FAB Distribution (Double CD)

At the end of November each year, I start to get very anxious, in pulling out my favourite Christmas C.D.s My favourite of all time is this double CD of “50 Classic Christmas Carols, Kings College Cambridge” directed by the late Sir David Willcock.

Along with all of the traditional carols, are some brilliant descants (countermelodies) written mostly by Sir David.  There are some delightful gems on this  CD such as “In the Bleak Mid-Winter”, Tavener’s “Little Lamb Who Made Thee,” “I Sing of a Maiden”  “The Holly and Ivy”, “Jesus Christ the Apple Tree,” “The Three Kings” (Cornilious)  and the “Sussex Carol” which is one of my favourites carol.

Sir David Willcocks was an icon in international choral music. He was a talented musician, organist, pianist, conductor, composer and arranger. Willcock’s musical arrangements for Christmas are legendary. We have a cannon of “Carols Book One-Three” and Willcocks also engaged John Rutter to write some marvellous arrangements.  These pieces are now classic arrangements for any professional to the non-professional choir to perform.

I highly recommend this CD of “50 Classic Carols” by Kings College Choir, as part of your Christmas music collection.  I especially love to put this recording on while I am decorating the tree or just having some “quiet time” during December, a week or so before Christmas.

Hearing the choral voicing,  organ, piano or other special instruments in the orchestra gives me such a feeling of peace” and as John Rutter, said recently in a documentary, “Hearing the music and being a part of King’s College Choir, let’s one put away all of the chaos of the world, for least two hours.” I so agree with Rutter’s statement!

The Advent season is one of my favourite times of the year. As I get to sing, speak out or share my faith to all through these fabulous carols or in singing “Handel’s Messiah” in December.  Now it’s time to bring out the plum pudding (with special sauce) and of course a cup of tea, Cheers!

What are your favourite Christmas carols?  Let us know your comments in the section below.


THE ESSENTIAL CAROL KING (Double CD, 2010, One Epic Legacy)
I have always loved the music and artistry of “Carol King.”  For me, it is her melodies, and the lyrics to such great hits as “You’ve Got a Friend”. It’s too Late”, You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman”, “Tapestry,” and “I Feel the Earth Move” and many more!  This CD is separated into two sections Disc 1 is “The Singer” and Disc 2 is “The Songwriter” and what a double CD this collection is!

As Carol King’s musical legacy is part of my “youthful years,” I wanted to be a “singer/songwriter.” I would purchase every new album that King would release.  I find for my ADHD issues, that King’s music brings to a “place of stability” and “homey-ness.” Some of these songs in this collection have a “rock and roll” focus. I usually don’t play them unless it is the end of the day or that I have “got all of my lists and my work completed.” How about you, how does Carol King’s music “make you feel”?


Baroque Violin, Venice Baroque Orchestra, (Sony Music, 2000)

I love this CD, and I play it frequently in my playlist! There is something about the Baroque Violin in its richness that is so different from traditional violins.  The first few cuts of these Vivaldi’s selections featured in the CD are speedy, and you need to go back and listen to them again.   The artistry of Giuliano Carmignola will leave you spellbound.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the selections that are performed from this CD.   List your comments below.

CD REVIEW: Music for the the ADHD Brain: YO YO MA RECORDINGS


I love the artistry of Yo-Yo Ma and his outstanding performances on the cello. There is something about the cello that is close to the human voice.  In “Bach” CD, I love the first piece “ Suite No 1 in G Major, BWV 1007”…there is something about this piece that if I have had a very or “stressful full day” with my ADHD. I put this CD on, especially on “reset” and I listen to this piece a few times as it calms my entire body down.  The rest of the CD is exceptional!  J.S. Bach’s music overall helps me when I want to focus or get mellow at the end of a remarkably busy day!

