The third and final day of the Summer School saw all groups putting finishing touches to the pieces they would be playing in the evening Showcase Concert, open to friends, family and members of the public. This meant some joint rehearsals with choir and orchestra; percussion, piano and choir; orchestra and soloist etc. Brass, as requested by players attending previous Summer Schools, was also a feature of the day. Many music groups and organizations run Summer Schools but we think ours has a pretty unique offering. Not only do we ask top professionals along to give short concerts, but we also ask them to give workshops or masterclasses for appropriate delegates, today being the brass section. Any delegate can come along and listen in, and delegates often say they learn aspects of performance or about music that they can apply to their own but different instrument or voice.

DSC05130Tim Thorpe (horn) and Simon Baker (trombone) have played in more professional orchestras than we have space to mention. Simon is currently playing in the West End show Kinky Boots! Each of them performed several pieces in the showcase concert, admirably and sensitively accompanied by our répétiteur for the School, Richard Cox. Simon opened with Kenny’s Fanfare and then spoke about his Nottingham roots, being a trombonist, the types of music he enjoys playing, and his friendship (and golfing rivalry) with Tim. Tim’s varied selection included a beautiful arrangement of Erik Satie’s Gymnopedie No 1. In both performances we were treated to the colours, ranges of sound and technical expertise of two wonderful performers.

The School’s brass section was joined by a few other players, including youngsters, for a workshop that led to a performance in the Showcase Concert. The importance of listening while playing (or singing) has been a thread running through all the workshops this year. Simon talked about the need for each player to listen out for when they had the tune, bring it out but ease the sound back when the tune passes to a different instrument. His top tip: Play confidently when sight-reading – blow through the notes – and don’t worry about the odd wrong one! He and Tim discussed the difficulties of finding a balanced the sound in a brass group given the different directions instrument bells point in – up the tuba and baritone etc, behind for the French horn, in front for trombones and trumpets.

DSC05164We discovered on YouTube that Tim had performed an arrangement of Bernstein’s Somewhere from West Side Story. He very kindly supplied the orchestral parts and performed it with the orchestra in the Showcase Concert, picking up this year’s theme of Music from the Americas. And what a showcase it was of music spanning north and south America, from the 1600s right up to the present! Two of our young volunteers joined the party that was the percussion section in Sparkling Samba, conducted by Gill Henshaw. The Amercian theme opened the concert with a lively and fun performance of The Liberty Bell and closed it with the choir and orchestra thrilling the audience with a chorus from Bernstein’s Candide, conducted by MfE’s artistic director, Angela Kay MBE. There was much applause and appreciation from both audience and Trent College staff.

We were sorry to say goodbye to two tutors who have been very much part of the MfE family but are now moving on to pastures new – Victoria Barlow (choral) and Ann-Marie Shaw (strings). Thank you so much, and all the very best!

This year’s School came to a close with a social time over a hot buffet cooked by College staff. Trent College made us feel so welcome and facilitated what we hope was a great experience for all.

 

 

 

IMG_8969Well we can hardly believe a year has gone by since the last Summer School, but it has! This year we’ve moved from the University of Nottingham to Trent College. We wondered if those few extra miles out of Nottingham might put people off, but no! Bigger and hopefully even better than ever. A choir of 70+ and an orchestra of 80+ meeting together for three days of rehearsals, specialist workshops, Music in the Chapel concerts by visiting professionals, and the delegates’ showcase concert on Wednesday. With Trent College offering B&B, some folk have opted to stay over even though they live locally, making a mini holiday of it. Accommodation has also enabled others to come from further afield. There’s a cooked lunch for any who would like it and plenty of parking. We hear at least one person is staying not far away in a caravan. We’ll leave you to guess who…!

