About Us - Writers of Note!
'Writers of Note! That's a weird name,' our bank manager said to us when we came up with it. 'I don't get it.'
'The idea is,' we said, 'to celebrate the fact that we write words and music of notable and lasting quality. And the exclamation mark means we have fabulous fun doing it and this is so evident that our customers will have just as much fun using our material.'
'Oh, I see,' he lied smoothly. Time has distilled two results from this conversation.
a) he no longer works for the bank
b) we've lived up to our name.
The Writers of Note in question have been a creative team since 1991. They are lyricist/poet/author Sara Ridgley (also known as Crazy Sara, Annie Leybourne - poetry non-de-plume - and The Madwoman In The Studio. See photo above. She's the one with no beard, but a clear penchant for dazzling colours) and musician/composer/arranger/Musical Director/Conductor Gavin Mole (also known in the West End as Tom Wakeley - stage name - and A Legend
In His Own Lifetime to RADA students, to whom he's Vocal Coach. He often does have a beard and wears less pink than Sara).
Sara's BA in Arts and Media focussed on depictions of women in musical theatre and Gavin is to be found at the piano All That Jazz-in' and Razzle Dazzlin' it on a nightly basis in the West End production of Chicago. They have a strong pedigree in their chosen field. When they met, Gavin's two
daughter's - now university age - were four and two. A dearth of decent musical material for that age group irked this musician Dad and he and Sara set about the task of creating material to inspire, inform and enthuse young children (and the people helping them learn). Initially, they wrote 11 children's musicals for Warner Bros. These are:
Class Act Productions for 4 to 7 year olds (The Shiniest Star,
Little Red Hen,
Elves and the Shoemaker).
Sing It and Say It (Can Anyone Play It?) for 7 to 11 year olds covering
Box Office Productions for 7 to 15 year olds (Around The World In A Thousand Years and Around the World at Christmastime).
NOTE TO DEALERS: These titles are available from FM Distribution under your normal trade terms.
NOTE TO RETAIL CUSTOMERS:
Click here for more information on these titles from our music distribution company, dotdismus.com.
Latterly, they have created three shows for 3 to 5 year olds:
Shepherd Little, a Nativity of Note! about a little shepherd who has a little trouble with the truth.
The Tale of the Christmas Tree, a Festivity of Note! explaining how the Christmas Tree got his name.
Helping Humpty Dumpty,
a Nursery Rhyme of Note! revealing the mystery of how Humpty took that dive off the wall and who provided repairs.
One day during a rehearsal for one of their shows, Sara listened to Gavin doing a vocal warm-up with the children and encouraged (OK, OK, blatantly harangued, badgered and nagged) him to get those warm-ups out of his head and on to the page so they could be shared, published and sold. The result was a CD, the Chicken Tikka Collection of Vocal Warm-up Exercises for Younger Voices. 'Twenty Chicken Tikkas to go!' has a different meaning in
our office. We did consider the option of a free naan bread tucked inside the envelope, but it's the pickles, isn't it? Ever tried mailing mango chutney?
The CD, known as a 'Compact Disc+' (or CD Xtra), contains audio files of 10 giggle-inducing but technically-sound tongue-twisters and exercises to give the vocal chords a workout and encourage physical movement (such as several 'getting-faster' versions of the Grand Old Duke of York, incorporating claps and stamps to replace words), plus a print-it-as-often-as-you-like file (pdf) of the piano
score if you need it.
The Chicken Tikka is for children aged 5+ (although little Danny Traves was only four when he sung with us on the recording). It is endorsed by
Stagecoach Theatre Arts who use it at their weekly Dance, Drama and Singing sessions all over the country. 'It's so easy to use, even Sara can do it,' Sara heard Gavin tell a singing teacher at a conference. The black eye quite suited him.
Before long, adult singers and teachers were demanding a grown-up version, so the Um-pah Collection was born. This is a music theatre based selection of exercises for age 10+, some fairly challenging, all achievable with practice and worth conquering for that victorious feeling of 'Yesss! Got it!'
Next came the Doo-be-doo Pop Collection from the creative mind of our friend Mike Dixon, West End Musical Director whose involvement with Children in
Need and Pop Idol is evident in the material on the CD. This is also aimed at age 10+ to adult.ike Dixon, West End Musical Director whose involvement with Children in Need and Pop Idol is evident in the material on the CD. This is also aimed at age 10+ to adult.