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FEATURING

GRAHAM SHEFFIELD IN THE CHAIR LESLEY GARRETT IN 60 SECONDS SHEILA STEWART SINGING FROM THE HEART AND SOUL

AUTUMN 2014

GERALD FINLEY SCALING THE HEIGHTS


I’m a violinist and Help Musicians UK helped me financially and emotionally when I had cancer. Your support means we can help more people like Mandhira. Help us help musicians. helpmusicians.org.uk 020 7239 9100

Help Musicians UK is the new name for the Musicians Benevolent Fund. We help musicians of all genres throughout their professional lives. Registered charity 228089.


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WELCOME We are enthusiastic about developing our services based on evidence of what musicians need. The profession is changing fast and we need to keep pace. We are planning on improving the help and advice we offer to musicians as well as focusing on health and wellbeing, which is relevant to us all, but especially to performers (see page 8). While we shall be looking for solutions to problems before they become acute, we shall, as in the past, be here when a musician needs help in a crisis. What’s new is that we’ll encourage performers to be better informed about managing a career and its phases, including planning for retirement. To achieve this ambition we need your help too. Please spread the word to musicians you know. Just as importantly, we will need more money to secure our work in future as demand

This is our first newsletter as Help Musicians UK. The start of 2014 was an important moment for our charity; we changed our name and adopted a brand new look and feel. We hope you like the name. The smart new marque serves our objectives so well. Thank you to all who’ve offered us encouragement. It’s great that feedback has been so upbeat and positive. There is one big reason for this transformation - to help us reach out to many more musicians and to make friends and supporters in all parts of the music industry; what some call the ‘Heineken principle’ reaching all the parts.

for our services grows. A big thank you to those of you who are already contributing in any way, whether that’s through volunteering, donating or raising money by running a marathon or running a gig. For those of you who would like to help, please do get in touch. We’d love to hear from you and for you to join our ‘family’. Talking of family, The Hon Richard Lyttelton retired in April as our chairman after six memorable years. As Richard stood down we welcomed Graham Sheffield CBE, Director Arts at the British Council, who will be helping us with our evolvement (see page 10). We have also recently welcomed Baroness Judith Jolly to our board whose knowledge and skills will help us no end in the context of Help and Advice. David Sulkin OBE Executive Director

CONTENTS 04

COVER PHOTO SIM CANETTY-CLARKE

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NEWS EMERGING ARTISTS

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FEATURE GERALD FINLEY SCALING THE HEIGHTS

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SURVEY HEALTH AND WELLBEING MUSICIANS SPEAK UP ABOUT STRESSES AND STRAINS

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INTERVIEW LESLEY GARRETT CBE IN 60 SECONDS

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FEATURE GRAHAM SHEFFIELD CBE IN THE CHAIR

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FEATURE SHEILA STEWART MBE SINGING FROM THE HEART AND SOUL

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FEATURE HEALTH AND WELLBEING 20 WAYS TO FEEL BETTER

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EDITOR Christine Brown DESIGN Sacha Davison Lunt CONTRIBUTORS Fiona Thompson, Keith Clarke PRINTING PDC Design & Print Using economical, recycled materials

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COPYRIGHT Help Musicians UK 2015

Help Musicians UK 7-11 Britannia Street London, WC1X 9JS 020 7239 9100 info@helpmusicians.org.uk helpmusicians.org.uk Facebook /HelpMusiciansUK Twitter @HelpMusiciansUK Registered Charity No. 228089


04 NEWS AUTUMN 2014

BACKING OPERA, MUSICAL THEATRE AND JAZZ

Our Postgraduate Awards offer much needed funding for advanced training in performance. With full-time study often costing over £20,000 a year, our support makes a crucial difference to talented postgraduates. This year, we gave £179,000 in funding to a total of 71 students from across the UK who were nominated by their colleges and auditioned by an expert panel.

