Yesterday we spent a day recording in Bath along with Grenville Jones and a number of local choirs.
This CD, simply entitled ‘Roses of Picardy’ sees the conclusion of a WW1 intergenerational programme, supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund. The project title was ‘Our Heritage in Songs and Memories’. The day took place at the Bath Pavillion yesterday (11 July 2015) with many people present who attend the local Goldies sessions in and around Bath. Over 50 primary and secondary schools took part over the 18 months of the project and thousands have sung the WW1 medley which was commissioned as part of the project.
The Golden Oldies Charity (Ref 1121600) was started in Bath and North East Somerset in January 2008 by Grenville Jones who took 4 daytime fun singing sessions for older people in sheltered housing community rooms around the city. ‘Goodies’ as it is fondly referred to, now runs over 130 singing and activity sessions across England and Wales led by 35 session leaders. Thousands of people attend and Sing and Smile to the popular songs of the 60s and onwards. You can find out more about the Golden Oldies by visiting their website at www.golden-oldies.org.uk
Roses of Picardy
Roses of Picardy is a British popular song from the early 1900s with lyrics by Frederick Weatherly who was born in Portishead, Somerset and lived in Bath for many years of his life. He was one of the most prolific song writers of his day penning hundreds of popular songs. He is buried in St Johns, Smallcombe cemetery in Bath. A plaque commemorating his life can be seen on the house at 10 Edwards Street in Bath. The music to Roses of Picardy is by Haydn Wood. It was published in London in 1916 by Chappell & Co, and was one of the most popular songs of the First World War.
The lyricist Fred Weatherly had become impressed with the beauty of the voice of the soprano Elsie Griffin, who later became a leading artiste with the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company. Her singing of his compositions resulted in his writing two of the most popular hits of the 20th century. Danny Boy (1910) and Rose of Picardy. The composer Haydn Wood wrote the music for over 200 ballads, of which Roses of Picardy became his most popular. Wood related that, as he was going home one night on the top of a London bus, the melody came to him. He jumped off the bus and wrote down the refrain on an old envelope whilst standing under a street lamp.
The exact story that lies behind the words of the song is unclear, but in his 1926 memoirs, Weatherly suggested that it concerned a love affair of one of his close friends. The song quickly became popular throughout Britain, with British soldiers singing it in the trenches.
Choirs on this CD
The forthcoming CD Roses of Picardy features the following Choirs / Groups:
- Bath Children’s Choir – lead by Holly Adams
- Devizes Good Afternoon Choir – lead by Grenville Jones
- Bath and North East Somerset School Philharmonic Orchestra – Conducted by Rainer Dolz
- Bath Good Afternoon Choir – lead by Grenville Jones
- Choir One – Lead by Grenville Jones
- Curtain up Theatre School – Tristan and Sarah Carter