I am afraid your correspondent has been a little pre occupied on more temporal matters related to work (minor things such as teaching and marking) which has resulted in the delays to the February Newsletter.
SO as a special reward for your patience , you are being provided with a bumper edition- double the amount of tripe and witterings than usual!!
Both the February and March meetings were well attended- in fact most of our meetings are very well attended which is pleasing for everyone- especially our Treasurer when he examines the monthly balance sheets. It was also great to see Rob Sellery back with us. Rob's solo performances are polished and sensitive in style and presentation. He has written and performed a number of his own compositions along with those from a range of well known guitar composers. We always look forward to his solo performances- especially with his new, commissioned classical guitar which sounds sweet and deep- even in the acoustically unfriendly hall at St Marks. Only wish that we could have heard it in the church itself but that may be a step too far......and more about the church later!!!
Our chief ensemble front man and chainsaw specialist Ray Butcher has also been hard at work, He very kindly produced a series of simple ensemble performance booklets for the group- based on his collection. Obviously his frustrations with having to drag along sheet music was proving too much. Never the less it was a very kind gesture for which we are all grateful.
Our favourite article of furniture (Chair D Stockton esquire) fired the starting pistol and the ensemble session commenced. (We managed to cover the hole in the ceiling- not a word to the vicar!!). Our ensemble pieces concentrated on that old Waller and Brook chestnut ( Aint Misbehavin) which I am convinced is Ray's signature tune!!. We also paid a dubious tribute to the Shadows with an attack on 'Apache' that would have pleased General Custer, followed by a cover of that old Beatles favourite 'Eight Days a Week'.
Unfortunately, due to illness, Den was not available to kick off the March meeting which was left up to your correspondent. We hope that you get better soon Den!
We also understand that Den won't be on deck for April as he has a date in Amsterdam for that weekend- we hope that Theresa is aware of this news! There will be NO 'window shopping' for you Den Stockton!!
Following on from his success at the Feb meeting, Ray led us through FBI (the police siren accompaniment provided by Bromley's finest provided a nice backdrop. This was followed by Stings homage to serial stalkers, (Every Breath your Take), Ray Hendersen's (Five Foot Two, Eyes are Blue'), the aptly named Wet Wet Wet theme 'Love is All Around' (except at BGS meetings!!)and the rather fiendish favourite of Herr B Brecht Mack the Knife.
John Mann then led us through Note Bene reminding us all to concentrate on the rhythmic structure of the piece and to resist the temptation to 'speed through'. We must be getting better as I noticed that his expressions were a little less pained than usual. John is a first class gentleman who is extremely patient with us all and for that we are truly thankful. And we had some success- we played the whole thing all the way through- percussion and all!! Seriously Note Bene is an exciting ensemble piece with its flamenco , jazz modes and it is one that we are all keen to master. John wasn't put off his stroke in keeping us on track even though we did join in for an impromptu ensemble rendering of the birthday song in honour of his birthday. However I think he was more thrilled by the fact that we got through Note Bene than the Happy Birthday melody!!
We had a great range of solo performances for February and March and they are as follows
Ray Butcher Sons of Art Purcell
Larisa Lieberman Andante Sor
Vince Chittenden Bouree de Visee
Marion Davis Escalando Zenamon
Freddy Carvalho L’Oiseau arr. Azbizu
Popular Andalus arr. Azbizu
Alex Green Sons de Carrilhoes Pernambuco
John Mann Alba Haug
Steve Pearson Midnight in Moscow Trad.Russian
Le Streghe Paganini
Rob Sellery Piece Without Title Rob Sellery
La Paloma Yradier
Tom Rimmer Missouri Blues
Vince Chittenden Pavane Gaspar Sanz
Steve Pearson Tango Joseph Ferrer
Memories of 15th August Joseph Ferrer
Colin Baker Stars fell on Alabama (Anon)
Trevor Pike When you wish upon a star
Tessa Protheroe Mazurka Tarrega
Rob Sellery Celtic Ballad Martin Bell
Den has remarked that the standard of the solo performances are getting better all the time and I can see what he means. It was great to see a quick impromptu ensemble performance by Malcolm, Ray and Dave on the Purcell piece which was done 'off the cuff'. Only wish my sight reading was as good!!
The conclusion of the evening had a bit of an 'Edgar Allen Poe' atmosphere. After every one left, and we locked the doors, we made our way through the church to exit when we noticed that the altar was illuminated. This was followed by an organ recital of Bach' Toccatta and Fugue (played superbly I might add). We couldn't see the organist- mind you at that time of night we weren't particularly keen to explore this option. Whether it was real or a unsettling ghostly apparition, the music was wonderful and deeply appreciated so thank you whoever it was and where ever you are!!