Camden Park Road, Chislehurst, Kent BR7 5HJ
Telephone: 020 8467 2782
My journey to Leicestershire hadn’t been the best and I was really pleased to get to the village of Barkby. I hadn’t really been in any traffic jams, but it was really slow going all the way. Luckily I had set off ridiculously early and I arrived with 2 hours to spare. It was now 5:30pm and I was due to start playing the piano at 7:30pm. Barkby is quite a nice place, but it isn’t very big and I’d been there a couple of times in the past. With this in mind I decided to go the nearby Queniborough and kill some time there.
At 7:10pm I arrived at Barkby Hall having had a walk around Queniborough. I was greeted with a welcoming smile by John Pochin – the owner of this magnificent residence. On my last visit I had been hired to play the piano for John Pochin’s son’s 18th birthday celebration. On this, my third visit, I had been asked to provide piano music for his 21st birthday. I didn’t need my digital piano or any other equipment as they have a lovely Steinway piano which they had just had tuned.
My first visit to Barkby was in 2011 when Simon the birthday boy was only 15. He was responsible for searching the internet and finding my website. Having listened to quite a number of the tracks, he then recommended me to his father who took his advice and booked me. On this first visit I was amazed when I found that Simon didn’t seem to like modern music very much and that he was an avid collector of 78 records. Even at the tender age of 15 he had quite a remarkable knowledge of music from the 20s, 30, and 40s. It was so nice to be playing here again and to share Simon’s love of the old jazz standards. It was also nice to be given a free rein over the music I was playing and to be able to wallow in the music I really love.
The guests started arriving at around 7:30pm and I started playing some gentle music before the room filled up. Quite a few of them recognised me from previous visits and some of them came over to the piano to speak to me. The room filled up quickly and I started to play to play music of a much livelier nature which seemed to fit the mood. The evening went well and I just engrossed myself in the music I was playing. Time seemed to fly and it didn’t seem long before guests were slowly starting to leave. It was 11:30pm already and Jayne Pochin (Simon’s) mother said that I could finish as the 20 or so people remaining were actually staying the night.
Simon seemed to have a great birthday and I do hope that they book me again on another occasion. After I’d finished I drove into the night in the direction of Oxfordshire ready for the next day’s wedding.
It was around 10am when I drove slowly into the car park at Mill Ride Golf and Country Club. I was really early, but I’d much rather have time on my hands than be late. The event that I was playing the piano for was a meeting of Ascot Round Table and they wanted music through lunch followed by a Cockney singalong. Richard Audsley met me on arrival and he was pleased to see me so early. He was organising the event and my arrival was one less worry for him.
I played loads of jazz standards, as well as some more modern songs and I even played some classical piano pieces. I then changed my clothes and dressed in fully cockney attire (Bowler hat, waistcoat, Grandad shirt, pocket watch etc.) I then handed out the song sheets and played all the old London favourites including Lambeth walk, Daisy, Knees Up Mother Brown, Don’t Dilly Dally on the Way and quite a number of others. Everyone sang with great gusto and I really felt that everyone was enjoying themselves. Let’s face it, who doesn’t enjoy a good old sing song to a pianist playing that old honky-tonk piano.
At the end of the session I packed up my gear and song sheets as quickly as I could as I had to get to Eltham for a 90th birthday party. Please see my other blog HERE