From the “Vivaldi’s Cello” CD, I love these two pieces “Concerto in G Minor for Two Cellos, Strings and Basso Continuo”  RV 531 and “Concerto in B Flat Major for Cello, Strings and Basso Continuo” RV 423, these pieces were written in the Baroque period. I love to put on these recordings when I am working in the office and have “fussy” work to do, such as filing papers or cleaning my office desk or organizing my library. 

From the “Classic Yo-Yo”  I love eclectic music and arrangements, so I would suggest you listen to Mark O’Connor’s “Appalachian Waltz.” Yo-Yo Ma also performs on the CD the “Traditional “Simple Gifts” (Copeland).  Depending on my mood, I love the music of Faure and his “IV, Allegro Molto” and also Rachmaninoff’s “Vocalise” these two pieces are very soothing and for me, brings a deep sense of peace to my spirit.” If you have never heard the “vocalise,” I would love to hear your impression of it in the comments below about this piece. /vc_column_text]

CD REVIEW: Music for the the ADHD Brain: A TREASURY OF HYMNS

Ralph Carmichael, Conductor and Arranger, London Symphony Orchestra and Choir (2004)

This is an exceptional CD of treasured hymns all arranged by the incredible Ralph Carmichael.  Carmichael was very well known in the 1950s, and through the 1970s; in the’50s Ralph worked with Capital Records and wrote arrangements for Nat King Cole.

If you want to know more about Carmichael, check out my book, in (Chapter 13: Praise Bands, Jesus Rock and Contemporary Worship) I interviewed Ralph in the early 90s. This CD, for me, brings “stability” as I was a child raised in the church and hymns were a part of my musical training, as well as learning the lyrics of these “traditional hymns.”

These hymns provide such a strong foundation for my faith.  Musically, you can’t get anyone better to listen to or enjoy than Carmichael’s arrangements. This CD details such favourites such as: “Oh For a Thousand Tongues to Sing”, “Jesus Shall Reign”, “And Can It Be That I Should Gain” (this piece is one of my favourites due to the bass part), “Holy, Holy, Holy” and “Just As I Am”. 


Kathleen Battle and Jessye Norman(1991, Deutsche Gramophone)All Posts

I have loved “spirituals” ever since I started to sing in choirs. This CD with these superb arrangements of traditional black spirituals are exceptional!  I receive a lot of peace when I listen to this type of music. I usually sing along either the melodies or the harmonies, if I know the piece.  Both Kathleen Battle and the late Jessye Norman are fantastic singers and are so talented, that they both can sing and perform anything!

I especially love the pieces “ In the Great Getting Up Morning”, “Oh What a Beautiful City,” and “Ride On, King Jesus” (Norman) and “There is a Balm in Gilead” (Battle).  This whole CD is so exceptional, and I hope that you will enjoy it!

Please in the comments below, let us know how you enjoyed this CD!


It was the summer of 1976, I was sixteen. I had places to go, music to learn and school friends to visit.  We four kids, (Anne, Ian, Janet and Andrew) had daily chores. Completion of these chores would result in a weekly allowance.

One of my duties was to help with the cooking of the dinner and then the cleaning up of the pots and pans. I hated doing the pots and pans!!

One particular summer’s evening, it was hot and I had made plans to connect with my best friend, Bill Bynum and walk to his place across the ravine. It would take about 20 minutes to walk. I wanted to get the dishes done and zip over to Bill’s house.   As usual, I would be complaining to my mother.  That night I asked for a favour could I leave the pots and pans for her to finish?  “NO”…was her response.

Not to cause a fuss, I did the pots and pans and started to put away the plates, cups, and saucers.  Wanting to get the job done, I stacked the dishes carelessly.  Closing the cupboard doors, I should have checked to make sure that all dishes were stacked properly.  About to leave the house, I noticed that I had missed a serving plate that needed to be put away.

As I opened the cupboard doors, there was such a roar as these plates, cups and sauces came bouncing off the countertop and then to the floor, smashing into thousands of mini pieces. I was in shock, standing there with this serving dish in my hand.