We also back awards for musicians who are pursuing careers in particular genres – from opera and musical theatre to jazz. Renowned international soprano Susan Bullock CBE chaired the panel for our annual Opera Awards. Standards were exceptionally high, with 21 singers receiving support. Staying with the world of voice, the winner of the Maggie Teyte Prize was soprano Soraya Mafi, a student at the Royal College of Music International Opera School. Seven young singers and one trainee musical director were helped through our Musical Theatre Awards. “Now I can concentrate on my development as a performer, without the stress of finance,” said Charlie Lake, one of the winners. We have some fantastic jazz musicians on our roster and the Peter Whittingham Award is always a yearly highlight. Having scooped the award in 2013, saxophonist Phil Meadows went on to win ‘Jazz Newcomer of the Year’ at the Parliamentary Jazz Awards. Meanwhile the Elliot Galvin Trio, which received a Development Award at last year’s Whittingham auditions, won the prestigious European Young Artists’ Jazz Award Burghausen 2014 – following in the footsteps of previous Help Musicians UK artists Beats ‘n’ Pieces.

PHIL MEADOWS

ELLIOT GALVIN TRIO

DOUGLAS DARE

SUPPORTING THE NEXT WAVE OF MUSICIANS

In other jazz news, we’re getting behind Air Time: Jazz CPD Scotland, led by our longstanding partner, Serious. This scheme for emerging creative jazz musicians living and working in Scotland will see five artists assemble for a residential programme of creative and business development at Stirling’s Tolbooth in September.

A VITAL BOOST FOR INCREDIBLE TALENT Our Emerging Excellence Awards are another key element of our work with new artists. They’re open to groups and solo artists across all genres and allow musicians to develop new creative work which could kick start their professional careers. Douglas Dare and J P Cooper, both Emerging Excellence artists from our last round, have recently signed careerdefining record deals – Douglas Dare with forward-thinking indie label Erased Tapes, and J P Cooper with Island Records.

J P COOPER

Every year, our Talent Programme celebrates the diversity of exciting upcoming talent across all genres. Working with eminent musicians and industry experts, we identify the emerging artists who show the greatest potential. As Talent Programme Manager Tim Foxon says: “It’s always a privilege to hear the stars of the future at audition.”

SORAYA MAFI

EMERGING ARTISTS


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RUN TO THE BEAT

NEW TALENT NETWORK Young artists also need expert advice and guidance. Our new Talent Network fulfils this need, by providing a directory of industry experts willing to advise our artists on everything from marketing and promotion, touring and recording, to artistic development and the effective use of funding.

NEW PARTNERSHIPS We’ve teamed up with Sound and Music to support their Higher Education Programme, which offers talented young composers the chance to develop new work in collaboration with the London Sinfonietta. We’ve also struck up a partnership with the Marie-Louise von Motesiczky Charitable Trust, which awards top cellists funding for postgraduate study, with additional support after graduation. Both these new links are exciting, centred on giving vital support to deserving talent.

This September we’re heading to Wembley with a team of runners who are all raring to go the extra mile for musicians. On 14 September, 15,000 runners will set off around a brand new 10k course in Run to the Beat, London’s biggest music running event. Live DJs will accompany the runners along the way, and a headline act will be waiting at the finish line in Wembley Park, ready to start the post-run party. Our team is a fantastic mix of musicians we’ve helped, families of musicians we’ve supported and music enthusiasts. Last year cellist Bex Herman ran 5k for us and raised £1,850, after we’d helped her with her postgraduate studies. This year, she explains why she’s doing it again. “A sponsored run is a great way to raise money and also raise awareness of the great work that Help Musicians UK do for musicians of all ages,” she says. If you’d like to join our crew of cheer volunteers, just come along on the day to our marquee in the charity village.

HELP US HELP EMERGING TALENT Our work with emerging artists is continually evolving, via new partnerships, schemes and awards. We hope to continue supporting new talent, setting musicians on the road to a successful professional career. Please help us support the next generation of musical talent today.

And if you’d like to donate, please call the Fundraising Team on 020 7239 9114, visit helpmusicians.org.uk/donate or give to the runners directly at justgiving.com/helpmusiciansuk

“A sponsored run is a great way to raise money and also raise awareness of the great work that Help Musicians UK do for musicians of all ages.” BEX HERMAN BEX HERMAN


06 FEATURE GERALD FINLEY

GERALD FINLEY

SCALING THE HEIGHTS FOR HELP MUSICIANS UK

TAKING ON KILIMANJARO Gerald explains his decision: “I’ve been very fortunate to scale the heights of music such as Oppenheimer in Doctor Atomic, as well as having wonderful new music written for me. It seemed a natural choice to take on Kilimanjaro, thanking those colleagues who have aided my musical treks.” Having joined forces with an impressive roster of opera stars including Sir John Tomlinson and Susan Bullock in our Opera Offstage calendar in 2013, Gerald is no stranger to supporting Help Musicians UK.

