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Erskine Home Concert 2014

In May some of the branch members played a short concert at The Erskine Homes.
Our deputy conductor, Neil Eckford, had worked hard and we had a good reception. We played great foot tapping pieces that our audience seemed to enjoy. This included Sousa’s Liberty Bell, The Playford Suite by Eileen Silcocks and a really sexy Kalymbo from The Latin American suite by David Thompson. Neil’s Bishopton Recorder Group performed Irish Lullaby by John Pitts and Ode To Joy by Beethoven.  Eleven-year-old Jenny played The Pink Panther.

The whole concert was a fun performance that was enjoyed by everyone and good experience for young players.

Pastoral Visit 2014

Our Pastoral visitor in May was Colin Touchin who spent a wonderful day with us. The music was exciting and although we were pushed in one or two places we enjoyed the experience. Colin is a consummate conductor who guided us through a varied programme.
We started with Bach’s motet Lobet den Herren, which is very familiar and continued with a piece that was new to us, Kleine Suite by Werdin.
The rest of the programme included Colin Hand’s Fanfare for a Festival, some Scarlatti and a fun piece, Hot Toddy, arranged by Helen Hooker. All of the music included sections that stretched the players but this is good for everyone as under Colin’s positive guidance it spurred us on to better things.

We were pleased to welcome visitors to Glasgow and over lunch were able to take time to chat and make new friends.
It was a delightful day and thanks to Colin a rewarding one.

Pastoral Visit 2013

In April, the Glasgow Branch enjoyed a wonderful Pastoral visit with Alyson Lewin. Alyson, a native of Belfast, is well known for arrangements of many folk tunes. As well as being teacher, she also runs Hawthorns Publishing specializing in music for the recorder that we all know and love.

It was at last a truly spring day and we were very happy to be joined by guests from Edinburgh, Perth and Dollar.

Despite the bad start to the day when the heating system developed a problem, (later resolved) we warmed to the music and Alyson’s conducting shedding the odd layer of clothing as the day progressed.

We started with Josquin’s ‘El Grillo’, followed by a charming piece that we had not played before, Benjamin Cooke’s ‘Epitaph on a Dormouse’. This was followed by two beautiful arrangements of Byrd’s  ‘Ave verum corpus’ and Handel’s ‘Vinto e l’amor’.

We then broke for a buffet lunch and a great deal of chatter, catching up with long standing friends and meeting new ones.

The second half of the programme started with a big six-part piece, Schein’s ‘Canzona in Six Parts’ for SSATTB . Lynne Hope joined us in this on the gamba. This made the sound even richer and once we had sight read the music the next play through enabled us to appreciate the wonderful interwoven themes. We finished with Steve Marshall’s ‘Northumberland Suite’ (SATTBGbCb), and played all four movements – ‘Lavender’s Blue’, Bonny at Morn’, ‘Dance to Your Daddy’ and ‘Bobby Shaftoe’. As most of us knew the tunes we thought we had it easy but beware! Steve pops in some interesting changes and variations that can catch one out. It was a good finale to a very happy day. The Glasgow branch would like to thank Alyson and all our guests for making it so successful.

Christmas Concert 2012

This Christmas the Glasgow Branch decided to perform a full concert in Broomhill Community church, a new venture for us as we usually perform in Museums or Art Galleries to a passing audience. We were very pleased that we managed to raise a full house even running short of seats! The atmosphere was very warm and festive despite the freezing weather.

Our MD Pamela Flanagan had chosen an appealing mixture of music ranging from Antony Holborne’s The Honie-suckle and The Choise, tricky pieces but good for the lower instruments, to that perennial favourite Paul Clark’s Twelve Days of Christmas.  We duly produced a pile of gold rings and a host of pipers piping. The programme continued with G. F. Handel’s Pastoral Symphony from the Messiah and then Brian Bonsor’s beautiful Afton Water. To finish off we had a rousing performance of his 17th’s Farewell to Alva. Interspaced with the set pieces we played a few simple but effective carols and Pamela encouraged the audience to join in with some community singing that many stated afterwards they enjoyed, as it really felt like a celebration of Christmas.

