Music for Renewal of Wedding Vows & Peggie’s Passing

This was my idea of fun: playing my favourite classical music and getting paid for it. I even managed to sneak in a couple of originals, “Puck at Parkerville” and “Rainbows Over Hovea,” which are very bright, bubbly, happy pieces.

MDJ at piano

Me at the piano

A few days ago Kelly & Marcus renewed their wedding vows twelve years into their marriage. This time they had two lovely daughters, Maya and Zoe, to help them with the ceremony.

Marcus renewing his wedding vowsI’ve been teaching piano to Marcus and his daughters so I was very happy to take on the role of pianist for the ceremony.

I hope to do more playing like this. The original intention was to play the repertoire from my 16-month Soul Tree Organic Cafe residency (sadly, that cafe exists no more). However, it quickly became apparent the occasion was more like a party, so much more lively music was called for.

We’d already agreed on a couple of items for special points in the event, being Pachelbel’s Canon in D and Debussy’s Clair de lune, which are not exactly exciting though they are very lovely. So for the rest I played other selections which happened to be in the scores I’d brought with me.

Riverside at Woodbridge Cafè & Restaurant. Above the tables you can see vineyards on the other side of the Swan River.

I was told by several people my playing was “Perfect, like a CD.” I guess ‘perfect’ has become a relative term! It wasn’t quite note perfect but I did play musically.

The happy occasion came just two days after a very sad one. My fiancée, Jenny, said goodbye to her dearly beloved mother at a very moving funeral service attended by a large contingent of family and friends. It was a privilege to make recordings of Clair de lune and Für Elise for Peggie’s service.

One day I must revisit these and many other works and make some serious recordings for my first proper CD. A couple of times Peggie had urged me to record an original item, “Reuben’s Big Day Out,” and send it to former PM Paul Keating, to whom it is dedicated. (Note to self: must get on to that.)

Peggie Nairn was a much-loved lady I only knew for about a year and half, though we did have some long talks. She cared deeply for all her close and extended family and welcomed me into that family right from the start. So thoughtful and always thinking of others. She is sorely missed.

Hills Choir 30th anniversary concert & party

The Hills Choir Inc. celebrated their 30th anniversary with a lovely concert on 11 December 2016 and a private party a week later.

Jean Bourgault conducted the choir for her final performance (again). Next year the conductor’s role will be taken by the very talented local singer, Storme Reeves.

Sitting in the audience I was privileged to hear a string of wonderful performances by the choir and the long list of guest performers including the student percussion ensemble of Eastern Hills Senior High School in Mount Helena, Western Australia, where the concert was held.

There’s always a bit of nostalgia for me when I listen, play or sing in this wonderful and fairly new auditorium at EHSHS. In the 1970s I was a student there, doing years 8, 9 and 10 before heading ‘down the hill’ to Governor Stirling SHS to do my final two years before university. For years 11 and 12 I needed to change to Govo because Eastern Hills didn’t have a classroom music programme in those days, though in year 8 I did get six months of trumpet lessons in a demountable classroom with Sam Maher (a classmate for that, much better at trumpet than myself, was Phil Bourgault, one of Jean’s sons). Now the school has an amazing specialist music programme (largely developed I suspect by Maurice Bourgault, another son), with the student performers often participating in the choir’s concerts.

Jean Bourgault was the music teacher at the primary school next door. Her husband, Henri, taught me French in Year 8. Jean and Henri were classmates of my late father in teachers’ college (Dad was a mature age student) but I didn’t know this until a few years ago. Small town, Perth, eh?

Jean was never my teacher but I distinctly remember standing by the side of the road outside the schools showing her a small music theory book in which I’d written answers. She had a quick look at it and very politely and tactfully said “You ought to have a theory teacher.” This must have had quite an impact because I subsequently had a lot of theory teachers.

There’s no great review of the concert here from me, really just a few pics for posterity including the printed programme (zoom in to read it). More pics have been put up on a Facebook page.

At the party a week after the concert I had the opportunity to play a couple of original piano compositions which I completed earlier this year. Puck at Parkerville is a playful neo-baroque solo inspired by the mischievous character Puck from Shakespeare’s play A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which was produced in my childhood home, the Parkerville Amphitheatre, in the 1970s.

Rainbows Over Hovea is a moody but ultimately uplifting work inspired by the Jane Brook valley, particularly the lovely areas around the amphitheatre (which, despite its name, is in Hovea) and the John Forrest National Park. Both piano solos will be published soon.