PHOTO SIM CANETTY-CLARKE

Climbing Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro is undoubtedly one of the world’s greatest outdoor challenges. At 6,000m it is the highest ‘walkable’ mountain in the world. But much of the seven-day climb is a hard slog where you face rain, snow, freezing temperatures, blisters, aching limbs and - worst of all altitude sickness. So why would one of the world’s greatest and busiest opera singers want to undertake such a challenge? In August, world-famous baritone Gerald Finley took time out from his busy schedule to climb Mount Kilimanjaro with his two sons to raise money for Help Musicians UK.


PHOTO CHRISTINA HALDANE. OPERA OFFSTAGE CALENDAR 2013

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Although his calendar shot suggests a love of the great outdoors, Gerald has never attempted this type of climb before. “I’ve done a bit of camping with my sons, but have never hiked at altitude,” he says. “I won’t be singing, so my vocal cords may not get as much of a workout as normal, but my lungs certainly will.” Gerald isn’t concerned that the trek will mean he’s too thin to play Falstaff in Toronto this October. “Put it this way,” he laughs, “the designers and make-up artists are going to have their work cut out. But you do have to be fit to play Falstaff!”

CONQUERING THE WORLD’S OPERA STAGES Singing in Toronto will involve a trip to his homeland for Gerald, who was born in Montreal. He came to Britain to study at King’s College, Cambridge, the Royal College of Music and the National Opera Studio, and famously sang at the opening of the new Glyndebourne theatre in 1994. He is now one of the leading singers and dramatic interpreters of his generation, with award-winning performances and recordings on CD and DVD with major labels. Gerald has performed at the world’s major opera and concert venues in a wide variety of repertoire including all major Mozart baritone roles, J. Robert Oppenheimer in John Adam’s Doctor Atomic (New York Met, ENO London, San Francisco, Chicago and Amsterdam) and Howard K. Stern in Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Anna Nicole  at Covent Garden.

WHEN CRISIS STRIKES As an opera singer with a packed schedule at opera houses around the globe, Gerald knows all too well how worrying it can be when illness strikes. “In 2006 I suffered an illness which stopped me singing for a couple of months,” he explains. “I had to cancel some work, but was lucky because the haematoma on my vocal cord healed very well and didn’t require surgery.”

“When there are hard times, Help Musicians UK steps right in there.” GERALD FINLEY However, he is aware that many musicians experience much more serious and long-lasting problems. “One of my fellow singers took a year to recover from thyroid surgery,” he says. “I’ve also known orchestral musicians who’ve had problems with repetitive strain injury (RSI) and brass players who’ve seen their careers shortened due to embouchure collapse.” And it’s not just illness that can prevent musicians from earning a living. Gerald adds: “Sometimes musicians have to stop work in order to care for a loved one. This can be particularly difficult if the loved one is a musician as well.”

that essential living wage, then they lose their music and we lose a valuable member of the team.” Gerald has personally witnessed the way that Help Musicians UK provides a support system for musicians who are coping with life challenges. “When there are hard times, Help Musicians UK steps right in there,” he says. “I’ve seen instances where the charity has been able to take the pressure off and it’s a real relief for the people involved. What’s impressed me most are the very sensitive, finely judged and appropriate measures of support that are offered. I can’t think of a more essential and valuable service to our musical community.”

HELP MUSICIANS UK STEPS IN

SUPPORT GERALD’S BIG CLIMB

It is his understanding of musicians’ struggles that has inspired Gerald to lace up his hiking boots in aid of Help Musicians UK. “The financial situation is hand to mouth for many musicians,” he says, “and if the music stops and they lose

Please show your support by making a donation on his Just Giving Page: justgiving.com/geraldfinley or call us on 020 7239 9114 Read about his adventure on our blog: helpmusicians.org.uk/blog


Working as a musician can be the most rewarding and satisfying career. Unfortunately, as any professional musician will tell you, there are occupational hazards that can affect even the most seasoned performer.

