Thursday, 3 May 2018

Leeds Silver Steel Sparrows play Leeds ArtForms Town Hall Prom

It is one of our favourites: Leeds ArtForms Schools Prom at Leeds Town Hall. We played our Music For Youth Three [Some Enchanted Evening, California Girls, Living on a Prayer] plus Mozart's Symphony Number 40. 

The Orchestra was playing Stars Wars as the joint number. I thought Rocket Man or Starman might fit nicely. Bex located the sheet music, I wrote Rocket Man out, did a preliminary arrangement, gave it to Kips and Ed, and they did an arrangement for our agreed joint moments.

On the day, I pretended to myself that I was conducting the Leeds Youth Orchestra, although really David Greed was doing that. Actually I was flapping my arms a bit, while concentrating like mad on the score, and hoping somehow that the players, eyes down in their pans, knew where they were, because they sure weren't looking at me. I only wrote this tune out into a Foxwood Songsheet ten days previously and the band has only played it once through at a practice back at Shire Oak.

Players were Owen, Kirsten, Annie, Ella, Isha, Kurum , Esme, Millie, Alice, Claudia. Natalie drummed. Jermaine and Chris guested. I found that, at the public performance I played all the songs on different pans from the ones I had played at the rehearsal. Great. Not.

I'll spare you how long it took to collect pans from practice school, load into van, out of van, into Town Hall, along to stage, and back and back and Control Z, and back. [did I say I would spare you?].

Leeds Silver Steel Sparrows at Music 4 Youth Harrogate

February 24 2018. The Sparrows are back at St Aidan's, Harrogate for yet another National Festival For Youth Regional Event.

pans in waiting

Our songs this year are 50s, 60s, 80s, Some Enchanted Evening, California Girls and Living on a Prayer. We had planned also to include Tragedy but our playing of it was just that: a tragedy!

It took us a lifetime to arrange Living on a Prayer. I asked Pippa to do the initial groundwork, then she and I ran it through on the Manchester Carnival Saturday night inbetween. This required a coupla cans. After that the Sparrows and I rearranged and rearranged till we were happy with the structure, the intros, the intros, a unison section. There was nothing we didn't mess about with. 

As ever the evening before I took the pans across, unloaded them and left them ready for an easy set up the next day. The upside of having no storage space at present for the six basses is that we don't have to take them to gigs , and this in turn means I can use my own little Transit van for the whole band.

Players were Alice on cello pans, Annie on bass and single second, Claudia on double tenors, Ella on single guitar, Isha on oversize single second,  Kurum on double guitars, Kirsten on soprano and bass, Owen on soprano and bass, Natalie guesting on kit.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

East Steel at YAMSEN:SpeciallyMUSIC Town Hall Concert

If it is the first Wednesday in December, it must be The YAMSEN:SpeciallyMUSIC Leeds Town Hall Lord Mayor's Christmas Concert. East Steel has now become an established regular fixture at this event.

From humble and awkward beginnings perched on the risers, East Steel now stands proudly stage right [or is that stage left?] at the front. Once it was two tunes; now it is a half hour of Christmas tunes as the audience assembles, two slots, and incidental music during the prize-givings. And even communal songs, though that has yet to work properly.

This year Bex arranged Pure Imagination by Leslie Bricusse and The Power of Love by Holly Johnson. Simon Linley, former Leeds City Organist and our compere commented on how much hard work has to go into such arrangements. A compliment indeed!

Players were Bex, Trish, Joyce, Lynn, Wendy, Anne, Vicky, Wanda and Sophie with Natalie on drum-kit.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Moor Steel at Hyde Park Book Club

Millie was asked if she could play pans for her mate's charity bash at the Hyde Park Book Club. From 8 till 8.30 on a Tuesday night. There was only room for three to four players so we decided to form Moor Steel [from Woodhouse Moor, get it?] and we were yet another [more] band.

Some people think that Woodhouse Moor is called Hyde Park, but signs have been defaced in the fight against this sacrilege.

Chill agreed to play "kit" alongside his daughter on pan. Fehmina fell for the it's only half-an-hour routine. [Chill's kit was a few irons short of a drum.] But now, we are a "new" band so the rule is it is only the agreed common songs or completely new ones [or ones that never took off].

Well, if I don't play Under the Boardwalk  ever again, it will be too soon! Lol! I guess I may recover from this feeling. Anyway, I delve into my collection of written/never really used tunes, and Millie and I select She's Leaving Home [for Chill], Wonderful World, Hips Don't Lie [Sparrows, but arranged by Millie, with most notes left unplayed on the day! Lol and double lol!], You Are Not Alone [surprisingly recognisable and a bit of a singalong], Bach's Minuet in G, Somebody I Used to Know, Go West and possibly some others

Millie and I practised for an hour on Saturday, and Mina and I practised for 15 minutes on Tuesday just before the gig. Chill forget more bits of kit than I ever do.

