Blog September 20th – Mustard Seed Songs Update


The Risen Christ Central Chapel in Southern Nigeria – under construction


“How Great Are His Signs” featuring the Portsmouth Gospel Choir


Risen! The Musical Theatre in Education


“Where Would I Be Without You?” recorded and produced by Ross Gill

I have just realised how much is going on with Mustard Seed Songs at present and so thought an update would be appropriate

Risen! The Musical is now available to view on YouTube – https://youtu.be/wYUX1CQEjoY There is also a version with sub- titles in Romanian- https://youtu.be/ICSAlaI6YZ0 – and a version with sub- titles in Spanish- https://youtu.be/vwAEjloTtfQ Mandarin is on the way! It would be wonderful if you could share these links so that Risen! can be viewed throughout the world.

The Risen! The Musical Theatre in Education Easter 2018 Tour – A London Touring Cast of 5 performed a one hour adapted version to 4000 children aged 7-11 in 17 Hampshire schools.   We need £10,000 in grants in order to be able to tour again in 2019.

The sequel to Risen! The Musical which has a new working title of “Blaze! -The Acts of the Apostles- Part One has been written and is, at present being recorded.

We are building the Risen Christ Central Chapel in Southern Nigeria. Recent fund raising events in aid of this project include the EP “How Great Are His Signs” featuring the Portsmouth Gospel Choir https://mustardseedsongs.hearnow.com/   The Portsmouth Gospel Choir and members of the London Touring cast also featured in a concert held at Kings Church, Portsmouth – you can view the concert on YouTube https://youtu.be/OwxHU5f26aU For more details of the Risen Christ Central Chapel please visit https://mydonate.bt.com/events/portsmouthgospelchoir

Quote of the week

True joy comes only to those who have devoted their lives to something greater than personal happiness

“The Life You’ve Always Wanted” John Ortberg

 

Blog September 13th “London Touring Cast Update”


Jodie May Quirke playing the role of Mary Magdalene in Risen! The Musical

“Yours Is a  Jealous Love” featuring Lucy Stimpson-Maynard from the album “Precious” recorded and produced by Ross Gill

Jodie May Quirke of the fabulous London Touring Cast is todays featured pic. She played the part of Mary Magdalene in Risen! The Musical which is now available to view on YouTube with sub – titles in both Romanian and Spanish . The link to the English version without sub-titles is https://youtu.be/wYUX1CQEjoY

I specifically mention her today as she has just returned to teach Performing Arts in Dubai. That made me think of what the other 17 members of the cast are doing and next week I will give you an update. Today however I would like to take a walk down memory lane and remember how, by God’s grace. Mustard Seed Songs were able to have such a talented and professional cast perform Risen! The Musical

Joffy Girling, our Musical Director and an ex- Crofton student had been working with me on the double album of Risen!-The Musical for four years. We were considering who to use to master the album when Joffy thought of his ex-Lecturer from Birmingham University, Dr Andrew Bourbon – now a Senior Lecturer at the London College of Music (LCM) in Ealing – part of the University of West London.  Andrew agreed to meet Joffy thinking it was just a catch up with his old star pupil. However he agreed to take on the mastering project not really realising how big a job it would be- 38 tracks! It was during the mastering process that he began to love the music so much so that he talked about it to his friend, the Head of Performing Arts at LCM. From this another Lecturer from the department, Niamh McGuckin became interested and I met with her during a mastering session at LCM.

I had a plan by which I was looking for students of Musical Theatre to learn the Risen! songs in order to perform Risen! in concert format at a forthcoming Coventry Pentecost Festival.  I also had in mind that the same group, having learnt the songs,  could then  be involved in a summer vacation workshop with a view to Risen!- becoming a stage production- hopefully at the New Theatre Royal Portsmouth which was scheduled to re- open after two years of extensive refurbishment.  As my conversation unfolded with Niamh I could see that she was really interested -she had heard the music and gave me the impression she would like to take part in the production herself. In the end I bit the bullet and asked if there was any chance of making the proposed Coventry Festival , not a concert but a full stage production – and even though there was little time left  to rehearse  the answer from Niamh was an emphatic “YES.”

Anyway Niamh then recruited a cast of 12 performers, either post graduates from LCM or students in their fourth and final year.  So I drove up to Ealing to meet them at a rehearsal in one of the LCM studios – I was greeted by Niamh and on the way to the studio could hear the cast singing “Jesus is My Lord” and it sounded awesome.  I was then introduced to Leah, Claire, Jodie, Mikey, Johnny, Andrew, Kieran, Jacob, Benny, Ennio and Adam.  Leah sang for me the opening to “Jesus is my Lord” then Claire “My Beloved King” and Jodie “I have seen Him” – I knew straight away that these guys were going to be something special!

