August 15th Meeting of the BGS

Despite a few of our regulars being absent there was still a healthy turn-out of eleven of us for this meeting. With John, our regular band leader, missing, we were expecting to have to try and 'wing it' for the ensemble pieces this evening. Luckily we were saved from having to face that potential chaos when Kate stepped up to take the helm and did an amazing job of conducting the group.

Kate introduced a new ensemble piece to us - "To The 5th Power" by Aaron Stang and Sandy Feldstein. This catchy piece has a modern feel with a slow intro followed by an up tempo second section with a swing feel. (The chord progression is very reminiscent of "I'd Love to Change the World", Alvin Lee's great song from 1971.) Kate had previous experience of this arrangement and did an admirable job of teaching us the nuances of the piece, guiding us through the tempo change, isolating different parts to ensure we had it right, and even singing the melody at one point to help us 'get' the rhythm - that was a very useful aid! Consensus among the players afterwards was that Kate made it very clear when it came to timing and rhythm. Well done Kate!

We followed this with some more practice of  "Ballad" by Mark Houghton.

Half-time refreshments followed. Thanks, as always, to Trevor for the teas, coffees and delicious biscuits.

Sticking to the mainly modern theme of the evening, solo pieces this week were:

Marion Santillana by David Cottam
Colin Somebody Loves Me by George Gershwin
Freddy Self-arranged medley: "Hear my Song, Violetta", "Spanish Eyes" and "La Paloma"
Steve Un Dia de Noviembre by Leo Brouwer

After the solos we had a stab at a couple of pieces from "Ray's Big Book". We gave up halfway through Stairway to Heaven. Maybe we should adopt the approach of many music shops and have a sign on the wall:

We had considerably more success with the old Shadow's tune "Wonderful Land" by Jerry Lordan, and had a fair attempt at Eleanor Rigby before calling it a day at the end of a very enjoyable meeting.

Please note that there is a new page, Current Ensemble Repertoire, accessible at the top of the blog, just under the logo. Visit that page to see the pieces we are currently working on.

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