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Musicians Mary & Chloe: Uplifting Lockdown with Quaran-tunes

14 June 2020

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Meet second years students, percussionist Mary Johnson, and violinist Chloe Dickens:


We’ve written songs for people all over College and beyond!



We love writing songs so when lockdown started we asked instagram – Does anyone want a song to keep their mood uplifted?


Our only problem now is, the more we posted, the more requests we had: we’re now at 60 songs and counting!



The first song is for our good friends Flora and Julia, who graduated from RWCMD last year, and run the awesome organisation @WomenCan100, celebrating feminism and pushing for further change in the arts and beyond.

We follow a theme for writing our short songs, taking a song that reminds us of the person and change the lyrics to personalise them.

Take, for example, Celeste’s song. She’s a first year designer currently isolated in France and is learning to play the ukulele as a lockdown hobby. The song we chose for her was Frere Jaques, a famous French lullaby and we changed the lyrics to: “Celeste is in France, Celeste is in France, safe and sound, safe and sound. Learning ukulele, singing on the daily. Laughs all round. Laughs all round.”

You can keep up with all our Quaran-tunes on Instagram – follow @maryjdizzle and @chlodamodaboda.

Why did you come to Royal Welsh College?

Mary: “I loved how encouraging my tutors were about supporting my different interests that weren’t necessarily exclusive to percussion. I just get to do what I love in a really open and warm environment.

So far I’ve enjoyed the variety of ensembles and projects I’ve had the chance to take part in. My favourites so far have definitely been playing in Christmas on Broadway (I’m sure some people will remember by enthusiastic tambourine playing from the back), and playing on stage in the final year Richard Burton show, Stupid F***ing Bird.”

Mary, back left, tambourine at her side, and Chloe, front left, in the pink jumpsuit playing in the Dora Stoutzker Hall for Christmas on Broadway

Chloe: “What swung my decision to come to College was actually my audition day! I remember leaving the building feeling so happy and excited by the prospect of going there.

“I would call it a really good vibe but maybe one could call it intuition? I say that now because practically every time I visit home I really pat myself on the back in terms of that decision.”

“My first two years at College have been an absolute blast. One of the highlights was a workshop from the group Barokksolistene which had us singing and dancing and playing upside down!

Orchestradventure also springs to mind, as this year I was lucky enough to play Beethoven’s father/love interest/construction worker/messenger! (though not all at the same time you’ll be pleased to know), alongside the marvelously talented host Ruth Rosales.

Chloe as Beethoven’s love interest in Orchestradventure’s 2020 celebration of his 250th anniversary at St David’s Hall. Photo: Kirsten McTernan

What are you missing about College Life? 

Mary: “I’m missing my friends and the general Royal Welsh College atmosphere. Chloe and I were due to start work on the designers puppetry project this term which I was really looking forward to, but it’s been fantastic watching their progress online.

I’m also really missing Live Music Thursdays, where a College band performs and everyone has a fun night. More recently, for International Women’s Day, I organised a Spice Girls night with jazz student Siobhan Waters. I can’t wait to get the chance to boogie down again.”

Chloe: “It sounds simple, but I’m really missing the foyer. I’ve found myself picturing the many different scenes that it shapeshifts through on a weekly basis. Hail pegging it down outside while we enjoy a peaceful string quartet, or a gorgeous sunset backdropping the jazz on a Friday.

There’s just nowhere like it.

With thanks to our friend, composition student Natalie Roe for putting the vlog together.

Find out more about studying Percussion and Strings at the College.

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