In the third big total theatre work at Linwood High School the team was enlarged by the arrival of Graeme Tetley who suggested a setting of Grimmelshausen’s Simplicius Simplicissimus. Here I tried involving the pupils in the writing of some of the music, something which was even more time-consuming than writing it myself. However I was to learn a lot in the process: Norrie Gibson, a student, had the job of writing a piece for Simplicius’ awakening after he’d been sewn into a fool’s costume. His piece was for girls’ chorus and it required them to sing clusters. We talked about giving each of the girls a chime bar with their note (each girl sang only one note in the whole piece - and a different one from all the others!) but finished up giving them tuned pipes - off-cuts of plastic down-pipe which resonated when one sings the correct note. These tuned pipes had a special psychological effect in that each girl felt important with her “own instrument”.

I later used similar pipes for the Royal Christchurch Musical Society in my Ever-Circling Light. Without Norrie’s influence this work would have been quite different and not as good.

Ladies of the Royal Christchurch Musical Society singing through tuned pipes