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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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Significant Events

The last four weeks have involved hundreds of hours of working and driving. Many things have happened which I intend to report in full over the next day or two. I have a day off (yes) on Saturday; the first in three weeks and I will be able to put my thoughts into this article.

This is my website and of course they will be my personal views of the events. It is not the Daily Mail. People who read this know that the views represented are from the conductor\'s point of view, if your not keen to know what those views are, or you might find them opposed to your own, then try this-

There is a guestbook which allows you to argue with me (I love that!) or put your point across. There is a means to email me through the site and I answer all emails as promtly as possible.

Imagine a site that just promoted eveything without criticism or objective comment. DULL, and this is dull enough already.

The IGS residential is a testing time for me and the 96 pupils and staff who go to Ingleborough Hall to rehearse the show. Since I had written all the music it was a pressure situation for me and from every corner of the Hall I could hear different songs and dances being practised. Those involved worked 15 hours a day to perfect their parts and by the Saturday morning it was showing great promise. The section from WW1 which was one of the best songs was particularly effective and very moving. I had a terrible cold but managed to keep working. The orchestra were brilliant; listening carefully to my failing voice and behaving in a very professional manner.

The whole team was excellent and I think it is a significant event in the calendar.

The following week the show dominated proceedings and as Curriculum Leader I must ensure that all aspects from set-painting to publicity and programme printing is going ahead.

To complicate matters we had a visit from Princess Anne on the day of the opening. She was due to walk through a rehearsal but it was clear that she wanted to sit down and be entertained for a little while.

We performed the WW1 somg and the Caribbean Dance routine and she was very happy with it. Unfortunately the pupil for whom the WW1 song was written had a cold and never managed to perform his song after the residential; what a shame! The understudy was excellent too but I think the original performer deserved to be there.

Princess Anne said that she wished that she could see more of the show although I am sure that she would have said nice things anyway, unlike nasty old Keiron who on the Saturday after the show criticised the NSC on his nasty old website.

Criticising the NSC is like washing a cat who has got muddy. A dangerous business! You are likely to get scratched and fur will fly. You have two choices really; leave well alone and the pussy will clean itself up and think that it is no longer dirty, smugly sitting on your best chair still mucky. Or you could chuck a bucket of water over it and run like hell. That way it has to deal with it and you can stay fairly safe. It\'ll be a while before it forgives you but hey, it will be nice and clean.

Significant events this month just have to include the excellent work that Amanda and John are doing for the YWO. As a result of their organisational skills and the atmosphere of efficiency that now exists in the organisation, the rehearsals are better, the whole ethos of the group is better and improvements are extremely rapid.

Musicians need stability and they work best when they can rely on things starting on time, reliable regular breaks and a prompt finish. They can then concentrate and achieve better when the orchestra is rehearsing.

The YWO really showed great fortitude to make such improvements in a difficult room. It as a place where any slips or mishaps sound awful and the players are having to work hard with a tremendous amount of strength and humility. The rewards are showing. I have a vision of how well this can sound; as I did with NSC who gave me the odd glimpse of their symphonic side two years ago in Edinburgh and in London. Once you have the vision of the kind of possibilities that exist, you really have to be focussed to try to get to that vision. Unfortunately that can make you a bit of a pain in the arse too.

I know that the criticism upset the NSC due to them being here on the site but I did try to get the point across in the very limited time I ever got to work with them. The vast majority of them are good honest hard working players. The endemic chaos was difficult for me but quite refreshing in other ways. Good luck to them!

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