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Phoenix Concert Band

Autumn Concert

Phoenix Concert Band
St George's Church, Great George Street, Leeds LS1 3BR
Saturday 14th November 2020

Leeds College of Music Wind Ensemble


Leeds College of Music Wind Ensemble
Monday 30th November 2020

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Article: Concert Review

The Concert in Grimsby NSC

I arrived at around 4.00pm knowing that the NSC had not only been out busking but running a workshop with Nigel Wood and Richard Ingham all afternoon.

I decided to take it easy on them, top and tail things and save energy for the evening concert. I too was exhausted; almost dozing off on the dull M180. The last two weeks have been very very busy so I needed to stay sharp for this one.

At the concert, they played quite well and Catherine Evison on alto sax did a very good job of the Richard Payne Concerto, which is just as well because the composer was in the front row.

The group played Harlequin Dances very well this time, more of the players had experienced my piece before and it showed.

The new arrangement of Nimrod was the favourite of the audience and the choir played it with real conviction although there are a few bars which need bolstering in the score to maintain the intensity.

At times the group were as good as the London performance and in the end I was tired but quite happy.

The Choir really need to maintain a minimum standard of both playing and discipline. It is impossible to benefit from playing in this type of group if the basic skills of rehearsal are not built in to the ethos.

Listen to all of the rehearsal whether it concerns your part or not; in any cohesive piece this will always be useful, if not essential information, at least you will always know where the group will be starting from.

Keep tabs on intonation. Balance by reducing rather than increasing your playing levels, unless your solo is being drowned and even then, let the others allow you to be heard. Concentrate on blending the tone colours not honking out your part. Do not talk to your section whilst rehearsal is in progress, you will distract them and others.

Regulate the attack, try not to produce each note in the same manner; you can buy a keyboard from Woolies if you just want the same attack all the time.

I have to mention the welcome we received in Grimsby. The organisers, the Central Hall staff, the Lord Mayor and his Lady wife and the audience were terrific.

I enjoyed working with Richard Ingham and we had a nice bit of banter on stage. The new Morcambe and Wise? I didn't hang about at the end as I had to be in Nottingham the next day and so did he.

Nigel Wood was suffering from a bad cold too but you wouldn't know it when he played. A true pro!

The people who ran the Central Hall in Grimsby spoke to me at length about their efforts to keep the hall functioning as a hub of the musical and social community and they love the work that they do. They liked the sax choir and I believe that there has been an invitation to return at a later date. The concept of the choir is quite new to most audiences in this country and it is a similar situation to the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble 40 years ago. They put brass chamber music on the musical map through sheer quality and skill. The NSC must now do the same. Not just a novelty but an assured musical genre.

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