After the performance we enticed our audience to stay and join us in some refreshments and they appeared to be most willing, staying to chat and express interest in the instruments, always a good advertisement for the recorder, not just one of those ‘squeaky things’.

We must thank all the people who came to help and served quantities of food and drinks as well as manning/womening the door.

A small group of members also took part in the church’s Candlelight service playing some early French carols including Allons Allons Gay Bergeres and The King’s Birthday. We were joined in these by Jane, a soprano from Cathures choir. The combination was most successful and worth repeating.

One to a Part Workshop 2012

In May, three groups participated in a Workshop with Eileen Silcocks. This is always a good experience as Eileen offers so much encouragement and advice. Some of it surely must sink in. There were two quartets and a trio.

The first quartet played The Waterfall by Ann Marshall and Chilcot’s Gigue. Two very contrasting pieces that the group worked on getting the tone poem idea of the one and the period style of the Chilcot.

The other quartet attempted two movements from John Hawkes’s Quartet No. Four that included almost every accidental that is known to man. The Variants movement can be just that, and not always the composer’s variations.

We were delighted to have a trio from Edinburgh for the first time. They had chosen Prelude and Fugue in D minor by William Boyce and Hook’s 2nd Terzetto, both are great favorites with recorder players.

After the tutoring sessions we performed to one another and then enjoyed a wonderful buffet. Eileen rounded off the day with a mass playing of Just Fun by Allan Rosenheck.

Erskine Home 2012

It’s always good to be asked back to a venue where we have played before and this spring was no exception. We were invited once again to play a concert with our MD Pamela Flanagan at the Erskine homes for Service Personnel. We opened with a great version of The Liberty Bell by Souza that roused not only foot tapping but also a little impromptu conducting from a member of the audience. We later found out that he had been a Bandmaster so his applause was most appreciated, but watch out Pamela you had competition! The rest of the Programme included some Holbourne, a delightful Irish Suite that included a piece entitled The Goroum (if anyone knows what this is please pass it on) Brian Bonsor’s Afton Water and finished with his Festivo.

It was good fun and our audience seemed to enjoy the choice of music.

Carols by Candlelight – Broomhill Community Church

In the New Year the branch will be changing venue to the Broomhill Community Church, and having had one practice session in the new surroundings, we were invited to take part in their Carol service. Not all of the members were available, but ten players participated, and we were very warmly welcomed by the church for this special event. We played a mini round the world programme, starting off with the very beautiful Appalachian Christmas Lullaby arranged by Tom Johnston, and included a contra in the bass. For the rest of our short programme we chose Alyson Lewin’s arrangement of Noél nouvelet and Il est neé, and finished with Stille Nacht played as an eight-foot consort. Our performance was very well received, and as usual, the larger recorders inparticularly brought much interest.

Christmas Concert 2011

Recorders and choir.
The Junior Choir joining us for some festive carols

Despite the snow, sleet and high winds, the Glasgow Branch did manage to perform a Christmas concert at the Burrell Museum under our conductor Pamela Flanagan. This year we were joined by the Bishopton Parish Church Junior Choir, conducted by Elizabeth Jackson.

Burrel 2011 The children’s voices merged well with recorders in some of the pieces that they sang that included, Away in a Manger, God Rest You Merry Gentlemen, Hark The Herald, O Little One Sweet, and Once In Royal David’s City, some of these to more unusual melodies. The passers by seemed to be intrigued and the seated audience of mums, dads and grandparents were of course very appreciative. It was quite a new experience for all of us, and one small child was so fascinated at the start by the larger instruments that they forgot to sing!

Burrel 2011

The recorder group performed, Holborne’s Pavan and Galliard, two Gavottes and Minuets by Bach arranged by Eileen Silcocks, and to round off the programme, The 12 days of Christmas arranged by Paul Clark.


