Robert playing in a dance band at a dance in East Grinstead, directing Fetcham choir and a string quartet from the harpsichord in a performance of St Luke Passion by Bach, and playing “cocktail piano” at a formal function in his home town of Ewell.
Robert Leach is a qualified and experienced musician.
He plays piano, organ and harpsichord, and is a choirmaster. His compositions and arrangements have been published and performed on radio and in concerts.
He regularly plays piano in the 42nd Street dance band, and stands in for pianists in other bands. Until recently, he was the organist and choirmaster at his parish church of Cuddington.
Other musical activity has included accompanying singers on the piano, playing harpsichord continuo in baroque works, and playing in scratch bands to accompany musical shows.
Robert with Christopher Slater at the performance of the Organ Symphony; and in the robes of a Fellow of the Guild of Musicians and Singers with his daughter Sarah (who is an Associate of the Guild).
The high watermark of Robert’s musicianship was in 2000, when he was the organ soloist in a performance of Saint-Saens’ organ symphony which requires a 60-piece orchestra, conducted by Prof Christopher Slater (shown above).
He has three music diplomas in addition to accounting qualifications: ATCL (organ playing); ACertCM (church music) and FGMS (general musicianship). He is a full member of the Incorporated Society of Musicians.
Robert was taught the piano as a child by his father, a music teacher. As a teenager he learned the organ from the eminent organist and composer Donald Cashmore. More recently he had lessons from Martin Baker, then sub organist at Westminster Abbey who played for Princess Diana’s funeral.
For two years, Robert was the Church of England’s representative on the board of the Royal School of Church Music. He is currently a member of council of the Guild of Church Musicians. In 2005, he co-wrote with a lawyer the book Everything Else an Organist Should Know and has lectured and advised dozens of organists in administrative issues relating to their work.
Here Robert is a stand-in pianist with the Bill Geldard Band at a gig in November 2010 playing The Carioca
Bill Geldard was the trombonist in the Ted Heath Band, and also played for Mantovani.
And here you will find a You Tube clip of 42nd Street (the band in which he regularly plays) playing Charleston Crazy for Help for Heroes function at a shopping centre in East Grinstead in March 2011. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkkrldB8lgw
Here are some other songs played by 42nd Street. All these recordings were made during live gigs in 2012 and 2013.
Strangers In The Night
Jump Jive And Wail
Mack The Knife
Let Me Try Again
Blue Suede Shoes
High Wire (this was recorded in the open air at Christmas 2012 when the temperature was 2C! It is the only occasion I have played electric harpsichord).
On Palm Sunday and Good Friday in 2013, I conducted the choirs of St Mary’s, Cuddington and St Matthew’s, Surbiton in two performances of the St Luke Passion, attributed to Bach. The singers were accompanied by a string quartet and harpsichord. Here is some of the performance:
20 Crucify Him
23 Gracious Father, Hear Thy Son
31 O Jesu Christ
Cuddington church choir has also sung music in a lighter vein, including:
Heavenly Aeroplane, an anthem by John Rutter about Christ’s second coming at the carol service in 2012. (I am playing piano.)
I The Lord Of Sea And Sky, the modern worship song. I play the organ, with a band in my arrangement for guitar, bass, drums and two trumpets, sung at an induction service in 2012
As You Cleanse Me, an old worship song published in Youth Praise 1 and which I have never heard performed before. I play the jazzy piano part.
No forgetting that I am an accountant, I use an electric organ with lots of gimmicks to record Taxman by George Harrison: emp1 51
And on the piano, I play the start of Beethoven’s Rage Over A Lost Penny: temp1 58
In 1997, I conducted the choirs of Leatherhead and Cuddington, and the Slater Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Handel’s Messiah. Here is Hallelujah Chorus: temp1 15
And the Amen Chorus: temp0 23
My first attempt at a digital multi-track recording:
O Lord It’s Hard To Be Humble (When You’re Perfect In Every Way)(1)
This is a recording of After The Ball Is Over as a piano duet played with my late father in 1994 when he visited us on Christmas Eve. My father was largely self-taught as a pianist, copying the easy listening style of the pre-war entertainer Charlie Kunz. I copied my father’s style. As I had an old cassette player set up, I recorded us playing various tunes, unrehearsed and in a single take: temp1 35
Between 1977 and 1980, I was the choirmaster at St Paul’s Church, Howell Hill. These are some recordings of anthems from these years:
A New Commandment. My arrangement of this (then) new worship song: temp1
The Three Kings by Peter Cornelius. I believe the choirboy solo is Alan Ainsworth: temp0 15
Cowboy Carol by Malcolm Sargent. I am conducting and also fire the gun at the end: temp0 12
Il Est Ne, Le Divin Enfant, the traditional French carol arranged by John Rutter, with percussion arranged by me: temp0 9
Holy Child is a modern Christmas song from Youth Praise 2. For this performance, I wrote a counter-melody sung by the choir while Liz Fairhurst sings the solo: temp0 6
This Little Babe is by Benjamin Britten from Ceremony of Carols. I conduct: temp1 8
On A Starry Night. My arrangement (and extra verse) of this Salvation Army carol: temp1 7
In the early 1970s, I ran an orchestra called Lotusharmonic Jesus Orchestra. This is a recording of the orchestra performing a song I wrote called Juggler of Rheims. It is the story that has long intrigued me of a juggler who becomes a Christian, joins a monastery, and finds that his only gift is juggling. So he offers that to God. This is a rather scratchy recording taken from a gramophone record. In addition to writing the song, I conduct it, and play the organ and bang the gong. The singer is Jo Walker: 2 Juggler of Rheims.
From the same recording session (and the same scratchy record) we recorded Elegy for Marie-Jacques, a beautiful if obscure song by The Singing Nun who had a freak hit in the 1960s with Dominique. It speaks of the inner loneliness we can suffer compared with what we imagine to be the happiness of everyone else around us. The singer is again Jo. In addition to orchestrating the song, I play the harpsichord: 3 Elegy for Marie-Jacques