A lighthearted retrospective of the tMP Hadleigh Concert Thanks everyone for your comments on the concert thus far... here's a little light hearted retrospective of a big day from me. Hadleigh Concert - 9th April 2005 Honestly folks, what can I possibly say here about what was a superb day...? From the very first impression I had of the magnificent HadleighTemple, to the multitude of flashes going off at the very end of the day during the well organised (by Will) photo call... Saturday 9th April 2005 is a date that will live long in my memory. There was, in my opinion, that little bit of something very special prevalent yesterday... something Queen might say... It's a kind of magic.:biggrin: It started for me around 8:00 when I left Newport én route to Hadleigh... a planned 3.30 hours of M4, Car Park [M25] and A127... but surprisingly only took me 2:45 allowing me time to eat and refresh before I found my way to the event location. tMP’s Peter Bale and his fellow HadleighTemple corps members had done us proud; when I arrived at 12:30 - all the stage, chairs, stand banners, percussion et al were fully set up and ready for us to use. Wonderfully managed Peter, many thanks to you and your fellow Salvationists for your help and support in allowing us to use the HadleighTemple as the basis for the concert. tMP’ers started appearing shortly afterwards, announcing name rank and serial number on arrival - everyone was soon mixing, chatting and getting to know each other. I did feel sorry for Maestro though (Kevin Mann) who was unable to make the concert during the evening, but still came along for the first few hours of the rehearsal with his lovely 3yr old daughter Rebekah – who now owes me a Chicken and Mayo sandwich after pinching mine :wink:. I bet after hearing the band playing the first few pieces he was feeling gutted at not being able to join in with the concert. Sorry you were unable to join us Kevin… hopefully next time yeah? Rehearsal started with a vengeance at around 1:00 with Will the Sec taking the volunteer tMP Fanfare Trumpeters through their paces trying out a few of his fanfare compositions. To rapturous applause from their fellow tMP’ers, it only took them 10 minutes to polish up Wills chosen fanfare, and they blasted the temple with a wonderfully co-ordinated, well choreographed and excellently played rendition… excitement continued to grow as more things started falling tidily into their allotted schedule. I have to say thanks to Andy Wooler for supplying the fanfare trumpets – an interesting alternative to spice up the concert. Thank you. Full band rehearsal started at around 1:20 with an almost full attendance around the stand - fellow conductors out there will know exactly how important that is yeah!! The only real exception to this for one certain horn player, was for a reason that multiplied the personal costs of her attending the tMP Hadleigh Concert ten-fold . I received a telephone call at around 1:00 from Scamp... Sarah Campbell, informing me that she had parked for a short period of just 15 mins to pick up fellow horn player Simon, and had unfortunately been wheel clamped in the process!! Oh dear, not the start Sarah wanted eh... sorry if we're costing you a fortune Sarah!! Rehearsal was excellent, and with everyone giving a fabulous 100%, the pieces were starting to fall nicely into shape. I had already thought out a pre-planned programme, and we tried many pieces; the whole band decided if a particular piece was too risky to play during the concert or if we should say, "sod it, let's risk it for a biscuit and have a go!!". Increasingly worryingly throughout the afternoon for me, they indeed said this more than they didn't say it.... hmmm... finger crossing, edge of seat stuff, and lots of hope beckoned for me during the concert then!! After a few painful hours and some wonderful playing, lots of swollen lips, dry throats, enthusiastic and emphatic shouts from the Solo Horn seats of... "can we play Zulu John... go on John, please can we play Zulu... go on... please..., go on John, please can we... can we... pwweeeeeeeassseeee??", some frantically exercised lungs, loads of laffs... no - correction...lots of laffs, some raised eyebrows on concert music selections, more shouts from the Solo Horn section similar to, “Go on John…. I’ll sing for you if you let us play Zulu… pweeeeaase… go on… can we play it?”, we finally decided on our concert programme schedule at 5:15 which would include many pieces not seen by most of the players around the stand, and one or two not ever seen by the MD either. An interesting event transpired during the rehearsal of Darrol Barry’s winning tMP March. It seems that daveredhead was pushing so hard on his Soprano during the ff sections in the middle section, that this must have had an effect on his daughter - who was in hospital in labour at the time – thereby helping her to give birth. Dave was ecstatic during the rehearsal interval (yes, despite what they might tell you, I did allow peeps time to recover) – and received a well deserved round of applause on commencing the 2nd half of rehearsal. Expectations set, nerves alight, lips only partially restored; we set off onto the stage at 7:00 prompt following the announcement by our evening’s compére, HadleighTemple’s pastor, Lft. Col. David Phillips. Opening with the concert march, Knight Templar - a piece which seems to be very popular with all tMP Bands thus far - the band settled