Jean Bourgault conducting the Hills Choir. Eastern Hills Senior High School Auditorium, Mount Helena, Western Australia.


Bassoonist Melissa Mikucki accompanied by Brandon Scherrer.

Hayley Ferris playing Schubert's Impromptu Op. 90, No. 4 (piano solo).

Hayley Ferris playing Schubert’s Impromptu Op. 90, No. 4 in A flat (piano solo).

Storme Reeves singing Have Yourself a Merry Christmas, with Alan Banks

Storme Reeves singing Have Yourself a Merry Christmas, with Alan Banks

Hills Choir concert programme for 11 December 2016.

Hills Choir concert programme for 11 December 2016.

Hills Choir concert programme for 11 December 2016, inside pages.

Hills Choir concert programme for 11 December 2016, inside pages.

Below are pics from the large end-of-year Christmas Party at a private residence in Glen Forrest, 17 December 2016. Many former choir members were able to attend.

Choir history display board One.

Choir history Display Board One.

Chloe Mauger and Display board Two, which she had a big hand in making.

Chloe Mauger and Display Board Two, which she had a big hand in making. I saw myself in some of the pics on this board.

The piano on which I played Puck at Parkerville and Rainbows Over Hovea, plus another Schubert Impromptu (No. 3 in G flat).

Me at the party, sitting at the piano on which I played Puck at Parkerville and Rainbows Over Hovea, plus another Schubert Impromptu (Op. 90 No. 3 in G flat).

For these pics and more see

See the choir’s own website at

Please feel free to make a comment here and/or on Facebook.

Chidlow Recital, May 2016

With a couple of friends I held a classical music recital last week. We were  SO  STOKED  at the big attendance and all the great comments we got. Everyone had a great time and it seems it was a tremendous success. Yay us!

We three had a lot of fun preparing for the event, and we really enjoyed playing and singing our favourite music. It is such a joy to share music you love with a really appreciative audience. We held it at the Chidlow Hall, built in 1905 in the Shire of Mundaring, way out east past the hills of Perth, Western Australia. In recent years the Shire wanted to do away with the hall but now the local residents have taken it over and are refurbishing it.

Audience at Chidlow Hall

Audience at Chidlow Hall

Many people told us they loved the way we all spoke about the music before playing it. They said they found the music easier to follow and it made it all the more enjoyable. I can well understand that as I got used to hearing quite a bit of spoken introduction in countless wonderful performances I attended when I was a university student. It just seems like common sense to me and I don’t understand why anyone would do otherwise. In many situations it would be disrespectful, and unnatural, to simply walk up to the instrument and play without saying anything.

For my part, I talked about how I used to find Mozart’s music rather boring until I realised I was listening for something that is not in it. When I figured out how his style worked about ten years ago it was a revelation to me, and I think that resonated a lot with the big audience.

I illustrated the Bulgarian rhythm of a Bartók piece before playing it, and showed how it is identical to one of the most common and most loved rock or pop rhythms, sometimes known as the frug. Later someone asked me if that was from Bach, and I realised he thought I’d said ‘fugue.’

Naomi and Tony also gave very useful spoken insights into their guitar solos and songs, respectively (see the full programme below).

I took the opportunity to play a couple of original piano solos. I wrote Androgyne Prophecy in 1977 around my 16th birthday. Puck at Parkerville was completed just a month ago, and depicts the mischievous elf or sprite Puck, also known as Robin Goodfellow, from Shakespeare’s play A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The play was produced in my family’s Parkerville Amphitheatre ca. 1974.

Naomi Millett, classical guitar

Naomi Millett, classical guitar

Our programme:

Mix Margaret & Friends
Classical Music, Old and New

Naomi Millett, guitar
Toni Arndt, soprano
Margaret D. Jones, piano

Courante and Galliard by Silvus Leopold Weiss
The Maids in Constrite from the Jane Pickering Lute Book
Go From My Window from the Jane Pickering Lute Book
Allegretto in A major Op. 10 No. 4 by Matteo Carcassi
Alla Polacca (Polonaise) by Ferdinando Carulli

Lieder by Franz Schubert (b. 1797, d.1828) (accomp. by MDJ)
Romanze (from Rosamunde)
Liebhaber in Allen Gestalten
An Die Musik

Piano Sonata in C, K309 (first movement) (1777) by W.A. Mozart
Androgyne Prophecy (1977) by MDJ (sheet music available)
No. 6 of Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm (from Mikrokosmos, 1926 – 1939) by Béla Bartók

