MSE – Summer Break

Well we knew she was coming, and she baked a cake …..

Thanks to Susie for the delish lemon drizzle … which also did us nicely for elevensies this morning 🙂

This is a quick note to confirm some basic arrangements over the summer break, and help us set up for a triumphant if rather late return to arms.

I thought our initial practice session of “Home on the Range” went really well – I’ll post it to the website soon and send out a separate note.  I’ll also work on the Jacksons’ “I want you back” which seems to have legs and work well as a lively number.  If you could get your fingers around the faster passages ready for our return, that would be great.

The much-heralded homework was as expected, that we each prepare 1 or 2 tunes as solos (played to CD backing) for when we get back together.  I’m not looking for great complexity / technical challenges, more that each of us tries to demonstrate some musical expression, varied dynamics, personal touches etc. along with maybe a bit of stage presence.

Various of you borrowed CD books – Jas (Take the Lead – Jazz), Susie – Coolspot Golden, Matt or David – Movie tunes for tenors (not sure who actually took it !).  This is just an aide memoire for me.

This exercise will only be successful if we all join in, and put our best foot forward – so it’s over to you.  Ben and I will also prep. some tunes, and if it all works well, we can organise a night out with beer etc. to air our efforts.

@Ray – please also join in, and feel free to give me a call if you need some inspiration over which tune(s) to play.

We’re now on a break until the autumn term.  I gather that some of the gang aren’t around on Sept 7th (first day back), and Ben has holiday booked in late Sept., so we have to decide (nearer the time) whether to get back together briefly in mid-Sept to set the scene, then reconvene in early Oct., or just the latter.  If you’ve got any opinions either way, please let me know.

Overall, in the next term we’ll do more of the same, but slightly differently.  I’ll send out a list of carried forward tunes and I’m working on some new fun stuff for the new term.  I haven’t however set a concert date as next term could be quite ‘dynamic’ for me, and I don’t want to set up a date only to have to cancel.

That said, we’ll prep. stuff for the spring term, mix in some Xmas fayre and go busking – if we get on famously, finding a venue won’t be a problem.

Have a great break, and I look forward to more note-bashing when it’s even colder 🙂

Cheers Jem


Townswomen’s Guild concert / Final Rehearsal

Hi all,

Well done on a great concert last night.  It was definitely a feel-good evening, and I heard lots of really nice comments from the audience who appeared to have enjoyed the music immensely.  I think it was actually a bit of a shock to some as they apparently have single guest-speakers usually, plus craft demonstrations etc.  There are a few new faces at the helm recently, and I think they introduced us as a new and more lively type of entertainment.

Also, I was asked for our contact details by a lady who raises money for the Blind Welfare association on the island, as she wanted to look at organising a do.  I gave her our details so no doubt we’ll hear from her soon.

We’re meeting on Monday @ Whitestrand (rear conservatory), for a final and informal rehearsal session before the summer break.  I want to try out a couple of new ideas, and we can agree on which of the ‘pending’ tunes we want to take forward to the next term in addition to any Christmas fayre.  Seems strange to be talking about Christmas in July, but there you go ….

Susie’s bringing a cake – and we’ll grab some nibbles and some soft drinks (’cause everyone’s driving), so we can see of the term in grand style.

Finally, I had intended to cover various arrangements for next term on Monday, but some topics cropped up last night.   For various reasons, I have to put a fair bit of flexibility into the band’s arrangements over the next term or two, and in particular avoid setting up events that I / we may not be able to deliver to.  Hope that doesn’t sound too vague, and I’ll give more details on Monday.  The upshot however, is that I haven’t progressed arrangements so far with Alistair (that can be postponed), and we don’t have any fixed concert dates in the coming term.  There are lots of options, and finding a concert date when we’re ready is no big deal, so let’s have the chat before we break for the summer.

Cheers Jem

Rehearsal Tonight / Concert Wednesday

Hi all,

Just a quick note to confirm that we’ll be rehearsing at Whitestrand tonight, starting at 7pm as usual – but in the rear conservatory, not the barn.

Our concert this week is in St. John’s village hall, on Wednesday starting at 7pm.  This is earlier than our usual start time, so please make sure you’re there for 6:30pm for a tune-up before we start.

Thanks all – see you tonight.

Cheers Jem

Port Erin Concert / Next Rehearsal

Hi all,

Well done for tonight’s concert in Port Erin.  The folks seemed to like us, and have already asked us if we could come back in March !

Highlights were Moondance, the two tunes played to the boom-box backing (Standing room only / Night Train), Cool Saints, and of course David’s ‘Ballade’.

The last of these shows just what’s possible with some real time, effort and focus put into a piece.  David owned it from start to end, and dialled in lots of musical expression and variety.  I really enjoyed listening to it, and judging from the applause so did the audience !

On the downside, Pink Panther ran way too fast (and no-one looked up, so I was powerless to slow the band down), and Don’t Cry Alone needs more work.

Can I please ask Susie, Jas and Ray to spend some time on ‘Don’t Cry’, just to build your confidence – in particular counting in intros and holding the tune at a good dynamic level.

Oh, and we received a donation of £60 from the church, so better than a poke with a blunt stick 🙂

Lastly, we’ll meet again at Whitestrand at the usual time (7pm start) on Monday the 20th July.  This is a shake-down ready for our concert a couple of days later, so please make sure you keep the tunes fresh by practicing them off-line.  We’ll run the same repertoire, with only ‘Don’t Cry’ needing a sanity check on the 20th.

Our last rehearsal for the summer will be on Monday 27th July.

cheers Jem