They all rehearsed so hard and in just a few weeks were ready to perform at the Coventry Pentecost Festival. They were fantastic and received a hugely deserved standing ovation: and that was the start of an ongoing and wonderful relationship between them and Mustard Seed Songs.

Quote of the week

If you can worry continuously then you can pray continuously – just change your focus.

The Word for Today

Blog September 6th “Loved Everylastingly”


“Every Day With Jesus” – “Guaranteed” originally written by Selwyn Hughes

 

“How Can I Love You More”? featuring Lucy Stimpson- Maynard from album “Love is the Way” recorded and produced by Bob Ross

A couple of weeks ago I shared a song that I had recently written for the sequel to Risen! The Musical -which has a working title of “The Acts of the Apostles- Part One – Fire!”

The song is called “Nothing Can Separate Us From Christ’s Love” and on Friday of last week I noticed that Selwyn Hughes in his daily devotion ““Every Day With Jesus” “Guaranteed.” referred to the same quote from Romans 8:35. I therefore thought that today I would share with you extracts from Selwyn’s devotion, the theme of which is the qualities that Peter urges us to acquire in 2 Peter 1:5-7 – that is faith, goodness, knowledge, self -control ,perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love

We come now to the last quality on Peter’s list- love (2Peter 1;7) It is no surprise that the ladder of Christian virtues should end in love. Warm friendliness is wonderful but the love that Peter says we should make every effort to add to our faith is a reflection of that agape love that God has shown to us.

How different is God’s love from the natural love that we find in our hearts! The love we offer others is conditional love- the kind that says “Love me and I will love you.” “Do this and you can count on my love.” This love is not like the love of God. We are not loved by God for what we do and no failure can rob us of His love. While sin can cause a break in the relationship, it does not stop God loving us.

This love is initiated in heaven. “We love because He first loved us” (I John 4:19) That is the great thing about agape love- it initiates. This is, in part why we cannot explain why God loves us. To explain it would require Him to love us for some reason but, as we have seen, He loves us for ourselves alone. He chose to love because He is love. Nothing in us gave rise to His love and nothing in us can extinguish it. It is love without condition and it is love without end.

IN Jeremiah 31; 3 we read “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” When we think about this kind of love the poverty of our own love comes over us and we realise our love is not like the love of God. How amazing to know we are loved everlastingly. The apostle Paul rejoiced in this truth when he cried “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ”? (Romans 8:35) Divine love is love without reason and without end.

 

Quote for the week:

Pain is inevitable misery is optional.

The Word for Today

Blog August 30th Risen! The Musical with sub- titles in Spanish

Walking with Jesus – featuring the Mustard Seed Soul Band, from the album “Heart and Soul”, recorded and produced by Ross Gill

My good friend Alex-Emanuel Serban who works for the Romanian T.V channel Credo TV has just completed the Spanish sub titles for Risen! The Musical.  Many  thanks to Jaqueline Lamb and her son Rafi for so graciously translating the English script to Spanish.

So we have the original Risen! The Musical in English – a version with sub- titles in Romanian and now a version with sub- titles in Spanish. Alex is now in the process of creating a version with sub- titles in Mandarin.

I have purposely kept the blog text brief this week so that hopefully you will have time to take a look at the video.

If you could share any of the Risen! The Musical versions that would be great and very much appreciated.

English: https://youtu.be/wYUX1CQEjoY

Spanish: https://youtu.be/vwAEjloTtfQ

Romanian: https://youtu.be/ICSAlaI6YZ0

 

Quote for the week:

The best way to break bad habits is to replace them with good ones

The Word for Today

Blog August 23rd “Zucaroh”

I Look Up To Your Heavens – featuring Lucy Stimpson- Maynard from the album “Precious” recorded and produced by Ross Gill

My wife Caroline and I have two tortoises called Frank and Betty (well we had to call them something!) What amazing creatures they are – like a link to prehistoric times. They eat weeds and that got me thinking about how amazing even a leaf is – each having its own DNA- then of course there is the fact that every single snowflake is unique. Looking up to the heavens (had to be today’s featured song title!) is also awe inspiring – seeing all the stars millions of light years away- and what about a sunset – no artist could paint such wonderful pictures.

You can probably guess where this is all going- yes all are testimony to the wonders of God’s creation. We as human beings are His greatest creation of course and sometimes I am reminded of that in what might best be described as “wow” moments. There have been many that I have enjoyed in the world of sport – for example one particular golf shot from Seve Ballesteros through a gap in the trees which only he could have imagined let alone pull off. Susan Boyle in that famous audition for “Britain’s Got Talent” where the audience, who were expecting rubbish, were soon on their feet wowed by her singing of “ I dream a dream” . Also on BGT was “Spellbound” who you may remember were an acrobatics gymnastic group – they won the show in 2010 and were absolutely stunning.