INTERVAL   Free refreshments

Sarabande by Francis Poulenc
Llanura by Reginald Smith Brindle
Estudio Sencillos No. V ‘Allegretto Montuno’ by Leo Brouwer
Allegro No. 26 by Brouwer
Movido/Rapido No. 20 by Brouwer

Two arias from Mozart’s opera, The Marriage of Figaro (1786) (accomp. by MDJ):
Porgi Amor
Non So Più

Song Without Words, Op. 19 No. 3 in A (1829-30) by Felix Mendelssohn
Sonatine (second movement) (1905) by Maurice Ravel
Puck at Parkerville by MDJ (2016)

About Naomi
For many years Naomi was the presenter of The Guitar Show on RTR 92.1 FM community radio. (The show is now called Plucked Strings.)

As a fine soloist and performer she has played guitar or mandola in many duos and other ensembles. She was an Arts journalist with The West Australian newspaper for fourteen years, where she interviewed many leading classical guitarists, and has been a leader in the classical guitar (and mandolin) community of Perth behind the scenes. For many years Naomi has been an examiner for the Australian Music Examinations Board (AMEB).

Since having two children and moving to the Wheatbelt in 2007 Naomi has continued to teach, write, perform, record CDs and adjudicate at eisteddfodau, most recently the successful Pilbara Music Festival held in Port Hedland. She works part time in consumer advocate/peer support areas with the WA Health Department.

About Toni
Well-known to Hills audiences for her many solo appearances at concerts with the Hills Choir, Toni has a great love of soprano arias and art song. Her extensive repertoire includes Lieder and other music by Mozart, Schubert, Schumann and Fauré.

About Margaret
Margaret grew up inside the Parkerville Amphitheatre, which her family founded and ran from 1966 to 2001. See

For five years Margaret studied composition at UWA with Roger Smalley AM. Margaret’s piano compositions have been in the AMEB exam syllabus for many years. See her extensive website at for sheet music, free recordings and videos, and information about her many musical qualifications and accomplishments. Margaret is available to play her wide repertoire of classical music for private functions, cafes, exhibitions and book launches.

Margaret is an androgyne (a type of non-binary transgender) and is referred to as she or they. Instead of Miss or Mr, her title is Mx (Mix). Margaret has continuously used Mx since 2002 and is one of its earliest adopters. This honorific title was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in its online form in 2015 (see Margaret’s major online article on Mx/Mix, with a little about the singular they).

Many thanks to Kim Graham (Chidlow Progress Association), young Clive (Fuzzy) Millett, and to all those who helped spread the word.

More info (including how to buy scores online):

7.30pm Friday May 20, 2016 at Chidlow Hall, Chidlow, Western Australia.


Soul Tree is on the market, with no piano

This amazing organic café in Glen Forrest in the Perth Hills is now up for sale. In the few years Marilyn and Charl have owned and run it they have completely transformed it in almost every way.

In December I gave my last performance there. I’ve discontinued my piano playing residency at the café partly because of the uncertainty over the ownership, but also because I’ve been playing there two to five times a month for fourteen months and it feels like it’s time for a little break.

All the staff and patrons have been delightful. It’s been wonderful playing three hours each time from a repertoire of maybe 10 or 12 hours’ worth of scores, but there are other works I couldn’t play there because they aren’t suitable for creating a relaxing, laid-back atmosphere.

A few originals were sneaked in and were always very well-received. Recently my creative music-composing side has been taking off (well, slightly), so I will soon have more original works to perform, somewhere.

But if you’re looking for very delicious and very healthy food and drink in daylight hours, check them out


Zig Zag gallery video now online

Anne-Marie & her daughter, Sophie, have made a lovely video showcasing the artwork from the exhibition at the Zig Zag gallery in June, which features my piano music as the sound track. Very interesting and unusual artwork by three artists: Anne-Marie Wharrie, Christiana Gagiano and Sultana Shamshi.

Making the piano recording was quite a job, lots of wrestling with the computer, devices losing communication etc, but the effort was worth the result.

See Anne-Marie’s channel at

See my previous blog post about playing at the Zig Zag:

New edition of Androgyne Prophecy

1st page

1st page Androgyne Prophecy

Today I will pick-up from the printers the new sheet music for Androgyne Prophecy. Yay! It’s only been eleven years since the first edition, but who’s counting?

I will make more videos of it and a really good recording soon. In the meantime you can see me play the whole piece at

To get your copy of the sheet music click on the green Shopify buttons below, or see HMP Sheet Music to buy direct with a cheque or direct credit. There is also an easy version.