Was I in such a rush that I had just stacked the plates and other dishes any way-not noticing something wasn’t right? Was this an ADHD event or a typical teenage act of irresponsibility?

Both my mother and my father Bill came bolting into the kitchen.  My mother insisted that I clean up the broken china all over the floor and I did so. After the cleanup, my parents let me go, with the stern warning that “we would need to talk and that I would have to pay for all of the replacement of these dishes.” Specific details would follow when we had our “talk.”

The next Saturday morning, I had to accompany my mother to “Mills China Shoppe” in downtown Hamilton and we placed an order for the replacement dishes. I was embarrassed, and I asked my mother ahead of time as we walked into the store, not to tell the sales lady how these dishes got broken. Once the bill was presented to my mother for these items, it was decided that I would have five or ten dollars a month taken off my allowance.  I think that this punishment continued for six months.  Boy, did I learn my lesson!

Even today in my sixties, I check and double-check to make sure the plates, bowls and heavy mugs are placed correctly in the cupboard. In 2015, my siblings got together to clean out our parent’s home after they both had passed away. As we were cleaning up the kitchen area, I spotted the two cups and saucers and the platter of this china pattern and remembered this traumatic event. My siblings thought that it was only right (as most of these funds, to pay for the new dishes, had come from my allowance) that I should have these remaining china pieces for my own home.

Was it an ADHD moment? Was I not focused on the task ahead?   I choose not to remember. However,  I learned from this experience to do it right the first time!. Now I remember why I hate to clean “pots and pans.” as I have flashbacks to this eventful evening in my life!

QUESTION:?  Was it an ADHD moment or was it something in youthful folly?

Don’t be embarrassed, this is the place to share some of these youthful experiences and know that you are not alone!  Do you have a comment to add to this discussion?

Raising her voice four new Canadian female composers and their works-premiered with the Orpheus choir of Toronto


I’m merely bubbling from the Friday evening concert on March 8th, of the Orpheus Choir of Toronto’s concert celebrating “International Women’s Day, with their event entitled “Raising Her Voice” at Grace Church on the Hill, Toronto. For this reporter, this concert was one of the best produced choral concerts that I have ever attended, having been involved with the Orpheus Choir and its administration for many years!

A new partner for Orpheus Choir was the involvement of “Diaspora Dialogues” of Toronto, as they matched up Canadian four poets and composers, with their works by the late Priscila Uppal and Christine Donkin, (Careful, Careful), Shadi Eskandam and Ankia-France Forget, (A Prayer for Return), Phoebe Wang and Tawnie Olson, (Two Tea Bowls) and Yayo Yao and Katerina Gimon, (Beneath/Sound), these new works were such a delight of sounds and textures all premiered for this special “International Women’s Day” concert.

As usual Robert Cooper Artistic Director and Conductor, blended established Canadian and international female composers into this fantastic program by “Katerina Gimon, (O Virtus Sapientiae ), Ramona Luengen, (Celebremus), Cecilia McDowall, (I Know That My Redeemer Liveth), Jocelyn Morlock, (Exaudi),  Diane Loomer, (Ave Maris Stella), Gwyneth Walker, (I Thank You, God) and Sarah Quartel (How Can I Keep From Singing) provided such a balance between these established artists to these four new composers, joining the ranks of their established colleagues.  The Choir was magnificent and gave their best and at times, engaging with many animated moments from all of the selected mosaic of the works displayed by these female composers. I especially enjoyed “I Thank You God” by Gwyneth Walker and lyrics by the poet E.E. Cummings. Lots of joyful music and Cummings’ poems were shared by speaking out the lyrics, from the Choir to the audience- as a gift!

Photo from left to right, Tawnie Olson; Katerina Gimon; Robert Cooper, Artistic Director; Ankia-France Forget; Christine Donkin.

