|FAB & WLSBB|
- Potsdam Music Festival & Klassiek op Locatie
- Zurich Jubilee Concert 3-5th June
- Japan Tour Cancelled
- Music for Our Lady CD released
- Latest CD
Potsdam Music Festival & Klassiek op Locatie
A round up of two recent FAB trips to Germany & Holland
It’s a trip every weekend at the moment for the group, which is fantastic, but the cumulative number of ‘red-eye’ flights is starting to take its toll now! It was a trip to Potsdam for the festival on the 23rd June, where we had an outdoor ‘typical English bandstand’ concert to play. I suspect the weather is normally a little more reliable in Germany in june than in England, hence the planning of this lovely garden type party. The rain only threatened thankfully, and the audience stayed put!
I have to admit to never having played Jerusalem or Sailor’s Hornpipe in Germany before. However, I’ve since learned that they love our ‘last night of the proms’ style concerts, and joined in with gusto when required to sing and clap! Having an afternoon concert meant a free evening for a meal out- what a treat! Normally such luxuries get sidelined on short trips as we try to fit in as much as possible, but the 4.30am start (German time) the next morning stopped us from enjoying the wine too much……
So to the following weekend and a return trip to Venlo, Holland to work with one of our favourite people. Nard Reijnders is a saxophonist/arranger/concert promoter with whom we worked seven years ago on a new commission for wind band and quintet. This return trip was to play as part of his music series, set in beautiful buildings in the border area of Holland near to Germany. This place was no exception- a stage had been set up (even having acoustic screens!) in a lovely courtyard setting, and we were well looked after by the lady who lived there. Nard is known to be completely unflappable, which is just as well. Just 3 movements into Philip Wilby’s Partita on a Krakov Fanfare, our first piece, the heavens opened and we had to abandon playing as the audience ran for cover, and we had to move our chairs and music and cower in the dry corner of the stage! Thankfully this was one very sharp but mercifully short shower, so business resumed after about fifteen minutes. The sun came out, the audience were appreciative, and beer was served immediately afterwards whilst we signed CDs…. Can you understand why we enjoyed ourselves? Oh, and chocolates….
Another afternoon concert meant another free evening to enjoy a meal and of course the Euro 2012 final.
A lie in? On tour? Now that never happens! Nard had arranged for us to rehearse for our concert in Swanage (5th july) in the local theatre, which was an incredible facility given the size of the town. We then entertained the local market with some of our jazz favourites, and Nard joined in. Such a lot of fun!
The evening was a project with a local wind band, playing a specially adapted arrangement of Stephen Roberts’ piece, Malvern Chase. The band tackled it with real enthusiasm, and after just one three hour rehearsal we managed to perform it in the town square. We had forgotten what sunshine was due to our never ending rain in the UK, so to be able to play outside at 10pm at night, and then enjoy a beer and pizza outside, and be warm and dry was so wonderful. Simon’s ego was boosted as many of the girls from the band wanted their photos taken with him afterwards! I think we may be hearing about that for a while don’t you?
What a lovely trip with sunshine, great concerts, ice cream, and a fabulous musician as a promoter. Let’s hope it isn’t seven years until we return!
Article last updated: 8 June 2012
Zurich Jubilee Concert 3-5th June
After a quiet few months with the group, we have got our rather busier summer underway with the first tour of the year. We enjoyed our Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend in Zurich, celebrating with the British Residents Association!
As always with these short trips, time is of the essence, so we got on an early flight out of the UK (or Sweden in Chris’ case), and joined the bank holiday getaway on Sunday morning. The quintet was enhanced on this trip by Steve Socci, percussionist, and Dr Simon Lindley, Organist and Choral Director of Leeds Parish Church and Leeds Town Hall.
Flying with a musical instrument is almost never an enjoyable experience. However, I was even more pleased to have moved back ‘up north’ when I realised that Manchester Airport has a dedicated fast lane for us!! I sped through security leaving Les (tuba safely dispatched into outsized luggage) and Dr Simon Lindley to queue with the masses….
All flights (from Manchester, Birmingham and Stockholm) arrived on time, which was lucky as it allowed us time to have lunch out! We were taken by our hosts, to an Italian restaurant near the lake.
