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5th December 2017

It seems I may have joined Glastonbury Brass then! Played at my first official concert with them on Sunday 3rd December at the Salvation Army Temple in Street -Glastonbury-Brass fabulous band, just fabulous. What an honour to play with so many great players. As for Paul Lovatt-Coopers' 'Fire in the Blood' - wow. Such a powerful piece - it nearly overwhelmed me. Catherine could see I was really made up about finally finding a truly magnificent band to play in - and not too far away from home either.

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25th November 2017

Vaughan-Williams' Symphony No. 1 - the Sea Symphony - with Exeter Symphony Orchestra at Exeter Cathedral today - complete with over 200 singers from local choral societies, organ, and two vocal soloists: oh, and a completely full, sell-out house! It's a true delight to be able to perform such diverse and demanding pieces with this orchestra: I love it! It was a superb performance, especially with the two regular conductors playing percussion to pave the way for our guest conductor Laurence Blyth who had come up with the idea for the concert in the first place, wanting to do 'something epic' - well he certainly achieved that. Looking forward to Brahms Symphony No. 2 next March!

 

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16th November 2017

Thoroughly enjoyed conducting the lovely folks at Burnham & Highbridge Band, but after much soul-searching I've decided it's a little too far away and too much for me to take on full time. On the spur of the moment, I looked up the newly-formed Glastonbury Brass (what used to be Yeovil Town Band), and as luck would have it, they need a BBb bass player. I've been for a blow, during which I successfully sight-read the Areas test piece (Paganini Variations), and did the same with Journey into Freedom - a piece I've always wanted to play. I thought I did rather well - I certainly enjoyed every moment. I've been asked for my availability, and am awaiting a call to arrange a formal audition. We'll see what happens.

5th November 2017

Sighs loudly and with all due passion: Wellington Silver Band and I have parted company. Just too many Christmas gigs (there's dozens of them), but mainly because it clashes too much with Exeter Symphony Orchestra on a Tuesday evening - something I'm not prepared to give up - and it's just become too much. The business with my arrangement for their concert hasn't exactly pleased me either, and it doesn't seem that I'm going to reimbursed for it either. So my local band has to be Taunton Concert Band then, but I've just seen their engagement list, and I can't do two out of three major Christmas events as I'm already booked elsewhere! Not going terribly well is it? I do have an 'interview' for the post of Musical Director at Burnham and Highbridge Band (non-contesting) this week, so I'll let youSWBBA_white know how that pans out.

Disappointing day for Tiverton Town Band at the SWBBA Contest in Torquay at the weekend - 8th out of 9, but at least they were there and made a herculean effort to make it despite going through a very difficult period. Fantastic result for Sidmouth Town Band though - 3rd in the 'Open Section - beating several Chamionship Section bands, but most notably coming way ahead of SW Comms Band (Lympstone) - no one saw that coming I'll bet!

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22nd October 2017

Two more back to back concerts this weekend just past - one on tuba with Wellington Silver Band for the Poppy Appeal at Wellington School (tell me again: why did they do the draw right at the end after we'd finished and were packing up??), and the other on drums with Tiverton Town Band at Tiverton Community Arts Theatre. Both concerts featured music either composed or arranged by myself, which is always good, but please - READ THE FLIPPIN' MUSIC AND PLAY WHAT'S WRITTEN! Cuprinol, as I'm frequently heard to say. It makes the audience thinks it's the composers' fault when it goes wrong and not the players. That said, when you're sight-reading a drum part that merely says 'play straight quavers and ad lib on bongos or whatever' but fails to tell you that it changes from 4/4 to 3/4 then EVERYONE thought it was me! I know only too well some drum parts can at best be described as being basic, but please - even we percussionists aren't all clairvoyant! Oh the joys of playing the drums!

15th October 2017

Back again after a short absence due to illness just for a change, and after a well-deserved week long holiday in Brittany - wonderful. September saw theLogo_2017Cherubim Music Trust Festival take place, and it appears to have been well-supported and has received quiet a lot of praise. Videos are availavle on the Cherubim Trust website. Then there was the concert in Ashburton with the only slightly under rehearsed Esoteric Brass Quintet, but again very well received despite the dreadful weather.

Then I had the pleasure of playing tuba with the Stan Hacking Concert Band under the direction of Barry Parsons - albeit at very short notice. Sight reading the entire programme was fun! Thankfully, and by pure chance, I'd had the opportunity to play one of the most difficult pieces at the John Packer Advanced Wind Band Day the day before.

And this weekend, well! Two events that were rather like chalk and cheese. On Saturday I played drums with the Tiverton Town 'Oompah' Band, which despite everything went really well and was a actually a lot of fun. They truly are a fabulous bunch of people. Today saw me playing tuba again at Choral Evensong with Exeter Symphony Orchestra in Exeter Cathedral, which, was a pure delight. How professional did it sound? Top  notch - especially the combined Cathedral and University Choirs, who were exceptional.