The other day Caroline showed me a clip of this group called “Zucaroh” saying that they were better than “Spellbound” – I thought “no way” but then I was so knocked out by yet another “wow” performance that I thought I must share it.

Quote for the week:

The only way to avoid criticism is to do nothing or be nothing.

John Mason in The Word for Today

Blog August 16th “Nothing Can Separate Us From the Love Of God”


Robbie Richardson playing with Tim Downs and Stu Fowler for the Mustard Seed Soul Band at a concert at Paulsgrove Baptist Church 2010

“We Can Do Anything” featuring Lucy Stimpson- Maynard from the album “Precious” recorded and produced by Ross Gill

Last week I spoke of Robbie Richardson who has, for many years, played sax, clarinet and flute on Mustard Seed albums. The featured song today “We Can Do Anything” features Robbie’s brilliant playing. This song comes from our album “Precious” which was dedicated to my mum “Audrey”.

In two weeks’ time we will be doing some more recording for the sequel to Risen! The Musical which has a working title of “The Acts of the Apostles- Part One: Fire! “ Our new musical will include some adapted Mustard Seed songs such as “We Can’t set The World On Fire” and “You Are The Shepherd Of My Soul” together with new material – I thought it would be nice today to share the lyrics of one new song that will be sung by the apostle Paul:

Nothing Can Separate Us From Christ’s Love

Did you drift too far?

Did you wait too long?

Did you slip too much?

Were you too uncertain?

 

Did you not have faith?

Did you cry in fear?

Were your thoughts unclean?

And your tongue unguarded?

 

Well He won’t stop loving you

He won’t stop loving you,

He can’t stop loving you,

He can’t stop loving cos He is love

 

Would you not forgive?

Did you hold a grudge?

And refuse your hand,

To a fallen neighbour?

 

Did you not stand firm?

Did you deny truth?

Did you chose the wrong path

And then blame another?

 

Well He won’t stop loving you

He won’t stop loving you,

He can’t stop loving you,

He can’t stop loving cos He is love

 

Nothing can separate us from Christ’s love

No demons below or Angels from above,

Nothing in the present,

Nothing in the future

Not height not depth

No nothing we can measure.

 

Nothing can separate us from Christ’s love

No demons below or Angels from above,

Not any power

Not any nation,

Not death not life

No nothing in creation.

 

Nothing can separate us from Christ’s love

 

Quote for the week:

We don’t know who we are until we know who’s we are.

Every Day With Jesus

Blog August 9th “Tom Millen”

“Judas” featuring Tom Millen of the “Original Cast  from the album Risen!The Musical recorded and produced by Joffy Girling (“Judas” follows “Judas Has Betrayed Our Dearest Friend” featuring Alex Knox)

It’s my 10th wedding anniversary today so first may I say a big thank you to my beautiful wife Caroline who loves me and cares for me so wonderfully well. Thank you – I love you very much.

I was delighted to discover that a good friend, Tom Millen is now starring in a film “The Salzburg Story.” Tom sang the part of the disciple James in the CD of Risen! The Musical. How we met made me think of how networks, in particular those associated with Risen! have been created through, what I believe to be, “God instances.”

Some four years ago I was speaking to Mick Mellows who is Godfather to my two sons, James and Christopher. Mick played football for Portsmouth FC and now runs the charity Faith and Football who, in 2015 were winners of the Queens Award for Voluntary Service. I was asking Mick if he knew of a saxophonist as we needed one to record on one of the Mustard Seed albums. Mick said that Robbie Richardson was teaching his daughter, Hannah how to play the sax so I contacted Robbie who subsequently played tenor and alto sax, clarinet and flute or numerous of our albums – he also played in just about all our concerts and “His Story” productions – oh and yes he played at Holy Rood for Caroline and me at our wedding service.

Robbie would often sing the praises of his nephew Josh Belil who was a tenor trained at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts. I asked Josh if he knew of someone that could sing bass as we needed someone to record the part of the disciple Peter for our Risen! The Musical album- Josh recommended Tom Millen. Tom has an amazing vocal range but we decided to use him, not as Peter but as James using his baritone/tenor voice -the result includes today’s featured song “Judas” recorded by Joffy Girling in his first studio, which was a converted garage at the vicarage of Holy Rood church.

I have stayed in touch with Tom and Caroline and I went to London to see him perform brilliantly in Julian Slade and Dorothy Reynolds’ classic musical “Salad Days.” Tom is a really lovely man and deserves every success- congratulations Tom!

Quote for the week:

We form our habits and then our habits form us.

