Arranger & Co-Creator Carl Davis - CBE
Director & Co-Creator Pamela Howard - OBE
Elizabeth Pow Soprano
Grace Lovelass Mezzo Soprano
Adam Hoskins Tenor
William Robert Allenby Bass-Baritone & Pianist
Alisha Perkins Alto
Harry Heaven Tenor
Creating an Entertainment
We envisaged several possible scenarios, using an ensemble of 6 singers of different ages one of whom would also be a pianist, and might represent the archetypical 'composer' in his living room in the mid ’50’s... and thus the scenario we present was born. Carl had met Bernstein while living in New York and was wonderfully familiar with the music. My role as Director/ visual artists was to evaluate how these suggestions could weave together to tell the story and how Simple Song could be more than a concert, but still an entertainment, and also offer an event to the Leonard Bernstein at 100 festival that was unlike any other
Part of the production...
This part of the performance includes the songs
A Quiet Girl
and I Can Cook, Too
To view more of the production of Sing God A Simple Song CLICK HERE
Paper bags and paper clip people
A Manhattan Landscape…
In 2006 I received the honour of becoming Artist in Residence at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA. On the Ground Floor of my apartment block was a Whole Foods supermarket, and I was never out of it. At the end of my 3 months residency I returned home with 56 Brown Paper Carrier bags and 5 packets x 100 bags of brown paper Lunch bags. I have used these in many different ways for productions over the years and I love them.
When ‘Sing God a Simple Song’ came into reality in the wonderful space of the Chapel of the Ascension I knew I would need to invent an overall metaphor for the world of Lennie Bernstein. Inspired by the photo on the Bernstein in Chichester Brochure where he is in fact conducting, I had a vision of him speaking directly to God... in heaven floating from the top of a sky scraper. When one cannot actually make a sky scraper in real size, experience tells me to do the opposite... and my eye spied a packet of brown paper lunch bags in my studio. I opened the packet and painted little windows on one surface, stuffed it with small bits of old bubble wrap (I never throw anything away in my studio) and stuck it onto one of hundreds of bit of brown cardboard I have saved for some future occasion. I found some bits of blue tissue paper and stuck it on the top to make the sky... and then realised that to make them look big I would need to make very small people and quickly. A box of coloured paper clips next to my computer and a pair of pliers gave me a solution, making tiny people makes a small skyscraper look big. Within 20 minutes I had built a corner of Manhattan - a paper bag city... some paper straws and the large head of Lennie B. on the top of the sky scraper and I had a Simple metaphor for a Simple Song. I was happily joined for three days by a volunteer theatre maker from Brighton who said “Stuffing brown paper bags is just my thing” and setting ourselves a time limit of not longer that 20 minutes per unit we made the Manhattan Skyline you see here!
Moral: Never thrown an American Brown Paper Lunch bag away…