Scottish Recorder Festival 2011

On Saturday 14 May Glasgow hosted the Scottish Recorder Festival. It was held in Ibrox Parish Church and, this year being the Glasgow branch’s 50th birthday, the occasion felt particularly special. There was a good turnout, with over sixty people attending from all over Scotland, as well as a welcome few all the way from Ireland and England.

The day began with a mass playing session. Guest conductor Marion Scott led part of Bach’s Cantata no 39 -Brich dem Hungrigen dein Brot, and Marion’s arrangement of this beautiful cantata was very much enjoyed.

Mass playing session.
Mass playing session

Participants then chose between Ed Friday, conducting his own arrangement of the Vivaldi Recorder Concerto in A minor, David Powell with Gavin Bryar’s A Family Likeness (an interesting and rather challenging contemporary piece), and Isobel Luke’s selection of ‘Intermediate’ pieces, including Paul Clark’s arrangement of Blow the Wind Southerly.

Lunch followed, with a chance to visit the Early Music Shop, Willobie Press, Recorder Music Mail and Hawthorns, as well as browsing through a selection of second hand music.

After lunch, the choice was between Marion Scott conducting J. G. Walther’s partita Jesu, meine freude, Pamela Flanagan with John Hawkes’ Septet, and Eileen Silcocks’s Just Fun by Allan Rosenheck. These sessions were followed by familiar faces Stuart Forrester and Marg Hall conducting Gaston Saux’s Quartet in F and Marg’s new Elsie Marley and other great tunes from Northumberland respectively. There was a newcomer too, Mandy Kettles, from the Hillfoot branch. Mandy teaches music at Alva Academy and is active in Hillfoot’s Music for Youth Orchestra. She presented her group with Gibbons’ Fantasy No 3 and Michael Meech’s Puppet Show.

Marion Scott's session.
Marion Scott’s session

All the playing sessions were much enjoyed and, with such an eclectic mix of styles and periods, there was something for everyone as well as the temptations of the shops available all day!

After a welcome tea break, the Scottish Recorder Orchestra, under Eileen Silcocks, performed three pieces from this year’s repertoire: Banchetto Musicale Suite II by Schein, The 17th’s Farewell to Alva by Brian Bonsor, and finally Paul Richards’ lively Joshua! Not all the players were present, but the orchestra still managed to fill the hall with sound!

The festival participants now feeling suitably ‘chilled’, birthday festivities began in earnest with not one but two birthday cakes. To the accompaniment of Happy Birthday to US! Ethel Allan cut one cake, and everyone was pleased she was able to carry out this important duty.

Ethel and David.
Ethel and David

Ethel took over as MD of the Glasgow branch when Rosemary McGillivray died in 1997 and (aided recently by David Powell) worked energetically for the branch until poor health forced her to hand over the baton to Pamela Flanagan last year.

The birthday cake crumbs had barely melted in the players’ mouths when Pamela conducted everyone in Four For Glasgow’s Fifty, which was, much to everyone’s delight, composed specially for the occasion by Steve Marshall. Steve’s piece is essentially a medley of traditional Scottish tunes, although an attentive listener may spot hints of each tune cropping up from time to time within the others. The tunes are Uist Tramping Song, I Have A Wife Of My Own, Bonnie James Campbell (sometimes called Bonnie George Campbell) and The High Road To Linton.

Four for Glasgows Fifty.
Pamela conducting Four For Glasgows Fifty by Steve Marshall – specially written for the occassion

After all the merry-making, the day was drawn to a suitably light-hearted conclusion by Marion Scott leading everyone in her arrangement of Mozart’s La Bataille Contretanz K535. This was an arrangement with a difference however, featuring as it did a percussion part for chopsticks and music stands…Mozart may very well not have considered using such a combination, but we feel sure he would have approved!

As evening shadows lengthened over Ibrox the day wound to a close, sending everyone home tired but happy; and, judging by the many compliments received, all the organisers’ hard work was greatly appreciated.

Franzeska G Ewart May 2011

Photos (courtesy of Maben Stirling)