08 SURVEY RESULTS

Help Musicians UK recently surveyed musicians from all genres and at all stages in their careers to find out more about the stresses and strains of the profession, with a particular focus on health and wellbeing. In all, 552 musicians responded to our online survey, representing a broad spectrum of professional musical activity across the UK.

MAJOR PROBLEMS: HOURS, MONEY, INSECURITY The survey revealed that the three most common problems that musicians experience are: Anti-social working hours 84% Money problems 82% Work insecurity 79% With a largely freelance and unpredictable lifestyle the pressures can soon build up and may impact on a musician’s health and wellbeing, with depression, loneliness and relationship difficulties standing out as particularly prevalent.

MUSICIANS SPEAK UP ABOUT STRESSES AND STRAINS “The first doctor I approached about my RSI just said ‘Stop playing’ which is both upsetting and unhelpful for a professional musician.”

Musicians are expected to perform consistently at the highest level, so it was also striking to discover that: 75% of respondents had experienced performance anxiety 48% had suffered from repetitive strain injury [RSI] at some point in their career 47% reported hearing problems All of these problems can have a serious impact on a musician’s ability to work and earn.

ALL PART OF THE JOB While this could make depressing reading, there is good news. Musicians are a pretty sanguine and resilient group and survey feedback suggests that they see these problems as the inevitable price of their chosen profession. Many said that, despite the difficulties, they wouldn’t want to do anything else.

survey respondent

We’re keen to discover how we can help musicians to deal with the types of problems highlighted in the survey before they threaten or even end a flourishing career. We’ll also be working with musicians to make sure they’re better informed about issues they might face during their careers or when they retire. As Help Musicians UK’s Executive Director David Sulkin says: “We want musicians to enjoy full, active and healthy lives and be able to get on with the business of making music.” If you’d like to know more about the survey, visit helpmusicians.org.uk/healthandwellbeingsurvey or contact help@helpmusicians.org.uk


LESLEY GARRETT CBE INTERVIEW 09

LESLEY GARRETT CBE in 60 seconds WHERE IS HOME? Home for me is two places really, South Yorkshire and North London. WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY? Singing in the privy, our outside toilet. Lesley Garrett CBE is an ambassador for Help Musicians UK

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL? French daube (beef stew) and a good red wine – preferably in France.

“Help Musicians UK supported me early in my career through six months of really serious illness. Very gradually with their help I fought my way back to good health and I’ve never forgotten that. I simply wouldn’t have the career I’m enjoying now without them. Help Musicians UK does a fantastic job for thousands of musicians every year. If you love music, then please help musicians.”

WHO WOULD YOU INVITE TO A DINNER PARTY AND WHY? That’s a hard one. There are so many fabulously contrasting possibilities. I’d invite Mozart and Mick Jagger – I’m sure they’d have a lot in common. I love cricket so Geoff Boycott and W G Grace would be there and then to make the party complete, Maggie Smith and Celia Imrie……….. the list is endless!

one minute of your time WHAT WAS THE LAST ALBUM YOU BOUGHT? It was Handel’s Concerti Grossi with Trevor Pinnock and his orchestra. It’s just wonderful. WHO IS YOUR HERO? That would have to be heroes and mine are my Mum and Dad and Lord Harewood who gave me my break at English National Opera. WHAT’S THE LAST PLAY OR CONCERT YOU WENT TO? I went to hear a Dvořák opera called The Jacobin at the Buxton Festival in July. It was brilliant, absolutely brilliant.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MUSICAL HIGHLIGHT SO FAR? I’d say singing Elle in Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine last year for Opera North. It was a 45 minute monologue that covered a woman’s complete emotional breakdown to the point of suicide and it was the biggest challenge of my life. Another big highlight for me was singing Mother Abbess in the Sound of Music at the London Palladium. I love musical theatre.

WHAT ARE YOU PROUDEST OF? My son and daughter and staying married for 23 years. My two children, Jeremy and Chloe are both studying at Sheffield University, and together with my husband Peter, they mean more to me than words can say. WHAT IS YOUR GUILTY PLEASURE? I don’t really do guilt.

AT THE MOMENT YOU ARE…………… Renovating my Yorkshire cottage big time, including establishing a garden. I’ve always wanted to create a fabulous garden!


