Meet the Everyone Can Sing team

Simon Thompson

Simon believes that everyone can sing. He's our musical leader!

 

He's a bit of a character but will always do his best to help everyone....................sing!

 

He has had  a long career establishing choirs and orchestras in schools and founded West Bridgford Social Singers in 1992, after being approached by parents to teach them to sing. He continues to be their musical director. See facebook/West Bridgford Social Singers or www.westbridgfordsocialsingers.com 

 

After spells in Norway with Reppe Blandakor, the University staff choir and in Portugal at St.Dominic's International School, Simon founded a harmony group . 'Oldish Spice' are an a capella group who have  added  guitar accompaniment, and are regulars on the Nottingham singing scene. See facebook: 'Oldish Spice'

 

Simon believes that singing can improve  emotional well being and has since founded 'Everyone can Sing' to introduce more people to the joys of singing for pure enjoyment. He teaches all parts of  songs and you decide which part suits you! He specialises in choirs and workshops.

 

After the initial singing workshops which became monthly Saturday workshops the cluster of groups under the ECS banner soon grew. We now have the Thursday choir AKA "ECS Singers", Everyone Can Sing on a Monday and ECS at various dementia groups including ECS at Eastwood memory cafe.

A unique atmsophere at Saturday workshops is created by the band who may include: Tim Heywood (Bass guitar and vocals) Martin Roscoe (lead guitar), Mark Walker (bass guitar and vocals) Mike Beard (keys) and Paul Mountain (drums).

 

Above all, Simon will have a bit of fun, not take himself or anybody else too seriously and enjoy the moment. Come along!

 

Everyone Can Sing on a Monday have a band too: Paul Mountain (percussion - usually his Cajon), Sally MacDonald (vocals), Doug Richardson (acoustic and electric rhythm guitars), Ian Abbot (lead guitar), Grahame Connolly (bass guitar) & Stuart Duke (IT support, additional vocals and percussion).

 

Tim Heywood

Tim's love of music began in a household which was always full of music. His mum loved singing so much that her sister said he would grow up thinking life was a grand opera. He's spent the intervening years trying to make it so, and is glad the fat lady has not yet sung. 

He learned the flute and piano at school and put these and his singing to good use in getting an A level in music. 

After a university career full of Handel and Gilbert and Sullivan, he found himself a keen member of Kidderminster Male Voice Choir until moving to Nottingham in 2010. Then he joined West Bridgford Social Singers and suggested to the small Yorkshireman at the front that the male voice repertoire was fun, and so that diminutive chap started Oldish Spice. 

At the same time a local band of friends carelessly mislaid their bass guitarist. Tim thought, "How difficult can that be?" and became a member of the Old Codgers. He is still learning how difficult the bass guitar can be. 

In the meantime he learned how to fool the casual listener into thinking he can play the keyboard, saxophone, trumpet, ukulele, guitar, bodhrán and pretty much anything else you throw at him. He can't actually play any of these but don't tell him that - he'd never cope with the truth. 

In the spirit of protecting his naivety, Simon asked him to play keys for ECS and, frankly, he loves it.

Martin Roscoe

Martin bought his first acoustic guitar when aged 15 and taught himself to play folk songs, and more, with a little help from Bert Weedon’s ‘Play in a Day’ book. Realising it was possible to play along with popular songs of the day, it wasn’t long before he acquired, amongst others, ‘Beatles Complete’ (easy guitar book) and ‘The Leonard Cohen Songbook’. Wanting to move on from acoustic, he purchased an electric guitar and ‘Winfield’ amplifier from Woolworths.

 

Armed with this basic equipment, later supplemented by a 12-string guitar purchased with help from his first grant cheque, he played at school, folk clubs, rest homes, colleges and pubs. He went on to play ‘on the road’ in a band in which most of the set comprised songs written by Martin. Some of the songs involved more than three chords and some even had minor chords.

Over the years, and with upgraded guitars, Martin has played in a number of bands, probably the most famous being ‘Men Behaving Sadly’, or possibly ‘Mid Life Crisis’, and he continues to write songs.

 

In 2012, he retired from playing in bands due to the adverse effect it was having on his hearing. Somehow, in 2013, he found himself playing for Oldish Spice and he has been playing with them regularly ever since. Martin has also played guitar for West Bridgford Social Singers.

