News

Monday 1st June 2020

If you are visiting this web-site for the first time, a very warm welcome; and for those of you who are 'old hands' welcome back! I hope you will enjoy having a look around.

Newish on the Radio page is a setting of the piece Blue Is the Sky on Radio Solent on 26th January to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. And newish on the Remembrance page is the composition End of the Tears, written for and played at the Rowans Hospice 25th anniversary service in Portsmouth Cathedral last November. As we have done before you have an opportunity to listen to the solo piano track as well as a beautiful orchestration by John Daniels.

On a sweltering afternoon it is hard to believe that I last wrote here on the anniversary of VE Day. We have been enjoying some amazing Summer weather even though it has only been Spring - I'm not sure that it has been a good thing as far as social distancing etc is concerned but it has certainly lifted spirits. I know of elderly people in my home village who have been out today for the first time in twelve weeks. These have been extraordinary times, haven't they, and I hope those of you who are reading this are not suffering too much. There are so many implications to this pandemic. For the moment all we can do is continue to do as we are told and take all the necessary precautions, and look out for others. If you are struggling with self-isolation I hope you may take comfort from some tips by round the world yachtswoman Dee Caffari (who lives in my home village and whom I have had the pleasure of interviewing for Talking News) that appeared in our local paper, the Portsmouth News, back in March. As someone used to spending 24/7 alone here are just five of Dee's tips - focus on what you can control and not to waste energy worrying about things that are outside of your control; be grateful for the things in your life that you have or can do (focussing on the good will have a positive effect on your mental health); look for the opportunities and be creative; accept that we must adapt to the new environment we are living in; remember you are not alone. Many are already experiencing much hardship, yet with it has come the most amazing community spirit. The Portsmouth News continues to publish many articles on wonderful things that people are doing. So, try and keep cheerful and keep up your spirits. And in the words of Captain Tom Moore, "The sun will shine again."

On Saturday afternoon we remembered one of the Chaplains, and a colleague on the Chaplaincy team at Portsmouth's large hospital, Queen Alexandra, whose funeral took place in Worthing - he had died several weeks ago from a short illness Covid-19 related. Even though he had only been in the post for around twelve months he had become a much loved and valued member of the team. RIP. He is remembered with enormous affection. I am missing my Wednesday duties as Chaplains' Assistant (understandably they had to be suspended, but I will not hesitate if the department should become overwhelmed and I am asked to go in) but for Talking News we are able to record at home, with weekly recordings going out online.

During the lockdown period I was enjoying the 'peace' - little traffic, no aircraft, uncrowded pavements...! I also felt we were being kinder and more respectful towards each other - rather akin to the continental attitude where people tend to put others first. I hope that lessons may be learnt as we try and resume a 'normal' life - in whatever form.

John (Daniels) and I very much hope that our music may be bringing many of you comfort and strength at these extraordinarily challenging and difficult times.

Apart from the postponed cruise I am taking time out from performing but continue to write, though mostly for pleasure. John and I have been working on some arrangements of worship songs that have enormous meaning and that I have been wanting to record for some time - we have put three below - simply click on a title and listen - I hope you like what we have done!

I always value and enjoy too playing as part of the worship group at Shoreline Church, a community church is Stubbington, which celebrated its 20th anniversary and moved to a new venue, the Crofton Hall at Stubbington Community Centre, last year. More details at https://www.shorelinechristianchurch.com (type in your browser) where you can find links to the online church during this current crisis.

My music, and that with John Daniels, continues to touch many hearts - and is especially poignant at times of sadness and loss and for reconciliation purposes. It seems to have a capacity to bring people together, and this ties in with a comment from one of the vergers at Peterborough Cathedral a couple of years ago that meant a lot to me. The cathedral is used to holding more formal lunchtime concerts during the summer months, but he said that some of them can be a bit highbrow and described my music as being 'inclusive rather than exclusive' - appealing to a wide range of tastes. I took what he said very much to heart and would hope that my music always serves to draw people in rather than turn them away.

And it is always heartening, and humbling too, for both John and I, to receive and read your correspondence. Thank you so much. I would like to share one of the messages with you and have put it on the Reviews page. It is from a lady who has heard me in Norwich Cathedral, and I am grateful for her kind permission to reproduce it, anonymously.

On the Radio page are some interviews which hopefully give an insight into my life and music. For more details on Blue Is the Sky go to http://rsmithcompany.moonfruit.com/#/blue-is-the-sky/4590394637 (you will need to type it in your browser).

I am increasingly being asked where our music is available. Apart from this web-site's Online Shop, and a number of internet sites, our CDs are on sale in a number of Christian bookshops around the country. All are available through Amazon and/or to download via a number of internet sites including iTunes and CD Baby. Simply go to one of these sites and type the title and/or our names in the Search box.

My Jesus, My Saviour
Endless Hallelujah
I Will Offer up my Life

Happy listening!

Charles

Something Music Ltd