Friday, 7 October 2016

Benslow Woodwind Band 2016

Tutoring at Benslow again so just enough time to do a photo diary...

Luxury accommodation!

View from the bathroom window
The picture hanging outside my room has some harps on it.
Maybe this was an early Benslow course.
George tries out the contra

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Giggleswick Day 3

Choir rehearsal in school chapel

Student concert

Trying out the bass sax

Monday, 8 August 2016

Giggleswick Day 2

An intense couple of days with something happening all the time! Took a bit of time out this evening to go into the village. Went back to a cache site!
Bird watching

View from cache site

Can you guess where it might be?

View from footbridge

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Summer week of music in Yorkshire

Just starting my first ever week-long course tutoring clarinet choir, woodwind ensemble and chamber winds. Not sure how much time I'll have so will start these posts as a photo diary. Up in Giggleswick. Did Route 65 as it ran along the edge of the Yorkshire Dales.

July 2015-July 2016

Been a bit busy and haven't upated the blog for a year. Also haven't really played the harp for a few months but will get back into it. Sorry to any readers who are still waiting to hear if Jan got her grade 3 and I'm pleased to report she did pass!

Lots of things have happened since then and I'll update on the various weddings and little performances when I get round to it. In the meantime work and life has centered around the single reed family!

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Grade 3 Flute Preparation - Update

Just a quick update for those following the preparations for Janet's Grade 3 Flute exam (which is tomorrow!).

We had a lovely day at Burwell House today. Janet has been running a weekend residential for her Saturday Workshop String Orchestra. They had been rehearsing Beethoven 7 and Mozart's Overture to The Impresario. For the final rehearsal and run through she invited a few friends and colleagues to read through the wind and brass parts to get the complete sound so as no other clarinettists were available I was eventually invited along to make up the numbers. After a short wind and brass reehasral and an enjoyable Sunday roast myself and Janet set ourselves up. When we announced we were going to play some Mozart everyone assumed it would be the Flute and Harp Concerto. "Oh no, that's for next year. This is the Aria from Don Giovanni."

We got through it really well with a couple of minor slips from each of us and the audience applauded heartily at the end. They were however a tough crowd as they demanded some scales from Janet. She was insistent that wasn't necessary and hastily gathered the Men's Barbershop Chorus that had been rehearsing during the breaks from playing and drinking/eating over the weekend. They were followed by the Women's Barbershop ensemble who sang Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man, all really well sung! It was then back into the house to perform the orchestral pieces and the strings also did the Waltz from Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings.

The sun shone and the atmosphere was relaxed and full of music and merriment so if we can get our examiner to engage in a little of that tomorrow afternoon we should do really well. A full report to follow tomorrow!

Monday, 13 July 2015

Another GOATee, another exam - Grade 3 Flute

I have written before that whenever I get asked to do something it has to fall into at least one of three catergories. 1. Be really well paid. 2. Provide top nosh or cake. 3. Be irresistably musically satisfying. Being asked to accompany Janet (2011 Top Flautist) for her grade 3 flute definitely falls into one of these catergories but I won't say which one!!

As with most musicians I know it is never enough just to do the bare essentials and in school on Friday Janet suggested we play her two pieces with harp accompaniment. Never one to turn down an opportunity to play my harp I instantly agreed. Did the exam board allow this sort of thing? I tentatively asked. Who cares! was the reply.

Chris and I were in Cambridge on Sunday so popped round to Janet's to pick up the music. I thought we had disturbed Janet's flute practise although seeing what was on the telly I think the Wimbledon final had already disrupted Janet's practise. However she was insistent that with the music perched on the shelf she could practise her Mozart and watch the tennis at the same time. We had a run through with me on the piano and Chris politely listened, awarding Jan 25/30 for La ci darem la mano from Don Giovanni. We then did Neville's Waltz from Harry Potter and the semiquavers were quite evenly spread. The staccatos lost a little sound on the way down but it was accurate and had some character.
Combining two great loves...Wolfgang and Roger!
Having already got the lowdown from Laura (Janet's daughter) who had heard her play just a few days earlier I was pleasantly surprised by the standard and apart from one or two little hesitations (and expletives!!) for the high notes it was all easily to a passable standard! ("And I've got a week. I've still got a week to go," Janet said.) Janet treated us to a ride in her latest love, her Morris Minor, and we clung on tight as we zoomed around the country lanes of Cambridgeshire!
50mph. In the wet!

We arranged a rehearsal for Friday as we will both be in school and Janet repeated her mantra "I've got a week!" but then remembered "ah, but I'm out all next weekend running my Workshop string orchestra course". I remembered I will also be at Janet's course, helping out on the Sunday (satisfies two of my conditions listed above!). I asked if she thought the participants might be interested in a concert? Janet said just before she did her Grade 1 she played her pieces to the participants at her Saturday Workshop and left a bucket out for donations so that raised awareness of the SIA charity and was a big help in performance preparation. Whether the participants are interested or not I think they are going to get a performance next Sunday!