Monday, 26 December 2011

December Term Time Gigs

Dear Debs

A whole term has now passed for you, and you are still in the UK. I can only imagine how frustrating . . , and I am glad that the odd steelband gig has helped keep you sane, though these gigs won't be doing anything much for your solvency!

In my last blog I looked wistfully back to having my own school shows, but actually I couldn't do all the things below and be attached to only one school, and in any case you can't really fight Fate. So, counting my blessings . . . .

After Sharp lane's successful debut gig came the adorable Rosebank [Dec 2]. First off was Fred and Alex's guitar groups then my Yr 4 Mixed Percussion [two pans, glocks, chime bars, xylophone, djembes, tambourines] Group. We played the chords to Merrily, and asked the audience to sing the tune.

Then East Steel at the Town Hall [Dec 7] YAMSEN: SpeciallyMusic Concert. Players were me and Bex, Lynn, Anne, Judy, Joyce, Cathy, Cheryl, Vicky, Katie, Karen, Natasha, Alli, Ruth, Adele, with Natalie on kit. This year Bex's beginners made their debut as our support act [Wendy, Peter, Jeanette, Bella, Rameice, Trisha]. Our featured tunes were Saviour's Day and Minuet in G [Bach]. But the best fun to be had was accompanying the prize giving with Mango Walk, Jamaica Farewell and Troika [just the catchy bit].

Allerton Grange was next [Dec 8]. Mostly it was the glorious Year 7 plus Ciara and Misha. Many of these Yr Sevens had played pans in their primary schools [some even with me at Moor Allerton], so unsurprisingly they were going for Pachelbel's Kanon [this time in C], Au Clair de la Lune, Price Tag and Wavin Flag. Allerton Grange also has its own brilliant Yr 11 steelband led by Theo, who a, had arranged Walking in the Air for them and b, agreed to stand in with the Relative Beginners as quite a few couldn't make it.

Friday was quite quiet. I don't "work" on Fridays. Went to Sharp Lane to collect rest of pans for tuning, went to Bradford [accidentally had left workshop set with two F pans from the double bass - bit like two left feet] with the right foot [so to speak], babyminded Maya, saw Daisy's big Uni performance, helped Rick load the van for tuning, babysat so Danny could see Daisy's show, taught JJ how to knit.

Saturday [Dec 10], me, Bex, Nat, Vicky [coming from Hyde Park, Horsforth, Little London and Chapel Allerton] played with Sparrows: Millie S, Claudia and Evie [coming from Hyde Park, Chapeltown and Beeston] played, as Sparrows for Little London Community Fair. Louie, Claudia's dad assumed the role of compere, and I tried to book him as such on a permanent basis. [I think he thinks I'm joking]

Putting the last pans into the van as he did, Rick set off for Clapton at 6 am on Saturday -10 Dec]. While Sparrows were rocking Little London Leeds with Little Donkey, down south in big London Grafton was knocking Sharp Lane's pans back into shape. And the rest! Pans and Rick arrived back safely at 9.30pm. House flooded with pans again [as usual, I hear the family say]

At Crawshaw [Dec 12] the BTEC class danced their way through Winter Wonderland, and emoted through Silent Night. Not able to get to your old school, Debs, South Leeds as our performances were concurrent. Soz, Charlotte.

[Dec 14] I mustered 4 Sparrows [Maisie, Nina, Georgia and myself] for the ArtForms Special Needs Singalong at West Park. We lost the only copy of our featured song, Last Christmas about ten minutes before going on, so we just played the chords and let the audience sing the tune. And, when we tried to join in with the new little concert band [Julia from the ArtForms Wind Trio and Friends], we discovered they had some new little keys to Rudolf and the rest. Transposing as we go!

[Dec 14] in the evening, the Steel Siblings [self-named and so called because all these City of Leeds Year 7s have sisters who also play pans, and the Silver Robins played for City Vibe at City of Leeds School, with Varshika having to agree that she is a better drummer than me, then the Sparrows [Amy, Maisie, Jenner, Millie S, Millie C, Varshika and me] previewing one of our Music For Youth tunes. [And what was that, I hear you wonder.]

[Dec 15] Al's son poorly, so off to Methley for Yr 6, and one of the best ever arrangements of Jingle Bells and Winter Wonderland! I had only met them once before. They accepted me, let me count them in, and then they were a credit to Al and to their teacher and to themselves

[Dec 16] Last day of term. This was Foxwood Steel and Foxwood Doves at Prince Philip Centre for the PHAB end of year party. I wouldn't normally spend the last day of term entirely sober, but owing to some confusion of dates this happened. We were me. Bex, Joe Mac, Amy and Danielle. Danielle, since she gave up being educated in exchange for work and being meaningfully trained hasn't played a gig for months. She was tremendous and had to endure being hugged for her efforts! [Pics to follow]

Unity panto [Dec 17] was possibly some gigs too far. More anon.

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