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The Campana Brothers knotted sofa
The Cathedral of Barcelona   The Cathedral of Barcelona   The Cathedral of Barcelona

October 19th 2013


Another WTDW original article

Paul Wigmore has very kindly sent me another lovely short story and I am delighted to put it up on the site. It was untitled but I have called it 'A Revelation' for reasons that will become clear when you read it. He actually sent it to me in July but there have been so many other things going on that it has taken me until now to get it ready. The photograph that I have chosen to go with the article is of the vaulted ceiling of the Cathedral of Barcelona, generally known as 'La Seu' named after Saint Eulalia, the co-patron Saint of the city. I have included here a couple of other photos that I took of the Cathedral when Mary and I stayed in the delightful Hotel Neri in the Gothic Quarter in September this year.

The main photograph is of a striking sofa, taken from above, which sits on the first floor landing of the Hotel Neri. This is made of ninety metres of knotted velvet and is the work of the Brazilian designers, the Campana Brothers. Click on their name to go to their website; it is well worth a look.

A final postscript to the Danny Elfman concerts is that Harry was asked to sing at the three performances due to take place during the last week of this month in Los Angeles, but was unfortunately unable to do so as it was not possible to obtain a work visa in time. A great disappointment all round but a fantastic compliment that Danny Elfman and the concert organisers were so impressed by Harry's performances in the UK that they wanted him to sing on the States tour.




The Maida Vale Singers with Danny Elfman and John Mauceri
Harry with Godmummy Anne   Glasgow Hydro   Glasgow Hydro
Helena Bonham Carter Tribute   Maida Vale singers   Royal Albert Hall concert
Harry singing Alice in Birmingham   Harry with Danny Elfman and John Mauceri taking the applause   Harry with John Mauceri

October 15th 2013


Danny Elfman concert series - more photos

I have been sent several wonderful photographs taken during the tour from a number of sources and I have put these up here. The main photograph was taken at Glasgow Railway Station and is a fantastic image of the beaming members of the Maida Vale singers and both Danny Elfman and John Mauceri; what a happy crew!

The top row of three photographs were all taken by Mary in Glasgow and are of Harry and Godmummy Anne and of the venue for the concert, the Glasgow Hydro, very cleverly caught from the same spot during the day and at night.

The middle row of photographs show: the Maida Vale Ladies dressed as Helena Bonham Carter lookalikes before the final concert in Birmingham; some of the Maida Vale singers and Harry in mufti between rehearsals; and the BBC Concert Orchestra and Maida Vale singers at the beginning of the first concert at the Royal Albert Hall.

The final photographs were all taken at the final concert in Birmingham and were kindly sent to me by Thiago Tiberio. They show Harry singing 'Alice'; Danny Elfman, Harry and John Mauceri enjoying the audience's response to the show; and Harry being led back onto the stage by John Mauceri to receive ongoing applause after his performance.



Danny Elfman and Harry
John Mauceri and Harry   Chris Dee with Harry   Coming off stage in Birmingham

October 13th 2013


Danny Elfman concert series

Mary and Anne were very good at sending me regular updates by text on Tuesday and Wednesday last week as they chaperoned Harry on Tour in Leeds and Glasgow. These included the occasional photograph including one of Harry outside his personal changing room in Glasgow, which had been labelled 'Child Prodigy'! A gas leak at the venue in Glasgow threatened cancellation of the show but it fortunately went ahead, albeit an hour later than planned, and was particularly exciting as far as Harry was concerned as he was asked to sing 'Alice' from the front of the stage rather than from the choir.

Mary and Anne's enjoyment of the tour was not limited to the concerts, as I found out when I was speaking to Harry on the phone after the Glasgow concert in his hotel bedroom. When he had finished telling me all his news I asked to speak to Mary only for him to reply: 'Mum and Godmummy Anne are downstairs partying with the Maida Vale singers as they did last night!'

It was with great excitement that I travelled up to Birmingham for Harry's final concert at the National Indoor Arena where I met up with Jono, who has always been a particular fan of Danny Elfman's music, and Georgie who had come over from Nottingham for the afternoon. The concert was quite wonderful, with Harry again singing the penultimate number, 'Alice', at the front of the stage.

It has been a wonderful week, not least because of the people that we have met, who have all, without exception, been absolutely delightful. Chris Dee and the Maida Vale singers could not be a nicer bunch and have been so supportive and complimentary about Harry as have Danny Elfman and his team and the conductor, John Mauceri. Danny Elfman's music is extraordinary and it has been a great privilege for us to have been able to hear it being performed to such an exquisite standard by the BBC Concert Orchestra and the Maida Vale singers, and Harry. Below is a short excerpt from Sleepy Hollow recorded during the rehearsals at Maida Vale Studios.




