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Band Archive > 2007

The National Saxophone Choir of Great Britain.
GRIMSBY 3rd March 2007

Ann Smith’s account of the day out with daughter Kirsty

Kirsty, during a busy day at work(!!), was idly looking on the internet, and found the website of The Saxophone Choir of Great Britain. They gave details of a Workshop to be held in Grimsby on Saturday, 3 rd March from 2-4pm, with the option of joining them for part of their concert that evening. We so enjoyed their concert at St Georges, Brandon Hill early last year, that we decided we would love to go. We signed up, said we would also like to take part in the concert if we could, and we had an e-mail back saying ‘See you there’.

We set off at 7am for Grimsby, since I was positive we would have massive hold-ups on the Motorway, or something would go wrong on the way, so we arrived just after 11am. We then had time to locate the hotel we were to stay in that night, and the Hall where the Concert was to take place. We even had time to go one mile further and visit the delights of Cleethorpes!! We found a pub/hotel on the seafront, and had some lunch. The sun was shining so we managed a short walk down on the sand afterwards. The beach looked great, like Weston on a bigger scale. We could not see the sea it was so far out, and there was a tanker on the horizon waiting for the tide to come in. Looking to the left we could see the mouth of the Humber on the outskirts of Hull.

We duly arrived at the Hall at 1.30pm. The workshop was obviously a local event, because there were a lot of school children there; we were the only ones to come so far, and I was definitely the oldest!! However they made us very welcome, and we had two hours of rehearsal. A few of the members of the choir helped, and we practised three pieces which were to played that evening. There were three baritones, the other two were boys of about 15, and we all three intended to play in the evening. Kirsty was one of four tenors, but only one, another girl was playing in the evening. Kirsty was lucky enough to stand next to a girl of similar age who was actually in the choir. She was most encouraging and told her all about the group. The hardest bit of the rehearsal was the staging. The stage was 8 steep steps high, and for two of the pieces we had to come on after the piece had started. Clambering up those steps carrying a saxophone and trying to look as if you were playing was difficult.

We finished just after 4pm, and were free until 7pm. The Choir then rehearsed until 6pm. We played in two pieces in the first half: Under the Veil by Nigel Wood, and Carnival by Karen Street, and we were able to sit at the front on the side through the rest of the concert. We also played for the encore which was called the Shetland Sequence. It was a Scottish Reel which was fast and furious for the soloists, but for the rest of us it was clapping for the first half, followed by a bagpipe sort of drone for the second.

We had an opportunity to talk to many of the Choir. Jen the Principal Baritone explained that many of them were professional musicians, playing, composing, teaching or conducting, but some of them, like her, had proper jobs. She was a nurse. The girl Kirsty was next to was an IT Consultant. I had quite a chat with the Tubax player, she was about my age but she was the only one. Nigel Wood was the Musical Director. He was unfortunately getting over ‘flu and only had a croak of a voice, but he still managed to play Waltzing Soprillda, Waltzing Matilda with variations, on the Soprillo saxophone, a really tiny saxophone. He was terrific. For the three pieces we played there was a guest conductor, Richard Ingham, who was great fun, and helped his conducting along with castanets.

We got back to the Hotel at about 10.45pm absolutely shattered, having had a most exhilarating day.

Ann Smith. March 2007

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