February March Meeting 2014

Hi Folks

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

Malcolm Lane
Ray Butcher                               Sons of Art                          Purcell
Dave Hampton
Vince Chittenden
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!!

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