15th August 2017

I've taken a few days out recently after the debacle of the last couple of weeks. They say things happen in three's, well, now I've had to let down my good friendsWellington_Band_logo at Tiverton Town Band at Bleinheim Gardens in Minehead over the weekend due to work commitments with Co-operative Funeralcare, and I didn't even get a call-out either!

I've been back to the docs: medication changed (again), had my hands looked at by an Orthopdaedic Surgeon, and it seems my left hand with the clawing and the trapped nerve, is much better, but my right hand may have to be operated on in the future - not if I have anything to do with it it won't!! Physio seems to be working, and to quote the surgeon: "You have to stop abusing your hands by playing the drums and the tuba...!"

Good news: Kate Yarwood is coming back to Wellington Silver Band on percussion, and I've also been 'promoted' to Principal (only) BBb Bass, to which I am really looking forward.

6th August 2017

Well what a few days that was! We're back in our own bedroom now after sharing one with the penguins for the last month: something I found very stressful.Sun_Tomorrow Not the penguins of course, but decorating our own room from scratch and having all our 'stuff' all over the house. Then there's the debacle of missing the Honiton Show due to the mud. I was hours early for the opening night of 'Annie' as a result, so much so that I hadn't noticed that the show had started at 7.00pm - although I thought the start did come round fairly sharply. I'd have made it  for at least 7.00pm on Friday evening had it not been for me a) being uber-stressed with getting our house straight again, and b) forgetting it was mid-summer on an August Friday evening. Could I get out onto the A303? No. It took me the best part of 20-30 minutes. I was dead chuffed that I'd made to The Beehive in the nick of time for the 7.30pm start, only to find they were halfway through Act 1 having started at 7.00pm. My already frazzled brain took an even bigger nose dive and the black dog enveloped me again. I don't remember much of the show - everyone was clearly worried about me, but I was beyond help. I phoned Catherine after the show in a right state, and somehow managed to drive home safely. What a complete nightmare: I'd managed to let down Ottery St Mary Band, and now I'd let down Ian Crew and Honiton Musical Theatre Company too. I was beyond consolation. Rather sheepishly, I arrived in plenty of time for the Saturday evenings' last performance - and played really well - heaven knows why. Everyone was so caring and helpful - I didn't know what to say. In the words of Annie herself: 'the sun will come out tomorrow.......'

5th August 2017

I had to let a band down yesterday - because of the weather. I arrived at Honiton Show a couple of hours early knowing what it was usually like, and was met by a chap turning cars away from the car park at the GreenHoniton_ShowGate, and it wasn't hard to see why. I went on to the White Gate where I was supposed to drive in to unload my drum kit, and found that the torrential rain had taken it's toll - and it was a quagmire. Lorries were getting stuck, cars were being towed out, so I reluctantly had to admit defeat and called off my guest appearance with Ottery St Mary Silver Band - not something I like to do very often. I couldn't afford to a) get stuck on site in my car and not make the opening night of 'Annie', and b) get my beautiful Premier 'Resonator' drums and Paiste 'Signature' cymbals damaged in the mud and rain. Not very happy.

BeehiveBeing the first to arrive and hanging around for ages outside The Beehive, once the doors were opened I was able to get all set up and ready in plenty of time. First night was not bad at all - but I was ready for my bed by the time I arrived home.

29th July 2017

Today saw me playing drums for Wellington Silver Band at Dunkirk House in Bishops Lydeard - right on my doorstep. It's a lovely facility run by the RoyalDunkirk_House British Legion for ex-servicemen, and we played some suitably memorable music for them. Andy Stark looked a lot better today and had some proper colour to his cheeks, and it was good to see Kate Yarwood attending a Wellington Band gig - albeit as a spectator on this occasion. There was an outing for my composition 'The Love That We Share', which the band seem to enjoy - probably because it's easy, and short!

25th July 2017excalibur_BBweb

I've just received an email that's made my heart sing: my original composition Excalibur has gone on global release in the new 2017 MF Publications catalogue, together with my concert march Heroes of the Sky and trombone trio Midnight In Moscow. It sits alongside works by Alan Fernie, Simon Kerwin and Mario Buerki and will (hopefully) be bought and played worldwide. I love the cover - couldn't have done it better myself. Can I finally call myself a professional composer? Here's one in the eye for all those in the past that have written me off as a no-hoper and said I'd never amount to anything. It's not riches beyond compare, but it'll do me and there's more to come.

23rd July 2017

So today, other than battling the constant scourge of depression, I'm off to Honiton for the band call of the Honiton Pantomime Society's production of 'Annie' -Annie-Slider one of my least favourite shows - but hey, it's a great story. Looks as if I might get slightly damp carting my gear about: might just take the bare essentials. It'll help being with fellow musicians - all of whom know I suffer with the dreaded 'black dog' (not going to give him the honour of capitalisation here) and some also suffer in silence. Music is a huge help dealing with it.

