Last night it was my pleasure to MC the second of two concerts in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. Featuring instrumentalists and singers from East Lothian Schools, the event was held in the atmospheric hall in Haddington’s Town House. I was delighted to be able to announce in the vote of thanks that the events had raised £1,320 for the charity. Timing is everything in music and news had just come in that East Lothian Council, who were being thanked for the use of the hall, the printing of the programmes and the savoir faire evident in employing us, had just won two more national music awards – bringing the total to five such awards in three years!
Here are a couple of samples of last night’s music – Robert Burns’ The Lea Rig, sung by Zoe from NBHS: the-lea-rig Three Jigs, played by David & Callum from Knox: david-callum-three-jigs
I’ve just returned from a very rewarding gig, accompanying Zoe, a fine singer from NBHS, at the VOCAL Conference 2009, held in the Marine Hotel, North Berwick.
Thanks to Ian who, in addition to taking care of sound as we played, also operated my Zoom H2 to capture an idea of the performance in mp3 form – refuting, in one fell swoop, the current gender-based myth about multi-tasking!
The many delegates who thanked and praised Zoe in person after the performance confirmed my feeling that the music had gone down well.
Autumn Leaves: autumn-leaves
Ca’ The Yowes: ca-the-yowes
Healing You (Zoe’s own composition): healing-you
This final tune is available on a CD recorded by Zoe and two other artists this summer. Proceeds (£10 per disc) go to RNIB. If you would like to know more, please post a comment.
New pupil performance mp3s have been added to the Knox and MGS pages.
This has been quite a performance-heavy week. Mon – Wed saw three evangelising concerts, where guitarists performed to younger pupils who will be eligible for guitar instruction next session.
On Monday, P5 – P7 pupils from Campie PS played a short concert for the current P4s. The repertoire was a mix of group items and solos, the latter of which would give them some idea of what they might be doing next year. The atmosphere was great and there were some very interesting questions for the pupils from the audience. Recordings from this event can be found on the Campie PS page.
In a similar vein, Tuesday saw a visit of NBHS guitarists to Law PS and Wednesday, a visit of Knox guitarists to King’s Meadow PS. Technical glitches e.g. batteries running out during performances, resulted in their being fewer recordings than I’d hoped, but there are enough to give some idea of the day. The explosive applause of P7 pupils should also convey how much the pupils enjoyed the visit. (NBHS page; Knox page).
Thursday evening was the Musselburgh Grammar School Summer Concert in which the school’s Guitar Group played two items – a Scottish Medley and a Brazilian Choro. You can hear these items on the MGS page.
Many thanks to all the pupils concerned for the hard work, joie de vivre and savoir faire.
Think you’ve got a good ear for musical style and history? Listen to this extract les-elemens and try to put a date to it. Then look at the last title in the Selected Compositions list on this page for the answer.
You can hear more on YouTube.
New pupil performance mp3s have been posted on the NBHS page.
I’m in the process or preparing a short CPD session for colleagues on the free, open-source sound- recording and editing program, Audacity. When pitching the idea, I suggested that we could each prepare a Desert Island Discs CD, featuring 1 minute each of eight tracks. In addition to learning such aspects of the program as fade-ins and fade-outs, it would encourage us to discuss music with one another – a thing which, somewhat ironically, rarely happens. The other irony is that, in seeking accommodation, I discovered that the room containing the most computers, loaded with Audacity is not in a Music department, but CDT.
To experiment with cross-fading, I’ve cut down my original Desert Island Disc extracts to a few seconds. This is the sort of mashup one could use to give an overall flavour of, say, a school concert. While I think you’ll agree that this selection desert-island-discs-mashup doesn’t represent the ideal dinner party mix, it probably doesn’t matter as, on a desert island, one tends to dine alone. “Just as well,” some of you may say upon hearing these extracts.
New pupil performace mp3s have been posted on the Knox and MGS pages.
New pupil performance mp3s have been posted on the Campie PS and NBHS pages.
While on holiday last week, I found myself in the Chapter House of Worcester Cathedral. Just walking
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/pKBS4c0KQJg" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /] into this circular, stone room it was clear that the acoustic was magnificent – as was the silence. My guitar and Zoom H2 recorder were just across the road in the multi-storey car park, and before long, I was making enquiries about the possibility of making a recording. The cathedral staff, Susan Macleod in particular, were very friendly and accommodating.
These are not magnificent performances by any means (I hadn’t exactly been shaping up for a performance of any sort) but I couldn’t resist playing in this room and was grateful to have the opportunity to be able to direct pupils to an example of the difference that acoustics can make to the feel of a performance.
Prelude from Cello Suite No. 1 BWV 1007 (J. S. Bach) cello-prelude
Now Westlin’ Winds (Burns arr Coady) now-westlin-winds
For Michael (Coady) for-michael
Three Jigs:(Coady) three-jigs
I also messed around with a few notes (and spaces) just to play with the echo: playing-with-chapter-house-echo