1. The Saudi trip was fantastic, we met lots of lovely people and did some excellent concerts and masterclasses - we still receive the odd email from folks thanking us for our concerts. It's really nice particularly when young people (our audience of tommorrow) say how cool we are and how they are insired to take up a brass instrument as a result of hearing us play!!|
2. The object was to play to some ex-patriots and to give masterclasses to the various international schools.
We've had lots of people from the USA and Europe contact us via our website asking when FABE are coming to their country. I see touring as a real perk to the job.
3. Absolutely !! We've found in the 22 years since the quintet has been in existence that our audiences and the people who book us have been the older generation. As you can imagine..... people have to pop their cloggs at some point and over the years the music club and music society scene has rapidly diminished. We are trying our best to take music to younger people in the hope that they become more interested in music - something that they will sustain for the rest of their lives!! Hopefully, this will mean that in the future the whole concept of live music stays very much a thing of the present rather than the past!
4. Without brass in schools I wouldn't be playing proffessionally today. It's as serious as that! I was lucky to have grown up with West Lothian's fantastic music tuition service. I still count myself as one of the lucky ones, particulary since I know free lessons were scrapped in other areas of the UK!
5. We tend to guide our music to the age of our audience and get them to join in where we can. Masterclasses include solo and ensemble playing. We also have the pleasure of playing some of the compositions school students write for GCSE and A Level music - here, they get the chance to hear things played 'properly' and we can comment on their writing.
6. We concentrate on all types of music. In my opinion one of the keys to FABE's success is it's versatility. We pride ourselves at being able to play nearly every style and genre of music ....... with success!!
7. My personal aim for the quintet is for it to be more more widely accepted by all!!! I think in our line of business people are all too keen to put us in a box!!! As a general rule we tend to encounter the following : The brass band world (including the Listen to the Band programme) are under the impression that we are too high brow. God knows why!!!
Some music festivals and societies think we can only play marches and "toe-tapping" music, or that the whole concept of a brass concert won't sell. We had to convince one gentleman promoter to book us - he thought we were too much of a financial risk. In the end our concert was packed out and the most successful of that season. He was absolutely gobsmacked!!!
What I'm really trying to say is this: We are a versatile brass group at ease playing from renaissance to contemporary music and swing. We can play ANY of the sort of music that you want to hear be it our fantastic arrangement of Holst's 'Moorside Suite'( if you want some typical Brass Band music) or some Count Basie Swing. Can I get off my soapbox now?
9. More of the same and some exciting recordings.
10. I'm principal cornet of CWS Glasgow and still do the odd solo gig with the West Lothian schools brass band.
11. We are all Midlands based and very proud of it. I find it really grating on the ear when people congratulate us on a marvellous performance then, in the same breath, ask us what part of London we are all from! GGGRRRRRRRR!! People seem to be taken aback when I answer in my East of Scotland accent!!
11.We rehearse as and when we can.