Friday, 2 March 2012

Great fun at the Open Rehearsal, St Peter's School - Marion Wood conducts the Exeter Music Group Symphony Orchestra Thursday 1 March

Still working as the clock ticks towards 9pm
Marion Wood conducts the EMG Symphony Orchestra
St Peter's School, Thursday 1st March

(First Desk: Leader Clare Smith & Jackie Baldwin - First Violin: Ray Fane)

This Thursday evening Exeter University's Director of Music, Marion Wood, was at St Peter's School in Exeter to conduct the Exeter Music Group Symphony Orchestra in their rehearsal for a concert of Elgar and Holst, which will be at the Cathedral on Saturday 21st April.

Members of the public were invited to come and listen - and to learn more about the music by listening to Marion's explanations as the rehearsal progresses. The informal nature of a rehearsal is very conducive to this kind of musical exposition - and Marion is very good at this kind of thing.

School children came with their teachers - from as far afield as Okehampton and Woodbury Salterton. The children were fascinated by the instruments and they were allowed to roam freely among the players, really getting the feel of a working orchestra. During the coffee break the musicians supervised the children as they experimented with the instruments themselves - even teaching them playing technique, and showing the working of each instrument.

Anyone, child or adult, who had achieved Grade VI or above in their instrument, was invited to join the orchestra and play along - a very exciting opportunity, which many took up.

The orchestra rehearsed 'Nimrod' from Elgar's 'Enigma Variations', and 'Jupiter' and 'Mars' from Holst's 'Planets Suite'. In the Cathedral on 21st April, they will play both suites in full - what a treat that will be!

'Nimrod', 'Jupiter' and 'Mars' will also feature in 'Sounds of the South West' at the University Great Hall this Sunday evening. That concert will also include popular classics such as the 'Hallelujah Chorus' from Handel's 'Messiah', 'Zadoc the Priest' from Handel's 'Music for the Coronation of George II', 'Ode to Joy' from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, and much more.

Also on Sunday evening, there will be a performance of 'Olympic Rings', a new and exciting percussion piece involving rhythms from five continents. The Exeter University Symphony Orchestra will be rehearsing for 'Olympic Rings' on Saturday afternoon 2-6pm. Members of the public are welcome to come to that rehearsal. Regardless of musical ability, anyone can join in and benefit from Marion's superb  teaching - for an admission fee of just five pounds.

Each participant is given their own drumsticks - which are for keeps - and, as a performer, can take part in 'Olympic Rings' on Sunday night. Not only that, performers will enjoy the rest of Sunday night's concert at the Great Hall free of charge!

But that is not all! On Sunday night the Exeter University Choral Society will also be in the Great Hall. They will be accompanied by the EMG and University orchestras in a suite of Sea Songs from around the World. Overseas students at the University have suggested sea songs from their respective countries (or songs about other bodies of water, if they live in a land-locked country).

Marion has researched the words and music - and those tricky pronunciations - and prepared the Choral Society to give us a fascinating world tour in music on Sunday night. Nine 'Sea Songs', from the far corners of the World, will really be something!

1. 'Lowlands Low' - traditional English with associations with St Ives in Cornwall, and also Barbados.
2. 'Sodauto' - Lithuania
3. 'Cabuk-cabuk Bertali Rambai' - Brunei
4. 'Священный Байкал' ('Sacred Lake Baika') - Russia
5. 'Boats' - China
6. 'Loy Loy Krathong' - Thailand
7. 'Hej Seglu
źe' - Poland

- then a linking song which goes: "o-o-o-o-o"
- what's that?
- an 'Olympic' theme based on the diphthong in "
Hej Segluźe" ("Hello, Sailor!")
- hear for yourself!

8. 'Cancao do Mar' - a fado from Portugal
9. 'There's no Place like Home' - USA

The orchestra rehearsed their parts for Sunday - with Marion singing the words in place of the Choral Society.

An amazing, educational rehearsal - and it was fun!

See for yourself:

Visiting shoolchildren are fascinated by the horns
Marion introduces the string section
And a wealth of 'cellos
Depth from the double basses
James Rintoul
Lisa Thorne (principal)
David Gill
Double Basses - back row
- plus Tuba: Rob O'Byrne
Mighty Bassoons
Prue Tasman and Gail Hicks

Impressive Trombones
& Tuba - Rob O'Byrne
Beautiful French horns
left: Mary Saunders
middle: Sally Stephenson
right: Sally Maya
John Welton's perfect 'embouchure'
Sweet Clarinets: John Welton & John Walthew
Prue Tasman: Bassoon
Double bass pizzicato

A Fanfare of Trumpets
foreground: Tony Hindley and Emma Bettany
Another perfect embouchure!
(Rob O'Byrne)
Children scatter at the deafening sound
of John McAvoy's snare drum

Tympani - for the thundrous entry of
Mars - The Bringer of War!
Martin Andrew

And finally - the cymbal!
Sarah Hodson
Sophie Brewer is third flute - the piccolo
Now the children join in . . .
Sophie teaches the perfect embouchure for the piccolo
The harps attract a lot of interest
Second Harp: Jenny Campbell
First Harp (behind): Liz Grier
So do the tympani
under the watchful eye of
Sarah Hodson

Rising to the challenge:
a student attempts the cor anglais
Kate Osbourne takes over on cor anglais
- with a creditable oboe accompanist!
Don't forget the glockenspiel!
John McAvoy even allows a turn on the snare
Prue explains the workings of the bassoon
Leader Clare Smith retunes the orchestra

Marion Wood resumes command
The double basses swing into action
Lisa Thorne leads
James Rintoul & David Gill
For 'International Sea Songs'
- add drum kit
Percussionist: Ali Board
The view from the woodwind section
- where student Leonie Jones (Grade VIII) is joining in with gusto
'Cello back row
 - and their leader: Yvonne Ashby
Viola: Rachel Wieck
First Desk: Leader Clare Smith & Jackie Baldwin
Second Desk: Ellen Stratton
First Violins: Kate Andrews and Gillian Taylor
far right: Ray Fane

If you appear in these pictures, and would like your name added, please send in the details to:

Everyone is welcome to come along for more fun this weekend!
(and check out the details of the concert in April at the bottom of the page . . . )

Sound of the South West with Exeter University

Kay House, Duryard, Exeter University
Saturday 3 March 2pm - 6pm
An afternoon workshop to prepare 'Olympic Rings'
for performance on Sunday 4 March (see below)
Come and create your own rhythm section
with whatever comes to hand . . .
(and build a hosepipe trumpet in the intervals!)

Great Hall, Exeter University
Sunday 4 March 7pm
University of Exeter Music Office, Choral Society
Concert Band, Symphony Orchestra, Charinet & Flute Choirs
Sir Edward Elgar: Enigma Variations - Nimrod
Gustav Holst: Planets Suite - Mars & Jupiter
A compilation of world sea songs to celebrate
The International Community of Exeter
G. F. Handel: Messiah - Hallelujah Chorus
Ludwig van Beethoven: Ninth Symphony - "Ode to Joy"

Further Details on the two events above:
(press release)

EMG horn section 
Leader: Trevor Ives
Exeter Music Group Symphony Orchestra
Exeter Cathedral
Saturday 21 April 7.30pm
Gustav Holst: Planets Suite
Sir Edward Elgar: Enigma Variations
Conductor: Marion Wood
Leader: Clare Smith
Tickets: information  to follow

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