easily into their stride and played this with the energy they were to put into the rest of the evening’s programme. A great start had been made, and though very confident, I breathed a quiet sigh of relief! Derek Broadbent’s entertaining arrangement of Battle Hymn of the Republic came next, with JasonP, daveredhead, Lynchie and Will the Sec giving it their all during the wonderful Dixie section. I insert a special note to one of tMP’s newest members here – Tongy (Simon Tong). Someone in the audience, a young lady, came up to me following the concert and commented on what she said was the beautiful, sonorous and wonderful muted cornet playing during the ‘lowering of the flag’ section towards the very end of this piece. I know that it was Simon who was playing this – I saw him. “Bumper-up” on the NYBB is obviously a well deserved position for you Simon, you are going places sir… keep it up yeah! Knowing that I wanted to include one of Will the Sec’s fanfares somewhere within the schedule, in the days running up to the concert I pondered the best position in the programme for it. Beginning… nope, need Knight Templar for that, start of second half… nope, want a concert opener there… I know… immediately before the tMP March… that’s it… that’s where I’d put it, it would be superbly placed there. But… hang on... hmmmmm… I guess had I actually gone ahead and done that, if I had put it there, I would have been lynched by the entire cornet section - given that the tMP March is not easy for cornets eh. So, it became apparent that the best location for the fanfare was immediately prior to, and to effectively introduce tMP’s very own young superstar – Vickitorious (Vickie Reynolds). Will the Sec took the tMP Fanfare Trumpeters through their paces once again in an excellently presented and totally different item. Superbly different. Vickie, as many will know, was a recent runner up in the BBC Radio2 2005 Young Brass Musician Competition. She played for us a rendition of the same piece used in that competition, Lark in the Clear Air - and what a glorious performance it was from this young, inspirational and modest 15 yr old. Vicki produces a wonderfully huge, full and rich sound from her Tenor Horn, which was so aptly demonstrated during her performance of this piece – the audience also showed their appreciation of her playing. After 4 hours of rigorous and lip killing harsh rehearsal, she held that last note of her solo… a top Bb – perfectly pitched… at pp… and in tune… singing it with total confidence and beautiful vibrato… a privilege to have conducted someone who will undoubtedly become a star of the future. Remember me Vic when you get there eh… Well done, and thank you.:clap: Next came one of the pieces identified by the band during the earlier rehearsal as potentially risky. I could feel the energy and anticipation from the band as David Phillps announced our next piece, Eric Balls magnificent transcription of Leon Boellemans [sp]… Suite Gothique. Having only rehearsed the entire piece for 30 mins earlier that day, and by a group of players most never having met let alone played together before, I feel entirely justified in stating that a better job could simply not have been produced. Yes, of course there were the inevitable small slips and a few wrong notes amongst the thousands of accidentals and attention-seeking key signatures; but these were brushed aside and we did Mr. Ball proud. The 3rd movement – Notre Damm - was especially well played – which in places was as lyrical and expressive as I have heard. To play this piece in those circumstances is indeed a great accomplishment and all credit to the entire band for pulling it out of the bag. Next came a foot tapping arrangement of Doh Ra Me by tMP’s very own Roger Thorne which allowed for an interesting contrast and diversity in the programme. Judging by the clapping of the audience to the ever increasing tempo during this number, they too enjoyed what we were playing. (Note to all tMP’ers: This really is a cracking little concert number that all tMP’ers should get hold of for their bands.) Thanks to Roger for donating it to the tMP Music Library. Stephen Clapton, a young man currently holding the Principal Cornet seat for Chinnor Silver – together with JasonP from Staines – were our joint PC’s for the evening. Stephen drew the short straw for “who will play a solo” and played Alan Morrison’s arrangement of Sugar Blues. During rehearsal I asked Steve to add a few bars to the end of the piece by repeating the last bar – and asked the band who wouldn’t remember what we hade done and pop in a shot note a few bars early at the end. Steve played the piece expertly – flutter tonguing included - and showed why Chinnor are proud he is their Principal Cornetist. Have a guess who popped in the last note a smudging to early then… (clue: she’s recently teamed up with one of our Mods!!) A very touching and pertinent moment came next, and personally was one of the memorable points of the evening. Many of us may be familiar with a recent thread on tMP where Peter Bale requested our prayers for a young girl by the name of Elise who had recently suffered a major stroke. Many of us responded very kindly in that thread, and it was fantastic to read the updates Peter posted that Elise was making a slow but effective recovery. It was fantastic to see Elsie at the concert with her Mum, Step Dad and Grandparents who I had the honour to meet during the interval. We