10 FEATURE GRAHAM SHEFFIELD CBE

GRAHAM SHEFFIELD CBE IN THE CHAIR

One way and another, Graham Sheffield has been helping musicians all his life. His career path has given him a wider arts perspective, but his appointment as chairman of Help Musicians UK is a return to his first love. Music began to take a serious grip when he gave up Classics to take Music A level, “much to the chagrin of the very lofty Classics master at Tonbridge.” He took piano to Grade 8 Distinction, failed a Cambridge organ scholarship “because I couldn’t sight-read very well”, sang in the choir and took up the flute, “which I couldn’t play because my mouth was the wrong shape.” A music degree at Edinburgh saw him throwing himself into musicmaking, taking up the timpani and getting paid for his efforts. “I joined the union and earned £30 a week playing timps for the university orchestra.” He carried on with the piano, did lots of chamber music, and showed an early interest in opera. “I didn’t have a clue what I would do to make a living,” he says. “I had a plan to try and go into stage management, because I got the opera bug at university and directed a couple of operas. I thought I was going to be some massive great innovative saviour of the entire world of opera and become the latter-day Zeffirelli.” He was halfway through a stage management course at the London Opera Centre when he saw a job ad in Opera magazine: Producer wanted, Radio 3 Gramophone Programmes. It mapped out his next 12 years. He enjoyed himself, “thundering through acres of vinyl, writing the scripts, preparing it all for broadcast. I must


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have scheduled hundreds of operas, including the most obscure verismo rubbish. It was like a continuation of university.” He moved into magazine programmes, documentaries, features and live music before a call came from the Southbank Centre in 1990 to go and become music director, starting the Meltdown festival during his time there. After five years, there was another call, asking whether he would like to make a team with John Tusa to run the Barbican. Becoming artistic director was a steep learning curve, he remembers. “Music had always been an absolute constant, so moving to the Barbican I was able to use the musical timelines I’ve got from Machaut to Maderna to guide me through the other bits. I had to learn theatre very fast, I had to learn how to manage a gallery and run two cinemas, a marketing department, start an education team.” He was at the Barbican for 15 years, also serving as chairman of the International Society for the Performing Arts and of the Royal Philharmonic Society.

Graham Sheffield’s career trajectory then took a side road with his appointment as CEO of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority in Hong Kong “It was one of those things that sounded fantastically good at the time,” he recalls, “but I just didn’t like living there.” A return to the UK in 2011 saw him appointed global Director Arts at the British Council, where he is “trying to increase the presence of all music in our programme, including classical.” Away from his desk, Sheffield is an enthusiastic cricket fan with suitably trenchant views about the current England team, and has a nose for fine wines. As to musical favourites, he says: “I’ve never believed in hiding my prejudices. I broadly like most of the classical repertoire from Renaissance through to contemporary, but I do have a few blind spots. I have an allergy to Bruckner and I’m not wild about Hindemith, but I’m pretty open to anything else in the classical field, and I really love jazz and Latin American music.” What did his jobs at two major London arts centres teach him about musicians? “I just loved talking to the orchestras. I liked talking to the players as individuals. I have a huge respect for classical musicians in this country as well as those who exist in even less secure circumstances in the commercial world and who have to earn a crust from every gig that comes along. It’s a very insecure existence.” His practical knowledge of musicians and understanding of their difficulties made him a perfect fit for Help Musicians UK, and he did not have to think long about accepting the chairmanship. With his legs under the new desk, Sheffield is realistic about the scale of the task ahead for Help Musicians UK. “It is a well-run and regulated charity with a very strong team. It’s going through quite a major change process in terms of rebranding and also in considering how to make an impact on more than just 2,000 musicians a year with the monies that it has.”

Giving the organisation a new name and a new image was a wise move, he says. “Rebrands don’t do anything on their own, but they do encourage people to think afresh about their work and to present a fresh face.” “At the moment I’m going through the process of getting to know the trustees, getting to know the management, getting to know the texture of the work we do, whether it’s supporting young musicians at the start of their career or in crisis in the middle or helping musicians in old age.” For the future, Sheffield would like “to get the message about what we do to a larger section of professional musicians. There are about 70,000 in the UK. I’d like to be able to touch a larger percentage of the working and the retired music population in some form – life-planning, health issues, scholarships or retirement planning. I’d like us to be a much more broadly known support.” Help Musicians UK has a strong campaigner in Graham Sheffield, whose long experience was recognised with a CBE in the 2010 New Year’s Honours list for services to the arts. “In a couple of years’ time I will have done 40 years in the business,” he says. “I might have a party.”