DSC05077The guest tutors today were choral specialists Blossom Street. Tomorrow there is a violinist, and on Wednesday two brass players. Blossom Street, a chamber choir, formed 10 years ago when the singers were still students. They are now a London based and much praised choir, usually of 8, but sometimes 16 or even only four, directed by one-time singing member, Hilary Campbell. Another member is local Ellie Martin, who conducts one of our Daytime Singers groups. Five members gave a lively workshop that proved entertaining and informative. It improved the choir’s sound by helping singers give a more nuanced performance. Hilary spent a few minutes talking about the importance of diction, that it is part of the music, and just as the choir blends the pitch and timbre of its notes, it needs to do the same with pronunciation, matching vowel and consonant sounds not only within a section, e.g. tenors, but between sections when singing the same words at the same time. It’s all in the listening, just as it is with the notes themselves. Blossom Street also had delegates singing rounds. Not, however, a round of the same tune, rather five different tunes and from memory! Three other members arrived in the late afternoon to bring the first day to a close with a beautiful concert, picking up this year’s Summer School theme of music from the Americas. We went home uplifted and relaxed. Their interpretation and rendition of Holst’s I love my love and Whitacre’s Sleep were sublime.

owen-cox (002)And for the others… there were rehearsals for the full orchestra, string orchestra and windband with a variety of tutors. More about those groups in the coming days. Two more Music in the Chapel Concerts, open to the public, take place tomorrow and Wednesday. Tuesday, 5.15pm, Owen Cox, violin, and Hilary Suckling, piano perform a programme that includes Copland’s Appalachian Spring and Elgar’s Sonata. Owen is a great favourite at the Summer School. As a boy he played in MfE’s Stringwise, he now teaches at Cheetham’s School of Music and performs around the world. You don’t want to miss it. Nor Wednesday’s concert by two superb brass players at lunchtime 1.30pm. Click here for details. 

Link to Blossom Street’s website – hear them on Radio 3 sometimes, CDs available.

Last year’s MfE Summer School brass players requested a workshop and concert from specialist brass players. So for 2018, here they are!

We are delighted, and know you will be too, to have engaged some ‘top brass’!

Simon-Baker-e1520865327106-242x300Nottinghamshire born Trombonist SIMON BAKER studied Music and Performance at Birmingham Conservatoire (now known as Royal Birmingham Conservatoire), followed by a Masters in Performance at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. As an in-demand freelancer, he performs regularly with most of the country’s leading orchestras, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

Simon has also played in many West End shows including Matilda, Lion King, Book of Mormon, Shrek, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and War Horse. He is currently the trombone player for Kinky Boots, showing at London’s Adelphi Theatre.

Tim-Thorpe-2-e1520865387883-259x300TIM THORPE, b.1983, first heard the French Horn in a concert at his primary school. From that moment onwards he determined to become a professional musician. He is gaining recognistion as one of the most accomplished horn players of his generation. In 2002 he was the UK finalist in the Paxman International horn competition and in 2004 won the Royal Over-seas League award for Wind and Percussion and the Philip Jones Memorial Prize for an outstanding brass player.

As an orchestral player he has played Principal Horn with all the major London orchestras and with other UK orchestras including the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Northern Sinfonia. He also enjoys chamber music and has performed with many ensembles including The London Sinfonietta, The Nash Ensemble, Fine Arts Brass and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. He has given many solo performances including a number of concertos and solo pieces with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales which have been broadcast on Radio and television. Tim is actively involved in coaching and masterclasses for aspiring French horn players both in the UK and abroad. He teaches regularly at The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

BRASS PLAYERS: Be inspired! Register now for Music for Everyone’s Summer School to participate in a workshop masterclass to be given by Simon and Tim. Ask them for guidance and tips on how to develop aspects of your playing and performance. Enjoy their virtuoso concert, which will include  Guilmant’s “Morceu Symphonique” , “Fanfare” by John Kenny, and Weber’s “Romance”. And of course take part in the rest of the Summer School, including playing in the windband and full orchestra, and meeting likeminded players.

We are excited about the School’s new venue of Trent College, Long Eaton. It offers the added option to prebook and purchase hot meals at lunch time. Bed and breakfast accomodation is also available at the College.