Sixty-seven of my pupils are in Musselburgh/Wallyford schools. That’s one reason why I was pleased to see a gig, scheduled for Tue 1 March, by Richard Durrant (aka The Guitar Whisperer ) advertised in the Brunton Hall’s publicity. Not only does the playing look very promising – multimedia nature of the programme strikes me as something which might aid younger pupils in concentration/enjoyment. In addition to films, some pieces feature animations by Miranda Vincent.
The YouTube videos below will give you some idea of what we might expect:
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/tp45Xhan1nM?rel=0" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/e_xJd9nwAnA?rel=0" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/7udClrQtmws?rel=0" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/cc141Pf1ZWA?rel=0" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/grNPV21qEDE?rel=0" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/UF7A6eXOYys?rel=0" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/KEzrhGasv74?rel=0" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]
This year’s East Lothian Showcase Concert took place last night in the Brunton Hall, Musselburgh. The evening showcases, to a packed house, the inter-school String, Wind, Jazz, Percussion & Guitar Ensembles.
I have to confess to loathing the acoustic of the Brunton Hall which constantly threatens to undermine the many, many hours of work put in by guitar pupils, as it’s virtually impossible for them to hear one another. Rhythmic cues necessary for timing are often inaudible as, for example, a cough by one member of the audience reverberates as loudly as the sound of 40 guitars. Our preference is the magnificent acoustic of Musselburgh Grammar School’s hall, where the event has been hosted in years when the Brunton Hall was mercifully unavailable.
That said, tragedy was averted for another year and the pupils turned in a commendable performance. You can hear mp3s of the East Lothian Guitar Ensemble’s contribution to this year’s event on the East Lothian Guitar Ensemble page.
Other ensembles seem to thrive in this acoutic. The magnificent Wind Ensemble nearly took the roof off!
I remember with some fondness my old Amstrad PCW and how it obliquely encouraged me to generate a huge body of work in few episodes. This was due to having to load the operating system from a floppy disc and then each individual programme – the loading of one necessitating the disappearance of the last. So, once set up, the temptation was to bash on.
Such was the feeling yesterday when I had hoped to make a start on recording videos of ensemble parts for this year’s Showcase Concert repertoire. I thought I’d do two or three, call it a day and set aside some time later. However, once the camera was set up, and the school nearly empty, I found myself repeatedly saying “just one more” and pretty soon all 14 were finished. It was my ambition to do each one in “one take” and I stopped only three times – once when the phone rang and twice when the weekly fire bell test took place. Miraculously, all three events conspired to take place in the closing bars of largely error-free takes – thanks guys!
The funny thing was the set up. I asked a 6th year pupil to line up the Flip Video so that the frame would be pretty much filled with the fretboad – since fingering and articulation were the main points of interest. Somehow, I imagined that my head would be out of shot, but this was not true – and I didn’t ask. Consequently, the videos have the nature of someone being filmed unawares. I have to confess that I look quite bored throughout the process, but nothing could be further from the truth – it’s simply a mix of concentration and the paradoxical endeavour to remain relaxed under pressure, in order to avoid re-takes. I must remember this the next time I suspect a pupil of less than 100% engagement. Techies might notice that the music is (sometimes) being read, in Sibelius, from a laptop screen, which refreshes only at the very end of a page/section. This doesn’t really add to the chances of a relaxed performance as you can’t look ahead – but what’s life without a little challenge now and again 🙂
The films, which are all embedded in a new Video page, are pretty much a temporary affair – hence the lack of subtle editing. The East Lothian Showcase Concert, in which these pieces are to be performed, takes place in The Brunton Hall on Friday 27th Mar at 7:30. After that date there will be little use for the videos – unless any other similar ensemble would like to play the arrangements.
I’ve posted mp3 files of performances in the East Lothian Showcase Concerts 2006-08 on the East Lothian Guitar Ensemble page. It’s strange to think that a few individuals who took part in all three concerts are now only finishing S3!