And I’m herdin’ a’ his yowes thegether.”

For she says, “My faither’s awa’ fae hame

Why roam your lane amang the heather?”

“Oh,” I said, “braw lassie, why roam your lane?

In the gentle breeze played around her shoulders.

But her golden locks, aye, in ringlets rare

Neither had she hat nor had she feather,

No shoes nor stockin’s did she wear;

Sheila Stewart is a captivating storyteller. In conversation, an hour seems to pass in five minutes, as she zips between stories about singing for President Gerald Ford in 1976 and Pope John Paul II admiring her green shoes in 1982, to receiving an MBE from Prince Charles in 2006 for her services to folk music.

Whilst I with others was out a-huntin’.

Renowned Scottish folk singer Sheila Stewart tells Fiona Thompson about her extraordinary career and how Help Musicians UK provided a lifeline at a critical moment.

It was there I spied a lovely maid,

SINGING FROM THE HEART AND SOUL

Amang lofty hills, moorland and mountain,

SHEILA STEWART MBE

Noo, as I roved out one summer’s morn

12 FEATURE SHEILA STEWART MBE

QUEEN AMA

KEEPING THE FOLK TRADITION ALIVE

UNCLE DONALD’S ‘CONYACH’

It’s no wonder that Sheila’s a gifted storyteller. She’s one of the Stewarts of Blairgowrie, Perthshire, descended from a long line of Scottish travellers who are steeped in a rich oral tradition of storytelling and Scottish folk music. Her mother, Belle, was a great singer and songwriter, and her father, Alec, was a piper and storyteller. Sheila followed in her mother’s footsteps and, during a career that’s lasted over 60 years, has dedicated herself to keeping the family legacy of unaccompanied folk singing alive. Sheila was born in a stable in Blairgowrie in 1935. “I started singing when I was two,” she says. “I had to preserve my family culture and the oral tradition no matter what. The first song I ever sang was ‘Twa heids are better than yin’, meaning ‘two heads are better than one’. My mother taught me the ballads and my Uncle Donald taught me how to sing them the travellers’ way.”

For her family, ‘the travellers’ way’ meant singing with ‘conyach’, a word invented by Uncle Donald. “It means singing from the heart and soul,” explains Sheila. “It’s about transporting the feeling of the ballad so the audience can understand the meaning of the story.” As she speaks, it’s clear she feels the weight of history behind the songs, as well as a responsibility for interpreting them vividly for listeners. From 1954 onwards, Sheila sang in concerts with her parents and her sister, Cathie, as the ‘Stewarts of Blair’. Folklorist Hamish Henderson visited the family as part of his mission to record the folk music of Scotland and compared trying to record the Stewarts’ repertoire as ‘like holding a can under Niagara Falls’. Sheila is grateful that Henderson helped renew interest in Scottish folk music and adds, “He discovered that some of our ballads dated from the 12th century.”


AN ILLUSTRIOUS CAREER The Stewarts performed all over Europe and the USA to great acclaim, including singing at the White House for America’s bicentennial celebrations. In 1982 (the green shoes moment), Sheila sang for 300,000 people when Pope John Paul II visited Scotland. Sheila has also sung for the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, lectured on travellers’ culture at Harvard and Princeton, and received a Lifetime Achievement award from the British Awards for Storytelling Excellence. Since her mother’s death and sister’s retirement, Sheila has continued to share her family’s ballads including the one most indelibly associated with her mother, ‘Queen amang the heather’. “It’s my favourite,” she explains, “and a precious song within my family. You have to have 110% conyach before you can sing it. All my life I wasn’t allowed to sing that song, but when my mother died, I was free to sing it and keep my mother’s heritage alive.”

“A LIFEJACKET WHEN I WAS DROWNING” Sheila first got in touch with Help Musicians UK in April 2013 following health and financial difficulties. She has experienced various health issues including diabetes, high blood pressure and anaemia, and had a mastectomy after suffering breast cancer. “I stopped singing about three years ago,” she says. “There was never a lot of money in folk music and I was struggling to pay the bills on my oldage pension. Dr Margaret Bennett, the writer, said I should get in touch with Help Musicians UK.” “I contacted the charity and Joe Hastings came to see me. He was so nice, an absolute gem. He arranged for me to receive a regular payment every three months. At the same time I had a crisis – with my cooker. I was flabbergasted when I had help to replace it.”

