December …

Well, Thursday of this week came and went and I couldn’t find the time to post. Naughty.

I am writing this from a rehearsal in Holy Trinity Church in Southport, with the Southport Bach Choir – I should say that I’m not rehearsing right now – that would be rude.

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Everything I’m involved in has been rehearsed so now my job is to amuse myself until the second half of tonight’s concert – I’ve been told there’s a Wetherspoons nearby so I’ll be fine.

But enough about today, let me take you through the adventures of the past week-and-a-bit.

A week last Friday I was doing some background music in Ormskirk at the Chapel Gallery as part of their Christmas celebrations. The staff had all come in fancy dress (including elves, witches and two ugly sisters). This was an exciting background gig for me as it was the first time I used my iPad instead of sheet music. A while ago a spent an afternoon scanning all my background music into the computer so I could put it on an app called ForScore. This handy app allows me to crop the music to get rid of white space around the edges, I can also make setlists (currently I have two; ‘background’ and ‘background – no Christmas’).

I received some lovely feedback from this gig and I think it was partly due to the fact that my presentation was neater than usual – no piles of music, no flicking through books trying to decide what to play next – it was all very slick.

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I’m still waiting for payment from this gig – quite tempted to name and shame the person who booked me for this as they are also a musician! If payment is going to take two weeks or even a month – fine – I’ll manage. But don’t tell me I’ll have it in five days when that isn’t going to happen, I just want an honest date on which I’ll be paid. Grumble grumble.

Saturday’s gig was at Leeds College of Music with the National Festival Orchestra. I had a great day. The programme was fabulously harpy, as you can see I had pride of place – centre stage:

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We were doing Britten’s Ceremony of Carols, Franck’s Panis Angelicus, Faure’s Cantique de Jean Racine and Saint-Saens Christmas Oratorio (plus some Rutter that I wasn’t involved in). The Saint-Saens was quite a challenge but I thoroughly enjoyed it, I got some wonderful feedback about the Britten too. I just wish they had attracted a bigger audience because they deserved to have the place sold out.

…continued from the previously mentioned Wetherspoons…

I have left the cold of the church for the local pub. In a bit I will face the tricky situation of leaving my table to order food and hoping no one will claim said table before I sit back down.

Last Sunday, Monday and Tuesday I was playing for a concert version of Phantom of the Opera at Cowley International College in St. Helen’s.

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Sunday rehearsal then Monday and Tuesday performances. It was the same group who did Les Mis this summer and Phantom early 2012 (right about the time I started this blog). I do like going back, the conductor – Shaun – and Danny the director are both absolutely lovely and we always have a good time. Again they deserved much bigger audiences simply due to the passion and enthusiasm that the staff and performers bring to the show. There was an unfortunate incident on Tuesday that involved the smoke machine causing the fire alarm to go off but apart from that the shows went smoothly. The appalling traffic on Tuesday caused me to be late – very unlike me, but I only held up the show by ten minutes…

So that brings us to Wednesday, when I was booked to play more background music at the Lowry Hotel, Manchester.

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Another outing playing from the iPad. Another gig where I was told I would be paid ‘by 10am tomorrow’ and am still waiting – four days later – for my money. The organisers brought in some arcade ski-simulator games, there was quite a surreal moment when I realised that we are all, in fact, still children at heart. I was playing Disney on the harp while grown men in suits played arcade games.

So a very busy week, but on Thursday I was taken to Cloud23 in the Hilton for cocktails. We got very dressed up and drank our drinks while enjoying the night time view of Manchester. Here’s the obligatory photo of me with my exciting cocktail that included chocolate covered raspberries.

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So that’s it for this week, thanks for reading, and hopefully I will have been paid for some of these gigs by the next time I post!

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2 thoughts on “December …

  1. Glad to hear that the iPad works for gigs. I’ve been thinking about going through the effort of scanning the tunes in my gig notebook and using my ipad instead of lugging the big ugly notebook around. Sounds like it will be worth the effort.

    1. I personally think it is worth the effort, it looks really professional and it’s pretty slick too. I love deciding on a setlist beforehand. This saves me flicking through music deciding what to play, which I bet doesn’t look all that good to an audience.

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