Thursday, December 14

Weird Concert Locations. Part 2

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Back for some more strange places and occasions.

While teaching English in Lubin, Poland I joined the Miner’s Orchestra (a WInd Band Sponsored by the Copper Mine)
I had wonderful Eastern European Uniform with red feather plumage on top of a pillar box hat. The best job were Funerals, quite regular, a great set of March Cards with deadly dirges. March the Coffin into the Grave Yard and afterwards drink massive quantities of neat chilled Vodka with best sausage.

In the helicopter hangar of HMS Grafton during a VIP cocktail party to mark
her final official visit to her adopted town of Ipswich. In January… and listening
to her captain run off a few very slick scales on one of our tenor horns !

Not an actual job, but a rehearsal for one that turned into a public performance saw the band (who shall remain nameless) in the middle of a Blood Donor session in a large open hall…. lots of bemused people lying all over the place bleeding into bags, with more arriving by the minute with the band going on as if it was setting up on a park bandstand! It turns out the “organiser”(bit of an overuse of the word!) knew this would be the case, and thought nothing of it. If nothing else, it meant access for parking and getting the gear in was non-existent. 

Perthshire played a concert in Holland a few years back on an island in the middle of a lake. The band were rowed out (separate trip for the percussion etc) whilst the audience were on the lakeside.

In Alton Towers Splash Landings swimming pool (yes in the pool) The logistics was…… interesting!!

Strangest place by a long way was underground in Harworth Colliery. The manager wanted the band to play in the pit bottom when visitors descended the pit at an open day. Fantastic acoustic but a bit dusty!! The band loved it. The following year we played in the new winding engine house at the coal winding shaft.

I did a harvest festival on a farm every year
and I also have an ensemble job for a housing company to play outside their showhome at Christmas

City of Birmingham provided the music for a musical portayal of the life of Captain Webb called “Webb Dives In” in about 1998. It all took place on the canalside in Birmingham on possibly the coldest day all summer. I think the wierdest bit was seeing a dummy in Victorian swimming gear being towed through the water.

I once played at the Open Day of Jesmond Deaf School.

And also at a “Pets Church Service” in the local park, playing hymns to a variet of guinea pigs and dogs.

 I once played the sackbut for an Elizabethan show dressed in full doublet and hose (and hat!). The group consisted of Cornetto (just one!), Recorder, Lute, Drum and me on the giant F bass sackbut. A scaffolding ‘minstrels gallery’ had been constructed for us to play in, but nobody had thought that it put us only about 18 inches away from huge spot lights. No only that, but the show was on during a heatwave. When I came to don my costume for the 2nd night, it was still soaked through with the previous night’s sweat!

Just remembered, I also played at Princess Beatrice’s 18th birthday party last year at Windsor Castle. The theme of the night was ‘Pride and Prejudice’, so the whole orchestra was dressed in 18th Century garb!

I was doing a few xmas carrols at local garden center, was supposed to be outside but ended up in a conservatry that wasnt attached to any building

My music teacher asked me if I wanted to play in a local youth theatre production. Being keen and really wanting to play in a pit orchestra I immediately said yes without finding out any more. What he neglected to tell me at the time was the production was going to be a musical Tale of Two Cities (yes really! It was a laugh a minute I can tell you!) and being an “arty” production they’d decided that rather than be in the “pit” the musicians were going to be on stage, in costume, and had to memorise all the music (there was quite a bit too), as well as learn difficult thespian things like where to stand, and how to cheer in French! When we turned up for the first rehearsals the producer (who I can still remember, was called Corrine ) was horrified when we got our nice shiny instruments out and wanted to scruff them up a bit, she seriously suggested that we “dent them up a bit” but once we’d stopped laughing at her we compromised by putting on fake “mud” (which took an age to clean off properly) and tied rags around them.

Friend of mine ( and yes this is genuine ) played an ensemble job at a nudist colony ( the band was allowed to remain clothed )



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