Or drop-in to hear me play at Soul Tree Organic Cafe and get the special price of $15 and save on the p&h too!

I play there on the 2nd & 4th Sundays of each month, so 23 August, 13 & 27 September 2015, 12 noon to closing time at 3pm.

Of course, they also have the most amazing food, very special indeed. See you soon for coffee, cake and music?

Zig Zag Art Gallery Exhibition music

I had a wonderful time playing some of my favourite piano music at the Zig Zag Cultural Centre’s Art Gallery in Kalamunda a few weeks ago. It was the launch of the three-artist M.A.M.A. exhibition, which runs until 5th July 2015.

Over about two hours I played my Androgyne Prophecy (1977) and lots of pieces by Bach, Chopin, Schumann & MacDowell. This was all for ‘background’ or setting a mood, and many people told me how much they liked my playing and liked the effect.

The three artists in the exhibition are Anne-Marie Wharrie, Christiana Gagiano, and Sultana Shamshi. The guest speaker on opening night was Dominic Savio, monk and artist. Danielle and Sophie, daughters of textile artist Anne-Marie, took some great photos (below). There was a large and enthusiastic crowd most of the time.

It was nice to catch up with Andrew Partington (with the cap), a fellow UWA music student from way back.

This lovely exhibition is called M.A.M.A. (Mother.Artists.Mother.Artists.), with all the dots,  because these roles (being a mother and being an artist) keep getting interrupted. See and

Anne-Marie is now making me a really nice fabric covering for my digital piano to replace the temporary one used on the night. Then I’ll be all set to play for more launches!

See my second blog post about Anne-Marie’s art. She used an original piano composition of mine as the sound track for a video:

.20150605.07 MDJ at Zig Zag7220150605.10 MDJ at Zig Zag7220150605.12 MDJ at Zig Zag, pic by Danielle W 7220150605.13 MDJ at Zig Zag, pics by Danielle W 72

Remodelled Soul Tree Organic Café

Today I played piano in the new-look café. It’s quite a different shape and now has a long wooden wall down one side. Everyone said it made the digital piano sound really nice & warm with a rich, full tone much more like an acoustic piano.

A Facebook friend from uni days, flautist & teacher Linda Rossen, turned up with her mother, Iris, and her composer/guitarist son, Max. During my break it was so good to catch up in person. Iris requested Chopin so I played five of my favourite mazurkas. It was very nice to have three pairs of very finely-tuned classical music ears to play for! (Sorry, didn’t get a photo.)

Later my brother Lawrence, and his ladyfriend Lori (direct from Oklahoma City), came in for an organic beef burger. Great to finally meet the lovely Lori in person.

I played a couple of Jones originals: Kuljack and the White Swan (a pas de deux), piano music for ballet which my father composed in 1962 when I was one, and my own Androgyne Prophecy, composed when I was 15/16. Now Lori wants my music for her school teaching so I will have to prioritise my recording project.20150614.04 Soul Tree, Lori & MDJ72 20150614.15 Soul Tree, LJJ & Lori72

See my main site for Classical Sundays at Soul Tree Organic Cafe

Caramel Splash (smoothie) at Soul Tree Organic Café


Caramel Splash (smoothie) at Soul Tree Organic Café

On Saturday I had lunch at the cafe in Glen Forrest (and the next day I played piano there). Marilyn (one of the cafe owners) had shared a post on FB about a Choice magazine article on sugary drinks so I really wanted to check out her smoothies which she said were “super healthy, organic smoothies.” See her post at

I’m particularly keen to avoid or reduce consumption of fructose so I asked her what was in her Caramel Splash. I really wanted to know if it had any kind of sweetener in it.  BTW, it tasted GREAT, and the caramel taste is not achieved with any sort of caramel flavouring thingy nor by heating sugar (nor anything else).

Turns out they have three smoothies made with almond milk, and three made with mostly water. If I remember correctly the Caramel Splash is about three-quarters almond milk, plus banana, Maca, mesquite and date. And that’s it.

So, the sweetener is fruit i.e. fructose. However, it begins as whole pieces of fruit and not fruit juice, which must mean there is not really a lot of fructose in the glass and it’s going to take longer to be absorbed. The almond milk has no sugar of any kind. (Soul Tree also sell fruit juice which I would never drink because of all the fructose in it but some people like that and that’s their business.)

So, my conclusion is: safe to drink, nutritious, and absolutely delicious.