Howard Hill

…and this is my website!


Lockdown 2020

The biggest impact of the C-19 virus was that I have only done one paid gig this year. I normally do around 50 or 60 gigs a year (a mixture of paid and unpaid events). The one I did was with Jigworks playing a Burns’ Supper in the Officer’s Mess at RAF Benson. Dear me – that lot can’t half drink. I can see why they call it a mess.

So, no more music for Howard in 2020? Well, no. Using the well known “let’s do this” algorithm, I managed to play loads of times this year. I almost always played outside where it is breezy and therefore, very safe.

Recently, I’ve just completed a couple of music videos to contribute to Wantage Mayor’s Carols in December (Zoom and Facebook Live). And Melobo will be performing live in the Christmas Markets held in Wantage Marketplace on the three Sundays leading up to Christmas.

I was the recipient of a “Thank you for the music” award from the Ray Collins Charitable Trust. I’m very proud of that.

Whoosya did a Facebook Live gig in May in our back garden. Mostly country blues. Then in June I played outside in Wantage for the local disability group.

Troubshort and Turnipseed recorded a video in Mr Troubshort’s garden. I played in the band, and recorded and edited the video too. It was eventually broadcast as part of “The Friday Sessions” by the Cornerstone Arts Centre, Didcot.

The Kerfunken Jig

Rob That Train

Troubshort and Turnipseed

Busking in Abingdon


The Fox, Denchworth

Howard and Dave

Playing for Wantage Mobility Group

The Vale Islanders

The Fox, Denchworth

Slow Session

Streaming from Justin’s garden


Busking in Wantage


Busking in Wantage

Vineyard Trio

Busking in Wantage

Howard in Wantage

VE Day

VE Day I busked in our street, singing jolly WW2 songs and playing my ukulele. quite a few neighbours appeared to find out what the racket was all about, but thank goodness, they all joined in with the singing. They even applauded once I’d finished. Well they would, wouldn’t they.

I started up my “Wantage Presents” series for a couple of months between lockdowns, performing outside with Melobo, Troubshort and Turnipseed, Whoosya and The Vineyard Trio. We raised money for Oxfordshire Mind, Thames Valley Air Ambulance, Autism Family Support and October Club (Dementia) charities. All of these gigs were enormous fun.

I got to play several times with Melobo in pubs. All very carefully managed and safely distanced.

I put together 3 music videos of Melobo, where we all play separately and synchronise them together, as if we are with each other. It was a challenge, but having seen so many of these videos with other groups, I thought I had to give it a try. It worked!

I took part in two of John Spiers’ Isolation Pub Sessions. It was a real privilege to be able to play along with a superb musician of international standing, even if it was all done with oodles of smoke and mirrors. By that I mean synchronised video.

Sadly, no gigs with my dance groups took place. The Vale Islanders got together a few times in a paddock to try and work out some socially distanced versions of dances (to give that authentic Black Plague vibe) but it turned out to be a bit too tricky really. I attended a few outdoor Cornucopia practices.

No music with Pandemonium either. For various reasons, I was the only one willing and able to play outside, so that was that. Shame. Not just for us, but for the (mostly) community groups that we love to support. In the same way, Hendred Ukulele Group, also great supporters of community groups, has not been able to play any gigs.

I’ve not been able to play for Ray Collins’ Charitable Trust, nor busk around the pubs with the Street Pastors, or lead “Singing for the brain” for the Alzheimer’s Society.

I busked in Abingdon and Didcot with Troubshort and Turnipseed raising money for the Thames Valley Air Ambulance. And we also did an outdoor gig in Berkshire. In the rain. The band and audience were all in gazebos scattered around a field. Bonkers, but great fun.

And of course I did the usual crop of Zoom music (really good to chat, but not much fun musically) with Hendred Ukulele Group, the Wantage Slow Session and Cornucopia.

So all in all, it’s actually been a really great year for music, albeit very different and without any income.

Howard xx