 

Playing for ECS has meant a return to playing as part of a band and he’s lovin’ it!

Mark Walker

Mark is a bass player and vocalist with over 40 years experience. Unlike most of the rest of the ECS team, Mark is an untrained musical ignoramus. He only got the ECS job because someone had to be smaller than Simon.

 

Mark’s serious music career hasn’t begun yet. However, in the late ‘70s (yes, he is that old) he toured with the groundbreaking “Oscar the Frog”, combining folk, funk, rock, reggae and roots long before it became fashionable with the chattering classes. Mark still has 500 Oscar the Frog albums in a box in the loft – email mark.philip.walker@gmail.com if you’d like to snap one up for a snip at £10.00. Buyer to collect. No PayPal.

 

In the long intervening years, Mark has performed and recorded a huge variety of musical genres with a dazzling array of unknowns. Most notably:  Patterns in Peru, Sense, Gary Slack, The Jazz Juniors, Big Deal, Five Go Off, Da Dog, The Tender Trap, The Cliff Brown Band, Moose Malloy, The Phil Langran Band, Goose McCoy, Married To The Mob & The Beeston Ceilidh Collective.

Glastonbury 2010

Patterns In Peru, Nottingham 1986 :-)

Paul Mountain

Paul plays drums at Saturday workshops and also the cahon for other ECS groups like ECS on a Monday and ECS @ Eastwood Memory Cafe.

 

Paul has always had a love of music, no doubt in part to his mum loving singing and being in a local choir (although she had no time for pop music!).

 

 As a young boy he sang in the church choir. His first paid ‘gigs’ were singing at weddings (10p) and funerals (12.5p)!  His claim to fame came when he was asked to lead the Christmas candle lit procession one year singing ‘Once in Royal David’s City’ solo. His secondary school had a strange admission policy. All new pupils were given a singing test to decide what form they went into, with those who could sing went in to one form and those who couldn’t went into the other forms and learnt Latin. Needless to say Paul can’t speak Latin! He had a very music/chorale training at the secondary school, singing at many functions and venues around London. He later joined the Battersea College of Education (teacher training) as a mature student and joined the college choir. The stand out moment for him was performing in an end of year Gilbert and Sullivan production ‘HMS Pinafore’.

 

Paul has also dabbled in playing some instruments. However although he had piano lessons at 8 years old, he sadly only got as far as playing ‘Waddling Ducks’ with one hand. He has also taken up the saxophone and has reached the dizzy heights of Book 2. His ‘lock down’ project of moving on to the next level still has to be realised!

 

Paul has no idea of where his love of drumming came from. At infant school he ashamedly stole or ‘re-purposed’ two old paint brush handles and armed with these and several pots, pans and lids would drum in the kitchen to the Sunday night radio pop chart countdown show. He progressed in his teenage years, saving up his pocket money to buy a half drum kit for £5 which he added to bit by bit and performed in the locally renowned band ‘The Clearways’. He took a drumming ‘career break’ for the next 45 yearsto focus on work and family(!)

 

On retirement Paul bought his son’s full drum kit and now an empty nester, he was able to set up his drum kit and music permanently and return to his passion. He also heard of ECS through a friend (Grahame) and went along to have a look. It was such a great experience singing again in a group in a free and easy relaxed setting that he became a regular. However, word got out that he played drums and so he was asked if he would like to play the cahon (a drum box) at ECS events and so he joined the band and now plays his own mic’d up Schlagwerk cahon. He has occasionally got his drum kit out on the road but says the cahon is so much easier to put in the boot! Paul is also the drummer in a cover band called ‘In Disguise’ along with Ian and Doug from the ECS band. He loves a wide range and styles of music from Hendrix to reggae to male voice choirs.

 

Doug Richardson

Doug plays either acoustic or electric rhythm guitar for Everyone can Sing on a Monday and ECS @ Eastwood memory cafe.

 

"I grew up in Ruddington, and following a few years living away, moved to West Bridgford with Penny in 1987. We have two kids, who are now in their mid-late 30s and living close by (we're very lucky!) 

 
First 20 odd years of my career was in sales, export and general management. Since 2000 I've worked alongside my partner in our management development business, along with a small team of trainer/coaches. I still enjoy it, but am now very much semi-retired.
 