Till I wooed my queen amang the heather.

And we left the yowes for to stray their lane,

NG THE HEATHER

We sat awhile and we talked thegether,

So we baith sat doon upon the plain.

She was herdin’ yowes amang the heather.

But the bonniest lassie that ever I did see

I have been in London and Balquidder,

Noo, I hae been to balls and I hae been to halls;

Wi’ all my heart I would hae lo’ed ye.”

Or had you been a plooman’s son,

A-herdin’ yowes in the yonder valley,

“But had ye been a shepherd loon

And that I’m a poor lame shepherd’s dochter.”

For I know you are some rich squire’s son

But I’m afraid it was meant for laughter,

“But,” she said, “kind sir, your offer is good,

And you’ll be my queen amang the heather.”

In silks and satin it’s you will shine,

And care to lie on a bed o’ feathers,

Noo,” I said, “braw lassie, if you’ll be mine

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“Getting support from Help Musicians UK is the greatest thing that’s happened to me in the last five years,” says Sheila. “I was drowning and Help Musicians UK threw me a lifejacket. It’s the most marvellous organisation. I don’t know what I’d have done without it.”

RAISING THE PARTING GLASS Sheila was enticed out of retirement to sing at the pre-opening of the Commonwealth Games and has planned one last performance at Bannockburn Library on 18 September. “I’ll sing ‘Queen amang the Heather’ and end with ‘The Parting Glass’,” she says. “I’ll stick to my tradition.” Finally, she has some advice for anyone wishing to keep the flame of Scottish folk culture burning. “Please keep singing our ballads. They’re worth the learning and they have stories to tell. But don’t change the words. A ballad must be handled with kid gloves.”


14 FEATURE HEALTH AND WELLBEING TIPS

11 GOOD STARTING POINTS

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Eat a healthy diet, exercise, watch your weight, get plenty of sleep, limit your drinking, don’t take drugs and don’t smoke.

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is a mixture of qualities and 2 Everyone traits, strengths and weaknesses. Know 14 your own strengths and weaknesses. yourself, regardless of what you 3 Value have achieved and your circumstances. 15 Remember that we have choices and 4 can change our lives. We can escape 16 the past, learn to welcome the future and act effectively now.

KNOW YOUR TRIGGERS

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your stress triggers and learn 5 Recognise how to deal with them. Work out what’s best for you.

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Be aware of things in your past that add to present difficulties, and recent events which may trigger difficulties.

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Know what ‘pushes your emotional buttons’. Open up to unwanted emotions, thoughts, memories and images. Become more accepting.

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20 WAYS TO FEEL BETTER One in five people suffer from mental health problems at some point, so it’s good to know how we can help maintain our equilibrium. Dr Carol Chapman, a Performing Arts Counselling Psychologist and Performance Coach, shares her tips . STAY CALM

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Practise reducing tension, anxiety and anger. Learn relaxation skills and use them regularly.

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Cultivate moments of mindfulness when you are fully in the present, maybe using your breathing or a word as an anchor.

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Practise communicating clearly and directly. Other people are not mindreaders. Avoid blaming and shaming.

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JOIN US AT THE FESTIVAL OF SAINT CECILIA 2014 A service to celebrate music and musicians in support of Help Musicians UK Westminster Cathedral, London SW1 Wednesday 19 November at 11am

The Festival of Saint Cecilia service will feature the choirs of Westminster Cathedral, St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey and the beauty of their combined singing. They will premiere a new anthem, a setting of Psalm 6 specially written by Cheryl Frances-Hoad. The theme for the Festival Service is It’ll all be over by Christmas to mark the start of WWI. For more information about joining us at this special event, please contact the Communications Team on 020 7239 9114 or festival@helpmusicians.org.uk Booking opens on Thursday 11 September. You can also book online at shop.helpmusicians.org.uk


Profile for Help Musicians UK

Help Musicians UK Autumn 2014  

Help Musicians UK Autumn 2014  

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