The Word for Today

Blog August 2nd “Bobby Jones and Sportsmanship”

 

“Put Your Hand In the Hand Of God” featuring Lucy Stimpson- Maynard from the album “Precious” recorded and produced by Ross Gill

Music and sport have always played such a great part in my life. I have so enjoyed ,in my earlier years, playing and coaching all manner of sports but in particular cricket, football and basketball. Now I really enjoy golf which brings me to the point of today’s blog. I love it when I see displays of sportsmanship and in the blog of August 25th 2016 championed Andrew Flintoff’s gesture to Brett Lee in the Ashes match of 2005.Unfortunately sportsmanship is seen less and less these days- Neymar in the recent World Cup rolling around in “ agony “ epitomises this. Cricket once a bastion of fair play is now tarnished with “sledging” even rugby has its “dark arts.” I think however that golf still holds the higher moral ground and I was reminded of this when reading “The Word For Today” last week as It recounted a story of Bobby Jones in the 1925 US Open Championship

Jones’ approach shot to the 11th hole’s elevated green fell short into the deep rough of the embankment. As he took his stance to pitch onto the green, the head of his club brushed the grass and caused a slight movement of the ball. He took the shot, then informed his playing partner Walter Hagen and the USGA official covering their match that he was calling a penalty on himself. Hagen was unable to talk him out of it, and they continued play. After the round and before he signed his scorecard, officials argued with Jones but he insisted that he had violated Rule 18, moving a ball at rest after address, and took a 77 instead of the 76 he otherwise would have carded. Jones’ self-imposed one-stroke penalty eventually cost him the win by a stroke in regulation, necessitating a playoff, which he then lost. Although praised by many sports writers for his gesture, Jones was reported to have said, “You might as well praise me for not robbing banks”.

“The Word for Today” talked about integrity and how Jones believed that losing his integrity was not worth winning the Open for. The USGA’s sportsmanship award is named the Bob Jones Award in his honor.

I was interested to discover that Bobby Jones founded and helped design the Augusta National Golf Club where the world famous Masters Tournament is played for the coveted “Green Jacket.” I was also interested to discover that in 1948, Jones was diagnosed with syringomyelia, a fluid-filled cavity in the spinal cord that causes crippling pain, then paralysis; he was eventually restricted to a wheelchair. He died in Atlanta on December 18, 1971, three days after converting to Catholicism. Jones was baptized on his deathbed by Monsignor John D. Stapleton, pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King in Atlanta.

Jones was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974.[

Quote for the week:

The church is not perfect that is why people like us are welcome there.

The Word for Today

Blog July 27th “The Crofton Summer Sports Week”

 

“You Are The Maker” featuring Lucy Stimpson- Maynard from the album “Love Is The Way” recorded and produced by Bob Ross

No real blog this week as have been soooo busy with the annual Crofton Summer Sports Week that I have been running now for 26 years!!

Here are some pics of our brilliant children and brilliant staff.

I have also posted two pics of the Risen! Christ Central Chapel in Southern Nigeria- for details and the opportunity to help finish its construction please visit https://mydonate.bt.com/events/portsmouthgospelchoir

Quote for the week:

If you get fixed on a destination you can miss great things that happen along the way

The Word for Today

Blog July 20th The Acts of The Apostles- Part One “Fire!”


Alex Knox with Joffy Girling recording the part of Luke for the sequel to Risen!

I Will Tell featuring Lucy Stimpson- Maynard from the album ” I Look Up To The Heavens” recorded and produced by John Hodgkinson

A couple of weeks ago I listed the present projects that Mustard Seed Songs are, at present working on. They included:

Risen! The Musical being broadcast on YouTube with subtitles in languages such as Romanian and Spanish.

The success of the Easter tour of the Risen! The Musical Theatre in Education of 17 schools and the hope that funding will be forthcoming to allow for a 2019 tour.

The release of the Portsmouth Gospel Choir’s CD “How Great Are His Signs” with proceeds going to the building of the Risen Christ Central Chapel in Southern Nigeria.

How we have been posting clips of the Portsmouth Gospel Choir’s concert at Kings Church, Portsmouth (in fact the full concert will be posted on You Tube today)

The building of the Risen Christ Central Chapel in Southern Nigeria.

What I did not mention is that we have also been working on the sequel to Risen! The Musical which has a working title of” The Acts of the Apostles – Part One “Fire!” The title is, I trust self -explanatory. The musical is based on the book of the Acts of the Apostles chapters 1- 12. The plan is to one day write a musical based on the Acts of the Apostles Chapters 13- 28 but that is for some time in the future! In the meantime the script has been written, Joffy Girling our amazing Musical Director has recorded the piano score and Alex Knox (see blog of Nov 24th 2016) has sung the guides. He also sung the part of Luke as shown in the featured pic. We now need to record all the other vocal parts and will be looking to members of the wonderful “London Touring Cast” for this as soon as we gain the funding. Today’s featured song   “I Will Tell” will be one of the songs from “Fire!”

Quote for the week:

Learn from the mistakes of others- you will never live long enough to make them all yourself.

Admiral Hyman Rickover