Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Cellofest in East Anglia

This time we are at the Royal Free Hospital.  Ah, all the familiar faces, and, heavens, someone I know from Leeds that I wasn't expecting. Rick arrives with the van full of pans, and, yippee, my bike.

I am staying in St Vincent [Building] and teaching in Hood. Lunches are in the main building and the play-together similarly in the hall. The students are all bigger, and the concerts all throw up their magic moments. And after seeing a student playing their solo you always see them in a different light when they are fighting their way around the layout of the steelpans.

I pace the evenings, never going to bed later than 1am, nonetheless I have soon doubled my usual weekly alcohol intake. Morgan is not with me for the first time in a while, and there's just a lot more to do.

[And this sunrise picture is more about early-rising than late to bed!]

The theme of the big play-together is Sea Songs, and out of the medley I have chosen Under the Boardwalk and Sailing, as well as Under the Sea which Ruben has included for us as a pan solo.  My band consists of some parents who are surprising themselves and three violinists and a cellist.  And they are all impressing me.

So good to see the old familiar faces: Barney, Liz, Rhiannon, Tess, Rachel,  Carey, Ruben, Pam, well I am bound to have missed someone out (soz), and surprise Dave from Leeds. In the absence of Morgan I decide to adopt Remco, now a tall 6ft 7.

Disappointed the Spanish Catalans weren't  there in their previous en masse. 1. They are ace. 2. I spent a year learning Spanish.

I content myself with speaking French with Antoine and the gang. Just above is Dave the drummer and I with the chord sequence to Someone I Used to Know.

Four days never pass so fast. The stewards do justice to the Jar of Hearts that I present them. It takes one and half sessions to get all the notes but all three to do sad, angry and reflective. I feel my eyes prickle as we take on the chorus for the second time and realise that we are absolutely all together. Anna from Finland comes up to me in the dining hall, and shakes my hand; Carey says she never got goosebumps off a steelband before. Thank you stewards. (And thank you, Louis, for that concert piece. My week pivoted around it].

The parents and the violinists (and my substitute son) take on Ruben's Under the Sea, and win. It was a last minute thing, but we held our nerve and it worked. Phew. Exchange emails and undying love, then it's back to Leeds.

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