We were given such a divergence of ideas, of vocal ranges and emotions, genuinely demonstrated by these new composers that were showcased in this concert.  I especially enjoyed Twanie Olson’s “Two Tea Bowls” as the piece was divided into two movements. As I was listening intensively to the first movement, I was reminded of some of the same types of voicing, and motifs similar to Benjamin Britten’s work. The piece made me sit on the end of my chair, grasping the lyrics (lots of text) along with the difficult voicing, the Choir so beautifully performed the cacophonies of sound and dynamics.

I was engaged and so enjoyed Katerina Gimon’s “Beneath/Sound.” This piece had such texture in it as the lyrics speak of “beneath throat, breath, beneath breath, the earth” and you could imagine the levels of sedimentary rock displayed by choral layers of sound and its voicings-that was challenging and was the focal point of the evening with these newly commissioned works being premiered.

Bravo and Brava, to my fellow Orpheus Choir friends and to Robert Cooper, Ellse Naccarato, Apprentice Conductor, and Lisa Griffiths, and the Chorus of the Orpheus Choir of Toronto who worked very diligently on this concert and made it such a success!

Too bad, that we do not have CBC Radio’s “Choral Concert” anymore to feature this program for a national or international audience. I would encourage any choral conductor’s in my social media audience, to go and investigate all of these new works for your ensemble to perform in the future!

Where you at this amazing choral performance, what were some of your moments in the concert that you enjoyed? Let’s chat about this in the comments below.


by Ian Walker, ADHD Author, Musician and Vocal Artist

As I have discovered from the success of my book Stirring My Soul to Sing, Overcoming ADHD Through Song, (published by Word Alive Press, 2018) that during the writing process and in just getting my story out there; I forgot to include my music therapy methods and in going deeper with my techniques as an alternative instead of taking prescription drugs for one’s ADHD..

During my teen-age years, I was often exhausted, frustrated and bullied. I needed some therapy to bring my emotions back to square one. Peace came with an activity when I knew that I did well and in playing the piano or singing.

One tangible result was a strength to fight off negative feelings of depression and to build up self-esteem. When I went to this music therapy session at least three times per week I could function and survive another day.

I would suggest that for the person looking for help to listen to classical music, instrumental music (meditative in nature), folk music or selected positive pop music. DO NOT USE ROCK MUSIC…

FOCUS ON THE BRAIN AND BODY WORKING TOGETHER (Half an Hour to forty-minute exercise)

  1. Being a budding pianist and wanting to improve on my technique, I would start with practising my scales and arpeggios. When studying voice, I would use these same techniques with lots of “warming up vocal exercises.”.
  2. Techniques I developed were playing the piano piece and then dissecting it. These same applications were applied when developing a vocal piece or aria.



  1. I would practise songs or piano pieces that I enjoyed in order to have them in my repertoire so that I could have them ready to perform publicly.
  2. If you were interested in composition or just getting to know your chosen instrument, I would start to “fool around with” some new pieces and new sounds,. Challenge yourself. Follow your interests in various styles.



  1. Educate yourself on all types and expressions of music, theory, history and composition You will develop your passion for a specific composer, artist or instrument.
  2. ADHD folk are generally very intelligent people, I wanted to learn about different forms of music, popular song, jazz, classical, opera and folk. I also researched or in listened to other tonalities of other countries and their composers. With the aid of the internet, listening to varied sounds and styles of music is accessible.
  3. Personally, I am constantly reading and learning from biographies or autobiographies about varied creators, composers or artists. They have challenged me. A quiet confidence in myself has enhanced my self esteem.
  4. At the end of your daily exercise you need a “cool down period.”” Journal your progress. What new things did you do in your own musical therapy? What pieces or songs did you work on? Rate your performance. Are they ready for the public?
  5. Keeping track of your own progress is a good way to have a documented record. Showing this information to your doctor or medical professional is wisdom-letting them see your daily activity. This journal would be used to invite their suggestions and comments.

I invite your feedback at