Outsided Maida Vale Studios
First Night at the Royal Albert Hall   Harry outside his personal changing room   Harry in his personal changing room

October 8th 2013


Danny Elfman concert series - First night at the Royal Albert Hall

A great day of 'firsts' for Harry yesterday: first time that his photograph has taken up a whole page in a concert programme; first time that he has had his own private dressing room; first time that he has sung solo at the Royal Albert Hall; first time that a fan has come up to him and asked to have a photo taken with him (a young Spaniard who had come to London especially for the concert); and the first time that he has been asked for his autograph. He has loved every minute of it so far and was disappointed when Mary insisted that he change out of his concert clothes before emerging from the stage door so that he was not immediately recognised and mobbed by his adoring fans!

The concert itself was wonderful. Harry was picked out by a spotlight each time that he sang a solo and was acknowledged by the conductor at the end of both 'Sleepy Hollow' and 'Alice' to great applause from the audience. Danny Elfman received a rapturous welcome when he came out to sing during 'The Nightmare before Christmas' and was joined onstage by Helena Bonham Carter and later by Tim Burton. Ardent fans, many of whom were dressed in appropriate Burtonesque Gothic clothing, could hardly contain themselves.

Here is a short excerpt from 'Alice' recorded during rehearsals:

Harry left for Leeds from King's Cross today with Godmummy Anne, the Maida Vale Singers and the members of the London Concert Orchestra to prepare for the second concert this evening. I look forward to hearing how it went. Mary is flying up to join them tonight and will accompany them all to Glasgow on Wednesday before flying back very early on Thursday morning for work. I will be travelling by train to Birmingham on Thursday afternoon for the final concert.



Outsided Maida Vale Studios
Maida Vale Studio One   Miked up for sound   Harry Jackson

October 6th 2013


Danny Elfman concerts - first rehearsal

Yesterday Harry and I went up to Maida Vale studios for the first rehearsal of the music for the Danny Elfman concerts next week. What a great day. It was my first visit to these BBC studios - Harry has been there once before for an audition - and we arrived to see a massive white pantechnicon, with 'BBC Concert Orchestra' written on its side, parked outside unloading instruments. The building itself is a rather unprepossessing single storey windowless white block extending along quite a length of one side of a wide road opposite a row of well-presented Victorian semi-detached houses. Its entrance is equally understated consisting of a relatively unadorned archway on either side of which is a small plaque inscribed with 'The British Broadcasting Corporation'. The building has an interesting history in that it was originally the home, in 1909, of the Maida Vale Roller Skating Palace and Club which could seat 2,650 people and had its own orchestral balcony; it lasted as a Roller Skating Palace for three months! The BBC acquired, and refurbished, the building in the 1930s.

Harry and I collected our visitor's passes from reception and were then directed downstairs into a rabbit warren of basement passages past Studio One, where the Concert Orchestra were setting up, to Studio Two where the singing rehearsals were to take place. There we met Christopher Dee, director of the Maida Vale Singers, who auditioned Harry for these performances about ten days ago, and he introduced us to Mark Mann who had come over from America to oversee this first day. Mark has worked with Danny Elfman for the past twenty years or so and orchestrates his music. He is a delightful, charming man who put Harry at his ease immediately and prompted several rounds of applause for him from the adult singers during the course of the day, which enamoured him to me even more.

It was fascinating for me to see the rehearsals. I was particularly struck by the wonderful air of informality and professionalism throughout the day. It was clear that everyone was confident in their own, and their colleagues, ability to produce a wonderful sound and produce it, they did. I was astonished to hear that none of the singers had seen the musical score before as they sang, to my untutored ear, almost flawlessly from the start even when performing tricky Gilbert and Sullivan-like pieces. Harry was equally brilliant.

Mary has accompanied Harry to the studios today for a full rehearsal with the BBC Concert Orchestra and I have received several texts with exciting snippets of information including 'being miked up for sound' and 'Helena Bonham-Carter has just arrived'! The first performance tomorrow at the Royal Albert Hall promises to be a fantastic event.

Chris Dee Tweeted about Harry yesterday to say that he had become the youngest member of the Maida Vale singers and I have included a screenshot of this amongst today's photos.



  © Copyright Thomas Jackson 2010