concerts

Weedon Weekly: 21st September 2017

Bargemusic

STORMY WEATHER
I've selected the title of Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler's atmospheric song for this week's ponderings. We've certainly witnessed extraordinary events in recent times, be they storms or earth movements. Whilst Googling the effects of weather on concerts, I came upon mention of Bargemusic. The short headline reported that the American venue, Bargemusic, thought to be the place most at risk from storms and hurricanes, turned out to be the one that emerged unscathed. It floated serenely on the rising waters which, at halls nearby, drowned various priceless concert grand pianos and a mighty pipe organ.   I just had to know more!
Bargemusic is just that - an old steel barge built 118 years ago to transport sacks of coffee for the Erie Lackawanna railroad. When it's useful life was over in 1976, rather than becoming a rusting green hulk it was transformed into a sparkling...

Weedon Weekly: 11th September 2017

A COUNTRY PRACTICE

I have been a bit quiet lately, haven't I? Some would say that makes a pleasant change :-)  I have, in fact, been beavering away on a new concert programme.

I try to choose my repertoire with some sort of theme. In the past, I've put together programmes featuring Spring, Autumn, Winter, Film Themes, European Countries, Viennese Music and the Music of England.

When I took delivery of my latest instruments, I needed to put a selection together in a hurry. As both Diddy the D Deck and Elsie read old Tyros and EL registrations with ease, this was far easier than I had feared. I simply cherry-picked favourite pieces from past repertoire, using one piece for each letter of the alphabet. And now I'm completely hooked on my A to Z programmes, so I am currently working on 'A to Z, Autumn 2017'.

Depending on the...

Early kick-off, anyone?

A lovely venue

Can concert start times make a difference to attendance? I ask, as I've just played for the excellent society in Sutton in Ashfield. They tell me that not long ago they were down to audiences of about 40, with the future uncertain. Then they made two changes - one to the venue, moving from a church hall to a modern church, and the other to the start time, pulling it forward to 7:00pm.  Some had their doubts, but once tried this early start has proved popular. Yesterday they continued their recent trend of growing audiences, with 130 squeezed in. I'm sure audience growth leads to more audience growth - the atmosphere was terrific, and in order to get a seat at all the regulars started arriving not long after 6:00pm. The early finish meant that buses were still running, too. I've seen concerts beginning earlier from the typical 8:00pm start of my...

The joys of touring

Duck!

After an enjoyable evening at Hastings & Bexhill's lovely new venue, we're now cooling our heels before the Crawley gig. Our campsite has some built in entertainment, as we're positioned bang, slap wallop next to the runway at Gatwick Airport.  Tony has his plane spotter's app running, and I keep dashing outside to view the departing aircraft. I've caught one on camera, and you will see the caravan roofs at the bottom of the picture.  Touring is certainly never dull!

Daytime concerts?

Ancient and Modern: Compton meets Yamaha

Yesterday I was playing in East Devon. The organ club there have, for the winter season, held their meetings during the afternoon rather than the cold dark evenings. I asked if it had affected their attendance one way or another, and the answer was 'no'. The artists must have enjoyed it though, being able to play a concert and get home again on the same day. We made the round trip in 13 hours, and had the pleasure of sleeping in our own house for a change.

Another music club I have been talking with has been running additional teatime concerts (complete with naughty but nice cakes). They tell me these food-centred events have attracted larger audiences, and quite a lot of new faces. Do you have a view on the best time of day for a concert? And do you think having food combined with music makes a big difference? Please...

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