21st July 2017

Such a shame! Wellington Silver Band's 'Proms at St Margaret's Hopsice' tomorrow evening has been cancelled as the site is waterlogged after the rainSt_Margarets_Hospice yesterday and today - and probably more tomorrow. Never mind - I can look forward to a day's decorating instead! Looking forward to the 'band call' for Honiton Pantomime Society's production of 'Annie' on Sunday though. Whilst not totally inspired by the music (!), it'll be good to play the drums anyway!

 

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18th July 2017

A very interesting evening at Kenn Parish Church on Sunday evening with Esoteric Brass. We played at a 'Songs of Praise-style' service where individuals of note from the village were 'interviewed' about aspects of their lives. It was most enlightening listening to a retired Royal Marine Padre - what an interesting life! It was also the culmination of the Kenn / Kennford 'Scarecrow Festival' week - some examples of which were very good indeed! A great way to bring the villagers together. Playing my hymn arrangements and the first outing of 'As the Deer' - it all went rather well. Lunch provided by Paul and his good lady wife - huge thank you!


17th July 2017

Saturday evening saw me playing drums with Wellington Silver Band at the hugely well-attended 'Proms in the Park' event in Wellington Park. Great fun - andWellington_Prom a very appreciative audience who I'm sure were there not just for the band, but for the bar and hog roast! Just a bit of a shame that certain 'official jobsworths' not part of the band seemed hell bent on making it as difficult as possible. Words have been had in the right places and we hope there is no repetition at future events in the most beautiful of settings. Great to be playing the drums again - I just love it.

ESO_Banner13th July 2017

Having managed to arrive at Kenn for the first ESOteric Brass quintet rehearsal since 2016 - this time on the right date but minus most of my dots, which still haven't materialised, we went through the hymns and pieces I'd arranged for the church service next Sunday - and they sound lovely - especially 'As the Deer'. Everyone was in sparkling form, well their senses of humour in any case! Slightly worrying that a group four Magpies congregated on a house roof opposite and seemed very intent on us. My good friends in the quintet are great bunch of people though, and we welcomed Josh Beadon on trumpet who is standing in again for the poorly Myles Taylor, despite recently having had some dental work done himself!
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12th July 2017

Interesting rehearsal with Wellington Silver Band last evening - great to be playing kit again, and my right hand was nowhere near as awkward as I thought it might have been, which has to be good news. I'm looking forward to the first of their series of 'Proms in the Park' concerts this Saturday coming. I've sent the major piece of work that was arranging 'Princes of the Universe' by Queen from the Highlander films to the publisher, and hope they like it! Writing it solely from a YouTube live video recording was a real challenge. Last evening I was also handed two photos of a byegone era by a band member too - pics of my time in the Band of the Devon and Dorset Regiment back in the 1990's. Some great memories there!


8th July 2017

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What a honour to share the same stage as Raphael Wallfisch last night! His playing in the Dvorak Cello Concerto was sublime - a true virtuoso player - and here in Exeter. The Bliss also went well, but it was beginning to sound a little weary towards the end. Fantastic job by all the back room staff - and a sizeable audience in what is a huge venue too. Now all I have to do is locate my dots for the Esoteric Brass Quintet gig in a couple of weeks: they seem to have hidden themselves during our recent house move.


7th July 2017

I've started working for Musikverlag-frank (MF Publications) as a transcriber - as well as doing my own compositions and arrangements. So, when you're playing music from MF Publications in the future, there's a highmf logopossibility it might be my work. If, on the other hand, you don't like it, it's almost certainly not my work! Plenty of new pieces coming that willhave my name on them though - and it's quite a humbling thought that they'll be out there long after I've departed this mortal coil. Some not so good news today though: Physio has given me a steroid jab in my right thumb joint (ouch!) to relieve the pain I've been suffering from for years. It's Arthritis - and may well result in an operation in the future to remove the problem piece of bone. I'm already finding it harder to play percussion because of it (and that's not a cue for derisory comments), and it remains to be seen how it will affect my tuba playing. I don't think it'll be a problem, but as it's strapped up good and proper at the moment, the 'Colour Symphony' by Sir Arthur Bliss might be fun in Exeter Cathedral tomorrow night.

 

29th  June 2017

Minions_laughingSo, I drive all the way from Bishops Lydeard to Kenn (the other side of Exeter) for a rehearsal of 'Esoteric Brass' (my brass quintet), arriving promptly at the allotted time, only to find no one else is there. A quick phone call to to Paul proved fruitless - phone not switched on, so I phone Liz. The conversation goes: Liz: 'Hello Colin'. Me: 'Hi Liz - am I in the right place?' Liz: 'That depends where you're meant to be'. Me: 'I'm supposed to be at our quintet rehearsal at Kenn'. Liz: 'That's next week, so you're not in the right place!'...

 

First blog entry

PoliticsNot much here at the moment, but that's because it's just a newly created page. Watch this space - there's plenty on the way. I'm intending to try and make it a light-hearted diary-style blog, but there might be a few rants in there too - but definitely no politics.