Bray-based singer and psychotherapist Anne Randolph spent lockdown delving deep into the back catalogues of musicians she adored and others she’d never played before.
he result of these discoveries is set to be heard in a brand new show, her first in three years, at The Whale Theatre in Greystones on September 17.
“The show is out first big show since Covid so it’s a wonderful celebration of being able to connect with an audience again and sing beautiful songs,” beamed Anne.
‘Autumn Songs For All Seasons’ sees Anne and her band tell the stories of songs with an autumnal theme. Some come from artists in the autumn of their careers. Others speak of transition or follow the feeling of abundance brought on by an autumn harvest.
“The show is our first big show since Covid so it’s a wonderful celebration of being able to connect with an audience again and sing beautiful songs,” beamed Anne. “Autumn has many connotations. I searched for songs that pertain to the theme of autumn. There’ll be a mixture of Joni Mitchell, Sandy Denny, Janis Ian, and I even have Tom Paxton and Willie Nelson to give the Anne Randolph Band treatment to.”
She added: “Lockdown was an opportunity for me to broaden my range of music. Once I found one nice song from a particular artist, I went deeper. Through Covid I picked up a few beauties. This just seemed a perfect opportunity to sing beautiful songs that don’t generally get heard or might have been in obscurity for a while.
“There’s great artists like Tom Paxton, whom I would never have considered in the past, because I just never came across him. He is the most phenomenal poet and songwriter, he just inspires me. He’s in his 80s now. The autumn of his life.”
Craving the buzz of performance, Anne learnt many of the new songs she stumbled upon during her deep dives and sang them live on Facebook. It was all she had to feed her passion, but it was no substitute for the real thing. She always had her eye on a return to the stage.
“I love to tell the story of the songs when I present them, so there will be a flow to the evening,” she said. “We are going to take you on a journey. There is a connection from beginning to end and I absolutely love singing to an audience. I like to be able to see them. I’m probably at heart a storyteller and a singer – I will sing other people’s songs and try to communicate with the crowd.
“The Whale has always been very kind to me and I’m delighted to be coming back there for this special show.”
Anne herself is in the autumn of her life, making her deeply-rooted in the theme. But she has chosen to focus on the life-giving power of such a time. She has never shied away from big change.
“I worked in the corporate world for a long time in HR,” she explained. “I came across many issues with people while I worked in that field and then I got ill myself in 2003 and psychotherapy was very supportive for me. Most psychotherapists can be called the ‘wounded healer’, we’ve been through something ourselves and come through it.
“I just found it so helpful I wanted to be able to give that back to other people, so I began training.”
Anne now has a Masters in Adolescent Psychotherapy and Diploma in Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy and is a Director of the Leinster Adolescent Psychotherapy and Counselling Centre (LAPCC), located in Bray and Celbridge. As her qualifications suggest, she specialises in working with those aged 13-25.
“To be able to support young people in that way seemed very important to me,” she said. “That’s why I specialise in it, and they are wonderful because many will have a poem or be able to sing a song, and I’ll be open to their creativity and they really appreciate that.”
Music itself can be therapeutic and sometimes Anne sings to groups who might benefit from connecting with a melody, like people with Alzheimer’s. She sees a crossover between her passion and profession.
“Music has always been in my life and I have always sang,” she said. “I came across a photograph the other day of me on a stage in 1972 and thought ‘my, that’s a very long time ago!’.
“It’s always been in the background, but then I got a job, as one does, and that became the focus. I obviously sang, but more for my own enjoyment. I’m happy to take the opportunity now to do more of it. It’s quite a lovely thing to work in the environment of psychotherapy, but then to have the music as another side to me. It brings me comfort in a busy world.”
She added: “To be able to express something that is going on on the inside, making it concrete by putting it into poetry or songs it is cathartic. No doubt about it.”