dedicated the performance of our next item, Roger Thorne’s arrangement of Deep Harmony, to Elise who was obviously delighted to be at the concert, and in whose direction we continue to beam our thoughts and prayers. The final item in the first half was for me, one of the highlights of the entire evening - theMouthPiece.com March. The tMP composition competition - which received many wonderful entries – concluded with tMP’ers selecting entry D in the anonymous poll, which was Darrol Barry’s submission. I was both privileged and excited at the prospect of conducting a première of the winning march which will now become tMP’s signature tune. I wanted to explain to the audience a little bit about the composition competition, the background of how the piece originated and how tMP’ers had selected the winner. I also told the tale of daveredhead’s daughter - and that we didn’t want any births in the audience during the performance:biggrin:. This was one of the strongest performances of the evening and the 30 minutes or so we dedicated to rehearsing it during the afternoon really paid off with an excellent, balanced and well rounded performance. Thanks to everyone for this. Having decided during the interval (due to time constraints) to omit Jubilee Overture, we started the second half with another one of the bands risqué pieces – Goff Richards’ ...and the Band Played On... which proved a fitting title to a fitting second half opening. We successfully (just) traversed the various time signature changes, tempo changes, rit’s and rall’s, solo’s and drum fills to arrive still closely together as a band at the end. I am reliably informed that a collective tMP ‘phew’ was picked up by the compere’s radio mic!!!! Another performance ‘high’ came next with William Himes classic arrangement of Amazing Grace. A cornet section, who by this time must surely have been tired, played this with extreme grace and tranquillity – tuning perfect, note perfect.. a great start indeed. The band continued in that vein and completed a lovely performance of a great piece. U.S. antics were next…J Pat Herak, aka BBCbari – in a very talkative mood with the compére (you had to be there to understand that one folks!!!) – ended up waltzing around the bottom of the stage, complete with Bass… literally… well the piece he played is called Bass in the Ballroom eh! Pat gave a totally entertaining performance that the audience loved. He also caused me some concern when, in the Bass cadenza – he played many more additional bits that he hadn’t told me he was going to play nor which we had covered during the afternoons rehearsal. So… there was me just hoping and praying that I could bring the band in all together on the culmination of his cadenza, when he was literally waltzing around the stage with his Bass… However, all’s well that ends well and the band did come in together to conclude another excellent one of our tMP soloists performances. Excellent stuff Pat… very entertaining indeed and deserves top marks fella!!! Thanks. Goff Richards has many superb pieces suitable for band concert items, and we next played his excellent relaxing piece, Pastorale. More exquisite playing by Stephen Clapton on PC ensured the tMP Band gave this piece a fantastic airing. By this time all playing nerves were dispelled, and everyone was relaxed and totally comfortable – well, apart from possibly being totally knackered!!! In rehearsal, I had been asked by our Principal Euphonium player Kevin Short, aka solo_euph, if he could play another of Goff’s pieces, Midnight Euphonium. I think it is fair to say that both during the rehearsal of this and during his performance of it in the concert – the band and the audience were mesmerised by the sheer quality of Kevins playing. He breezed through the piece with class and finèsse - and with the band so closely following his every move - Kevin is undoubtedly a player of fine quality indeed, and one who I am delighted to say has supported tMP bands on many occasions. I hope I get the privilege to conduct Kevin again very soon. Note to Shirley Band – you have a class player there folks. Thank you Kevin.:clap: The Bandmaster of Hadleigh Temple Corps was invited by David Phillips to say a few words, and gave a round of gratefully received “thank you’s” to our soloists, the compére, the band, myself and the audience. On now to the final few pieces, and what I felt was the most awesome performance of the evening. Having nearly 5 hours of playing under their belts and with very little recovery time, I asked the band to pull out all the stops and to play Elsa’s Procession to the Cathedral. What can I say… very little to be honest - but WOW… what a magnificent performance that was. I was simply amazed, totally, totally amazed. What a magnificent performance it was and is one that I will remember for a long, long time. To finish this retrospective off, I will quickly say that we played two final pieces… which were Adventures in Brass and I’ll Walk with God to conclude the programme which were played with as much class as all of the previous pieces. In summary, a fantastic magical evening with fantastic people, and one that we simply must do again sometime very soon. Thanks to everyone for giving your time, and for taking part in this experience. I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did and I look forward to meeting you all again very soon. PS: don’t forget to get your photo’s on the tMP Gallery yeah!!!