top of page

Dear Boris, Nicola, Keir, Ed...

Magic power of music to mentally and physically heal.

The letter below has been sent individually to the leaders of all the UK parties. A health warning, this letter is NOT political in any way. It is just a short true tale of lives touched by music in an ordinary rep theatre, one ordinary evening, where I was trying to do my best to play well but...

Included in the letter to the party leaders is a link to a song of which these are a few of the opening lyrics:

Something's at the edge of your mind

You don't know what it is

Something you were hoping to find

But you're not sure what it is

Then you hear the music

It all comes crystal clear

The music does the talking

Says the things you want to hear.

Magic Power by Triumph (Candadian rock band from their truly excellent 1981 album Allied Forces). It still says it best about the power of music IMO.

I will post any replies received.

Dear Boris, Nicola, Keir, Ed, Liz, Caroline, Oliver, 

Cc David John Warburton (MP for Somerton and Frome), 

I genuinely believe that all of you want the people you serve and represent to be healthy in body and mind. This is despite, sadly, the polarised views on social media and some other outlets. You are all, at heart, I believe good people and want our nation's people to be healthy in mind and body. The methodology of how to get there is the debate.

With this in mind I would like to share one recent true story from my life as a professional musician. 

Before lockdown I was in a local rep theatre undertaking the evening job. I was sitting in an open pit at the end of a performance of the Monty Python show Spamalot. This had not been not one of my better nights as a professional trumpet player in the theatre. I was feeling low, frustrated and certainly angry with myself. As I packed my trumpet and mutes away a middle aged woman and a younger women in her twenties appeared over the curtain rail of the open pit and a short conversation flowed between us as follows:

Middle aged woman: Thank you so much for tonight we really enjoyed it.

Me: (rather embarrassed that anyone could enjoy what I had just dished up): Thank you. Glad you enjoyed it.

Silence, the two women walked away and after some moments they came back.

Middle aged woman: Excuse me I just wanted you to know that my husband was a huge Monty Python fan and he loved this show. 

Me: ... It is a really good show (actually thinking… hmm… apart from me tonight)

Middle aged woman: We bought my husband a ticket for tonight's show but he couldn't be here tonight.

Me: There are other performances this week that I think still have tickets available.

Middle aged woman: He died suddenly two weeks ago that is why you could probably see there was an empty seat next to us. 

Me: (shocked) I am so sorry to hear this.

Middle aged woman: (turning to the younger woman) This is his daughter.

Me: Hello

Daughter: Hello. We weren’t going to come tonight but due to dad's passing decided at the last minute we would… actually it turned out it was the best tonic we could have wished for... we laughed so much especially at all the places we know dad would have laughed.

Middle aged woman: Anyway... thank you so much.

Daughter: Yes thank you.

Me: (suddenly realising the insignificance and stupidity of wallowing in my self pity of my mistake notes in life's grand plan) A pleasure.

The two women walk away for a second time never to be seen by me again.

Consequently I sat there mixed up in a ball of shame, embarrassment but also puzzling in total awe of the power of music to reach where medicine, mental and social care can't go alone. Obsessed with the consequences of my own playing that night, I had forgotten the whole point of performing live. Actually the whole point of music. Shame on me.

No matter what the live performance is, the good, the bad, the indifferent and whatever the venue from village hall to Albert Hall, as a musician you never really know what effect of this amazing thing you can't touch or see, can do to heal. Without knowing or even meeting the listener music comforts, supports or carries someone through the worst of times and helps celebrate the best of days.

I am unable to provide you with any written statistics, pie charts, graphs or hard evidence that shows the performing arts heals and cares for the soul. I am unable to show you before and after pictures of millions of people healed by music, poetry, art, sculpture, dance, theatre or photographs and designs. I am unable to show you films of the millions of people across the world that the arts continue to help in some way to cope with mental and physical pain, loss of a loved one, stress, anxiety, loneliness, fear, panic and all other human emotions we know exist and those we don’t. I am also unable to show you x-rays of the population's spirit so you can see where their damage lies and where art and music can heal. 

I am unable to do so because the ‘bit’ that needs your support exists deep inside us all alongside our physical and the mental. This 'bit' can not be seen, touched or even taken out and examined. As I write I am sure of one thing, every one of you has had their heart and soul touched by performing artists regardless of the colour of your party’s beliefs and your own. 

This is your own hard evidence. This you already have within you to know that the performing arts are an essential part of all of your honourable wishes to support and heal the nations you serve. Our soul is the core part of the complex puzzle of human well being. Young, old, babies, teenagers, middle aged, the rich, the poor and all those in between have been touched by or turned to music in need of comfort and strength. Music can touch every one of us where medical instruments, robots, machines and medicines simply can’t reach. 

Please refrain from a reply to this if your answer is to be a run of the mill, (but understandable), reply of ‘the arts are valued but it's about financial restraints and difficult times’. You are correct ....... in part. Please reply because you care and know that the society you seek to build and strengthen needs the performing arts. Every life on this earth is touched by them in some way, daily, hourly, every second. Reply because you can can recall your own experiences where music came to your need to feel the power of music helping at times of difficulty and challenge. 

These are private feelings. We all feel different things and emotions listening to exactly the same piece of music… wow!

I wish all of you well in your efforts to do what you believe is right. I believe you all went into politics to change the world into a better place. In moments when you are away from the glare of criticism and analysis, the severe stresses and the considerable responsibilities you carry, music is there for you too. Music is a magic power bringing comfort, strength, reassurance, peace of mind often during horrendous circumstances. 

As a possible song for you to play I suggest the classic rock song by Canadian band Triumph, entitled Magic Power from their 1981 album Allied Forces. I bought this LP when it came out when I was just 19 (I am 58 now). This song said it all to me then and it still says it all to me 30 years later. Here is a link to the song and its lyrics:

Please do all you can to support our performing arts. Yes for jobs, yes for GDP but most essential of all, for the benefits music and all performing arts bring to the health and mental wellbeing of every person in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and beyond. By doing so you can help every single person in this beautiful country of ours.

Thank you for your time.

Yours Sincerely,


bottom of page