He walks up from down the road bringing what he remembered, and I drive us both down to collect most of what he forgot. Mina's it's-only-half-an-hour is rapidly fading. In the end, with tape and cotton wool for a clutch, Chill's half a half a kit is awesome. We are soprano, single guitar and single second for pans, and we just fit.

Millie had been there for hours already [and it was licensed premises!].I have long since forgotten what the charity was.

 Here's a few indifferent pictures as a record of the event, which we do recall enjoying.

Monday, 1 January 2018

Sparrows at Royds Christmas Concert 2017

It didn't snow but it is dark and rainy. But into Royds School, which was very easy to find, it is warm and welcoming. Chris is already here and Emma is making teas and we can load straight from playground to hall.

Players are Owen, Kirsten [who both go to Royds], Karam, Isha, Ella, Esme [with Wanda helping her again], with guest drummer, Chris.

Emma from Royds joined us for a few carols at the beginning, then some awesome singing by other Royds students, then Sparrows played Symphony 40 and Wings of a Dove [Prince Buster of course].

pans set up waiting for players

Traditionally Royds has invited some older people from a local care home to sing carols, so just before the concert started we learnt Charlotte [Emery]'s version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. This has several bars with four chords in! And the Little Beauts managed it. Now that was a very public challenge I was proud of.

Back outside it was cold, dark and rainy, but we were done with gigs for 2017, and we did it in style!

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Leeds Silver Steel Sparrows at Temple Newsam

By Sunday the temperature had been plummeting to the point of widespread snow being forecast. And I was not recovered from standing on Brudenell Road in the cold and dark for two hours.

Plus I hadn't been able to do a reccy for this gig [parking- loading that kind of a thing], and we had originally agreed to do one set outside!

So on Sunday [December 10] I went over early to Temple Newsam; the staff carpark gate was being opened. Finding the organisers was easy; they were amenable to anything I suggested; we could do both sets inside; there was a green room in this fabulous old building with tea bags and urn; I could bring the van right to the door.

In Temple Newsam heaven.

The players were Kirsten, Annie, Owen, Karam, Isha, Ella, Esme, Alice and myself. We were joined in the second half by Wanda and Vicky. The two latter were being generally helpful in the first, Wanda was supporting our newest Sparrow; Vicky generally putting things in alphabetical order.

Apparently it [the room] had been rammed in the morning. Thankfully it wasn't in the afternoon and there was just enough room for the band, the parents, the organisers and a few strays overstaying the morningfest.

It had been a long and stressful weekend: three gigs, three separate bands, plus the YAMSEN: SpeciallyMusic Town Hall concert on Wednesday, and then another one at Royds coming on Tuesday that makes five gigs in seven days - just thinking about it makes me feel faint!]; massive snow warnings. 

But it was great! The Sparrows sight-read their way through one seasonal song after another. How Kirsten and Owen got their way through the first line of Magic Moments I'll never know, but they did! Woohoo!

[Now who are these characters let loose with my camera!]

Thursday, 28 December 2017

North Steel and North Steelettes play North Steel Music Centre Concert

We were at Allerton CE School where the music centre is based. We are inside and it is warm. We were on last and we followed Amy's lovely violins and also the adult singers [these made Georgia cry].

After three years at the music centre, we now have more beginners than pans. And we are outgrowing our room [which point I make regularly to Mark!].

This year we have also been able to include some Foxcubs [in the shape of James, Lola and Maya], and the concert we have an average of two parents/carers per cub.

The North Steelettes are Niall, Harvey, Lola, Darcy [only there for the rehearsal], James, Lola, Maya, Theo, Julie, Lucy, Ginny [also only at rehearsal], supported by Satinder. They play African Noel [wouldn't be a Christmas concert without a beginners' class playing it]  and Au Clair de la Lune.

North Steel took on We Three Kings, which according to Jackie [Luke's mum], was a massive raise on last year's standards, and then Kylie's entirely unseasonal Can't Get you Out of my Head.

We were me Sylvia, Satinder, Kurum, Ella, Julia, Luke, Isha and Theo, and I really enjoyed the challenge of playing both songs myself and was really proud of North Steel.

PS: They were allowed to wear antlers or Christmas hats as long as no one tried to invited me to do the same! Lol!