The first concert was straight after lunch, in an international school in the centre of Zurich. What a welcome- lovely audience (very brave as it was such a small room!), attentive children (though admittedly some had to cover their ears at times) and themed cakes to enjoy afterwards. Simon charmed the audience with his ‘history lesson’ based around the brass instruments and how they developed. This format seems to work so well- it entertains and informs whilst telling a story, and introducing music that the audience may or may not know, covering a huge range of styles.
Sadly we couldn’t stay long to chat afterwards as we had to go straight to rehearse and take part in Evensong in St Andrew’s. I have to admit that it was hard to remember that we were in Zurich sometimes as we played so much music traditional to our country whilst we were there! Some delicious truffles were presented to us backstage by the choral director, Gregory….. it’s amazing what they keep under those cassocks!
Dr Simon Lindley had been spectator until this point, but for the evening rehearsal with the Contropunto choir, he leapt into action. The choir responded with great enthusiasm, and their conductor Beat (not pronounced as it looks!) was welcoming and helpful. Sadly (?) for Steve and Jesus (our local percussionist) the percussion gear didn’t turn up until after the rehearsal! A welcome beer followed to recover from a hectic afternoon, before retiring to our hosts houses.
Monday (not a bank holiday in Switzerland) morning we went into Zurich to find the venue for the main even that evening. St Peter’s church in the centre of Zurich has the largest clock face in Europe on its tower, along with a watch tower on each of the four sides. They think this is why so many of the beautiful mediaeval buildings survived in Zurich- a very effective system of watchmen to keep a check on when fires broke out in order to keep from burning the city down.
Swiss people like things to be just so, and so most things run incredibly smoothly- public transport for instance. However, trying to explain that for a 3.30 rehearsal we didn’t want to arrive at 3.30, but 2.30, was a pretty frustrating one with the verger! Actually I’m not sure it ever was properly agreed, but we took our chances and arrived early to get the percussion loaded in, the chairs rearranged, and a warm up done! Luckily, either no one was there to tell us off, or they are sending a prosecution letter in the post we don’t know about yet……..
The concert was a fantastic success I’m glad to say, with quite a large group representing the British Ambassador, and Embassy in Bern turning up to support it. St Peter’s is a large church, and it was full. The audience helped the acoustic no end as the organ was at the opposite end to the choir and brass. Howard Griffiths, Principal Conductor of the Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester, was our director for the evening.
A full concert of Walton coronation marches, his coronation Te Deum, and Elgar choral music followed, which was much enjoyed by performers and audience alike. As the assistant to the ambassador said, we didn’t have Stevie Wonder, or Sir Elton John, but Dr Simon Lindley’s presentation was certainly a lot more informed, interesting and humorous than the links I saw on the Jubilee Concert that was televised that same evening!
At the drinks reception, complete with English Sparkling wine, we met some incredibly interesting people, and many were keen to come to our Lucerne concert in July! We hope to see as many of them there as possible as it is a big hall to fill! Thanks must go to our hosts for being so hospitable, and to Joel, who took many photographs of the events for us!
Another morning, another red eye flight to catch….. Home again for now. Next concert is in Gorton monastery, Manchester on 17th june, so a nice local date for me, then off for a return trip to Potsdam, a beautiful town just outside Berlin on the 23rd.
Japan Tour Cancelled
We heard this morning that the tour we had scheduled for Japan in December 2011 has had to be cancelled. The current economic climate in Japan (worldwide!) was making promoters initially uneasy and then with the recent devastating earthquake the country has endured, it has been decided that 2011 is not the best time for us to visit. It's a great disappointment as it's been nearly twenty years since FAB last toured the country. However, the tour organisers did say they are hoping to organise a trip for us at a later date so fingers crossed we will be back there before too long.
Music for Our Lady CD released
featuring FAB in Jean Langlais Mass
The Langlais Mass we recorded in March 2010 with St Mary's Collegiate Church Choir, Warwick has been released (as of December 2010) on Regent Records.
We’re happy to announce that the CD we recorded between Christmas and New Year 2009 with Nigel Boddice and the West Lothian School Brass Band is now out on the Doyen Label. Although we were hampered by some horrendous snow last December we managed to complete the CD in just two days. Originally, we had planned to record it over three, but fears that we might all be stranded in Scotland because of the weather hastened our resolve! As a result we decided to add an extra solo recording session in February 2010 for the FAB solo items: Suite from Love the Magician and Farewell to Stromness.