I like a very wide range of music from pop to classical, rock to folk, and the blues. Because of all the years I spent in cars and travelling, it's my specialist subject in quizzes, and my ears always prick up when Popmaster comes on... I am pretty useless after about 1990 though!
 
Not having done any singing since I was about 11, Penny persuaded me to go along to the very first ECS session in early 2016 to broaden my horizons - to my great surprise, I immediately loved it, and continue to do so five years later! If you come along to one of our performances, you'll find me happily droning along at the back with my fellow basses.
 
I took up guitar late in life. I always wanted to play in a band but never thought I would, until Simon gave me the opportunity to do exactly that with what became ECS on a Monday. I love being part of such a special group and it's become a very important part of my life. I so missed it through lockdown, and I'm so pleased to be back! "
 

Ian Abbott

Ian plays acoustic guitar for Everyone can Sing on a Monday and ECS @ Eastwood memory cafe. 

 

I grew up with my home filled with music.  My dad played the guitar and sang, and mum played the piano. From buying Abbey Road for them as a present when I was 7, I built up a large vinyl (and later CD) collection that is now finding it’s way back out of the loft! After my music taste ’stalled’ after loving Queen, Genesis and Thin Lizzy though the 70’s and early 80’s I went on a never ending quest to find new and interesting music…there is so much around if you look for it.

I’ve had a guitar since I was around 14, but only really picked it up to start playing again 4 years ago after semi-retiring and thinking I should learn some new skill! It eventually gave me the confidence to plan and sing in the street when we were ‘clapping for carers’. With Doug and Paul we have now formed a band, and hope to play ‘live’ in November 2021 for our real debut.
 
Playing and singing with Simon and the ECS Monday team, has been a great joy and has also helped me continue to develop. Can’t wait to start again."

Grahame Connolly

Grahame plays electric bass guitar for Everyone can Sing on a Monday.

 

"My love affair with the guitar started in my early teens and I’ve always viewed it as a fun way of making music to sing along to, especially with other people.

I’ve happily left the fancy finger work to more talented musicians.

Up until my late 40’s, live performances were restricted to late night BBQs, drunken parties, school assemblies and teaching groups of young guitarists.

Then along came Men Behaving Sadly!!!

A foursome, who added a drummer for gigs and recording sessions, we simply enjoyed playing together. Our first gig was my 50th birthday party at Edwalton Golf Club….& the rest is history, captured on three CDs.

Disbanded in 2014 on doctor’s orders to protect our lead guitarist’s eardrums (!), we reformed with a guest guitarist -Doug Richardson- to perform at Trevfest, Doug’s 60th birthday bash?

I happily dusted down the 6 string to accompany the Monday singing group in 2018. Now part of a great bunch of musicians and backstage staff - Stuart and Simon - I’ve converted to the bass guitar. Thoroughly enjoying thumping out a rhythm and bass line with our ace percussionist, Paul. I’m looking forward to getting back to our Monday session.

 

We’ve rehearsed an extensive catalogue of covers, so join us at ECS and you can be our lead singer - alongside the other 30 in the room !"

Stuart Duke

Stuart sings with most ECS groups and also organises and creates the IT resources for ECS. He has been known to play some percussion on ocassions.

Stuart has only lived in the East Midlands since 2016 and comes originally from the south west midlands. He retired from work in Higher Education e-Learning Support in 2018.

 

He says, "Everyone Can Sing has been a fantastic way of getting to know people in a new location. Singing with a live band is a great experience and joining the choir - ECS Singers - provided a real boost to my self-confidence.

It was great that I was able to support Simon with the IT side of keeping a lot of the ECS activity going on-line during 2020-21."

 

Sally MacDonald

Sally is the newest member of the Everyone Can Sing on a Monday band.  She brings a lot of singing experience to the group.

 

"Having retired from a career in primary education in December 2020, I am fulfilling one of my childhood dreams to sing in a band! 

 

I have sung in choirs since I was at school and have been part of West Bridgford social singers for well over 20 years. I am also a member of The Bling Singers.

 

I am a firm believer in the restorative benefits of music making, along with my other passion, which is open water swimming."

We are located at:

West Bridgford, with some activities at Eastwood. 

Choir concerts can be anywhere....

Contact us today!

If you have any queries or wish to make an appointment, please contact Simon - tel:

07843379357

or by email:

simonthompson62a@gmail.com

 

Or use our contact form.

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© Simon Thompson