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Journeys: Captain James Cook

Journeys: Captain James Cook

As a North Yorkshire based singer, songwriter and producer, I was interested in creating a musical project about one of the great heroes from the region, Captain James Cook.

After joining the Captain Cook Society, I encountered Frederick McKinnon, a New York City playwright and seasoned writer of librettos, who was searching for a new composer and a fellow Cook enthusiast to compose and professionally record music for his theatrical play. I joined forces with Fred to collaborate on development of a full-length musical play about Captain Cook’s accomplishments and his demise as well as the loving relationship between him and his wife Elizabeth.

I thoroughly studied Fred's lyrics and created music to convey the drama, character and aura of each scene. I brought out the emotions of each scene using classic rock/pop and funk music styles. Although Fred and I are 3000 miles apart, we were nonetheless able to establish an efficient working relationship by utilising frequent teleconferencing and listening to recordings via Dropbox, to discuss the script and songs. By the end of 2014, I had written and demoed most of the 21 songs to both our approval, including arrangements of 2 songs of original composer John Saclausa, which had not been previously recorded or scored professionally.

I then engaged 8 singers to perform the songs and dialogue. In July 2015, I released the first CD featuring 6 songs from the play, which is available here. Later, in September 2015 I performed as a resident artist at the Staithes Arts festival to promote the play.

I cooperated with a Sibelius expert to produce the entire score with lead sheets, for the full-length musical, which we completed and made available by November 2015. During Fred’s visit to my Northern Soundscapes Studio in December 2015, we finalised all 29 scenes for the double CD audio version and in February 2016, we successfully launched full-length audio version of ‘Journeys’, receiving excellent feedback.