Paula's Place

Paula's Place

Monday, 4 September 2017

Goodbye and Hello

It's been a funny old few days; ~ no change there then you may well think, but I have had a busy weekend with a couple of performances a couple of parties, and then tonight a rehearsal.   That may not sound so unusual for me but it has been packed with contrasts.

Lets start with the two parties, one on Saturday afternoon / evening and one on Sunday evening.   Saturday's was a birthday party for an old friend ~ I don't particularly want to embarrass him but it was a big one, and well worth celebrating.   It took me a while to actually believe the age he claims to be as I'm sure he must be younger than that!   It was a very civilised evening hosted in their lovely garden (for which I will claim some small credit) where I had a chance to catch up with some friends I haven't seen for some time.   As I had driven there I too was quite civilised and managed to display some self restraint for once.

I did feel as though I was dressed rather formally for such an event, but I had come straight from my first performance of the weekend.   I had been conducting the rather wonderful All Saints Concert Band at Ruskin Park in South London.   Over the last few years I haven't had many opportunities to conduct a whole concert so this was rather a special occasion.   This is a band I have been associated with ever since it first started back in the 1970s ~ I was very young at the time ~ and since then I have had two stints as assistance or associate MD, this concert represents the end of my second stint in the role.   Not because I am fed up with them, or indeed them with me, but because I have a new venture to pursue.

They were even kind enough to allow me to play Leroy Anderson's "The Syncopated Clock" rather a simple but jolly little piece, which was the first thing I ever conducted with them, or indeed anyone!

The next day I had to hit the road and get down to Herne Bay in Kent to play a band stand concert with the "Band of the Surrey Yeomanry".   It is a nice bandstand and one of my favorite bands to play with, and there was good ice cream!   The only fly in the ointment was that I was playing Euphonium, not my favorite instrument to play, and I'm well and truly out of practise on it.   Somehow I managed to get through without embarrassing myself too much, but by the end I did feel as though I had been continuously punched in the mouth!

I then made tracks back towards London for my second party of the weekend, this one celebrating a young couple getting engaged.  Certainly a contrast to the previous evening! definitely not as quiet and sedate, but once again it was good to catch up with some friends I hadn't seen for while.   Somehow I naturally gravitated to the end of the hall with the parents, aunts and uncles, I know my place!   It is encouraging seeing a young couple so in love, they just seem to be such a natural couple, I have to wish them a long and very happy life together.

So lots of contrasts, playing my forth (or fifth I lose count) choice instrument, final conducting performance with a band I have been around for over forty years, a sixtieth birthday party and an engagement party ~ quite a weekend.

Then tonight, my first rehearsal back as MD of Croydon Brass!   I used to conduct this band "in a previous life" but had to pull back for family reasons that simply don't exist any more.   So I was very pleased to be invited to take over again as my successor stepped down after several years in the role.   There are some of the same players I remember and a few new ones, there are also, of course, a few who have left.   This is a friendly band with a long history, but to continue we need to make a few changes, not least will be updating the website!   We have two or three performances scheduled before Christmas so we have plenty to work on, and then a whole new year ahead of us.

At the moment our first priority is to find a couple of cornet players, we aren't looking for star players (although I wouldn't turn them away) we just need two reliable, regular cornet players to come along on a Monday night; we'll even lend them an instrument!

I was a little nervous about returning to a post I held before, but after tonight I am quite excited about the future and putting on some great concerts with this band. In the mean time I had better get on with writing up my bio for the Band web site!
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