Monday, 28 July 2014

Foxwood Family Steel play Holly and Sam's wedding in Sidmouth

as guests arrive
So, Morgan's friends. Holly and Sam are getting married. They have heard a recording of us somewhere playing Hey Yah [arranged by our friend, Xanthe], now that's going back a bit a bit. Would we play Skinny Love as Holly walks "down the aisle", and Hey Yah after? Of course. There's space for 3 or 4 pans.
The Pavilion

In Sidmouth.

Sidmouth is 296 miles away from Leeds by the shortest route; and July is summer holidays. After much discussion, and two and a half practices in Leeds, we let Rick off the hook and Bex drives herself, Gig and the pans down. This takes them 8 and a half hours! Mig takes a pan down on the train from Manchester. I train it minimally from Leeds via an MU meeting in London, pausing to stay at the glorious Pavilion.
rehearsal in the kitchen
setting up tent
packing away tent

We camp at Salcombe Regis, take a Chinese takeaway, drink wine, beer and cider till tent next door asks us to be quiet. Have all forgotten sleep mats. Everyone wakes at 4.30. Eek.
hair-straightening in tent
We rehearse at Kennaway House, then play as guests assemble for the wedding: Skinny Love, then Kanon while they sign, then Hey Yah.
Gig selfie in kitchen rehearsal
As luck would have it, I get a taxi on Friday from Sidmouth to campsite wherein Chris the Taxi and I arrange that I should book my taxi for after the ceremony. And now it's 3.15 and Chris is outside K House. I abandon the Von Trapps and scoot off to Exeter, still in long black dress and pale blue pashmina. Chris and I discuss cycling and generally put the world to rights, and only disagree on whether cyclists should run red lights.
I am hoping that Ruth and Claire will be wanting this sort of outfit for their wedding in Mirfield next month. Must make sure I have a photo of us to send them
selfie in Sidmouth
Well, Debs, who is sitting on the train from Plymouth to Leeds? Same carriage, also returning from a wedding.
Ruth and Claire. That's too bizarre.
looking back at Gig, Mig and Bex as I fly off to Exeter Station

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Foxwood Steel play Manchester Carnival

Now then Debs,
 You are here for this. We take a little Foxwood Seven-piece to Manchester. Seven-piece because I misheard what date of playing was. Anyway, no need to go into that now. We got ourselves a band together and we were lovely.
We played early on in a corner away from all the other sounds, nicely placed between the toilets and the bar. We used both.
A little crowd eventually gathered around us [no not just queuing for the facilities. They came to dance]. Damien brought us drinks.
We were me, you, Bex, Charlotte, Sophie, Natalie and Vicky. We have one Foxwood player who lives in Manchester, but sadly Mig is working. I called on Mig on my way home. He was peeling skin off his legs and back from his German holiday sunburn.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Leeds Silver Steel Sparrows play Breeze on Briggate July 2014

Well Debs, it's always risky doing a gig in the school holidays, even if it's the first day of the hols, so the Sparrows are down in numbers. Good news: the Sparrows supported Foxwood recently to the tune of being more Sparrows than Foxes. And between our three bands [Foxwood, East Steel, Sparrows] we have a common repertoire of over 25 tunes, so sight-reading will be minimal. Or, as Spirit of Trinidad turned out, on the brink of disastrous!
But Debs, I am ruthless; we push new tunes into the repertoire until all players cave in and accept. Thus Bridge Over Troubled Water and Redemption Song are just about staples.
But I digress. The heatwave is occasioning rain; and it rains in the morning, then slightly less in the afternoon. We have Singing in the Rain in reserve; we don't need to use it, and we bring out the sun.
We are Sparrows: Claudia, Millie S, Peter, Ash, Naomi, Foxwood: Bex, Varshika, Vicky, Gig, Fehmina, Sophie, teachers: Me, Bex, Gig and Bart.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Rest of the Best Last Lap

Why Leeds ArtForms and other music services run these central teacher ensembles is for three main reasons:
1. It's highly educational while being entertaining, watching a band or orchestra of top class players, who are also your teachers, play music themselves. That we/they are teachers means we know our students, know their attention spans, know their tastes in music, know how we can push different genres and new tunes; we know how far to go with interaction before we cause a riot. And we always leave 'em wanting more [and ourselves!]
Rest of the Best last tour
2. The life of a peripatetic teacher can be quite lonely, and it's good for the soul to get together with other peris.
3. It's also a good repertoire exchange for the teachers.
So, less of the justification and it's back on the road. It's the Rest of the Best's last lap for July 2014. This time we are me [steelpan, Bass guitar, ukulele], Diane [keyboards, accordion, ocarina], Janet [flute, clarinet], Fiona [violin, viola, acoustic guitar], Mike [electric guitar, vocals], Dan [electric and acoustic guitar], Bart [kit].
City of Leeds Wednesday
City of Leeds on Wednesday
In the morning we are Green Meadows School in Guiseley and Rawdon St Peter's. I left my pan stand at the former so had to do pan de neck with two bits of string at the latter [ouch de neck!].
Last tour
After lunch at the Lounge in Farsley, it's over to Milestone for what  is, inevitably, our best performance, now that we have rehearsed at seven other schools!
And this year, we built in time to lunch out together between schools, so reason number Four!
4. discover new cafes.
[Have included some archive photos as my camera came to a battery halt on Thursday.][have not included pics of kids even if they have publicity permission as, for this blog, it would be unnecessarily intrusive]
outside West Oaks, Boston Spa, 2012 tour
Parklands PS last tour
last tour

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Rest Of the Best resumes its Tour of Leeds Schools

On Tuesday Rest of the Best [Leeds ArtForms mixed instrumental ensemble] are back on the road.
Tuesday morning finds us at Pennyfield with me [steelpan], Diane [keyboards, accordion], Fiona [violin, viola, acoustic guitar], Janet [clarinet, flute], Bart [kit], Mike [electric guitar], Melvin [steelpan] and Jermaine [steelpan]. This makes us a pan trio! Outnumbering the guitarists for the first time ever.

We dine at Chapel Allerton, where Ash joins us on one of his many work experiences.

In the afternoon, we play at Broomfield where we lose Melvin but are joined by Bex. The [pictures are in no particular order].