Yesterday I accompanied a small group of NBHS pupils to the 18th Commonwealth Forestry Conference held in the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC). This short promotional video gives some idea of what the conference is about:
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Our remit was to round the opening ceremony with some culture of the host country and we performed four songs by Robert Burns. As a result of various trips we were reduced to a skeleton crew (4 missing from a group of 7 seniors) and I was really impressed with the pupils’ ability to cope with the extra pressure – not the least of which was the jetlag experienced by one pupils who had returned from a school trip to China the previous evening! This pressure was in no small way reduced by the quiet, friendly and assured professionalism of the EICC team who were fantastic. The sound in the venue was clear as a bell and it was a pleasure to play there.
The Lea Rig:
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John Anderson My Jo; Ca’ The Yowes; The Deil’s Awa’ Wi’ The Excise Man:
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Many thanks to Libby Jones for inviting us to play and to Caroline Davis for minibus driving, filming, recording and general joie de vivre.
Thanks also to Zoë (vocals) who, in her last two years of life at NBHS, transformed the life of the senior Guitar Ensemble members. In that time we’ve done more gigs in and out of school than one could ever have imagined. We’d all like to wish her luck with her musical future.
Towards the end of last term a small team of musicians from North Berwick High School were invited to play at East Lothian Council’s Head Teachers’ Conference. A little earlier in the day than they are used to performing, and 3/8 of the team down due to exams and university interviews, they nevertheless gave a great and very well received performance. Here are some excerpts:
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Although the end of term finished, somewhat frustratingly, with the Knox Spring Concert having to be postponed* due to weather conditions, the NBHS Spring Concert was a great success.
The Guitar Ensemble opened their set with Choro: choro (right-click red link to download)
Then Zoe, who has worked with us extensively over the last two years, joined us for two songs by Robert Burns:
The Lea Rig (some mic noise interrupted Verse 1 and so this fades in at Verse 2): the-lea-rig1 (right-click red link to download)
The Deil’s Awa’: the-deils-awa (right-click red link to download)
Although public, in-school engagements are pretty much over for NBHS pupils this term, we are hoping to represent the school at the 18th Commonwealth Forestry Conference on 28 June. Performing music of the host country at this event would be a great honour for us in addition to being a great end to the school year.
* the Knox Spring Concert has been rescheduled and will take place at 19:00 on Tuesday 20 Apr – the day we return to school
On Friday 29 Jan a group of 7 North Berwick High School guitar pupils gave, along with Zoe (singer), a performance of two songs at the PTA Burns Supper. While the performances were very good, and very well received, the recordings were not great – it was a live event, after all. So today, we met in the cathedral-like acoustic of the Dance Studio to make studio recordings.
The final mix was luck – the placing of a Zoom H2 in the middle of the studio and distancing people by intuition more than science. I hope you’ll agree that the result and, more particularly, the performance of the pupils is a success. Thanks to the PE Dept. for their hospitality. It’s worth remembering that these recordings came at the end of a school day, which had already featured a lunchtime rehearsal (of other material) and that the pupils went straight to record without further run-through. It may be my imagination, but I sense a difference in feel between live and studio events for pupils: the former is all about energy, communication and the moment, while the latter is more about focus, attention to detail and posterity.
The Lea Rig: the-lea-rig-2010-02-09
The Deil’s Awa Wi’ The Exciseman:the-deils-awa-wi-the-exciseman
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