Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Rehearsal Monday 30th Jan

All in all a successful rehearsal. It was a rare occassion where the cornet section outweighed the lower band. Serious lack of basses hindered proceedings slightly but we made a fantastic start to the new music.

The Alice In Wonderland theme has some epic sections, lots of cross-rhythms through the band and difficult triplet passages which will need some practise. Harry Potter was also a big success, negotiated some difficult time changes but needs some home practise during the odd modulations, lots of accidentals (*cough cough* cornets, please). Viva La Vida was a little anti-climatic if i'm honest, the arrangement left me uninspired and wanting more from the band. Will have to have a think this week about how to instill some musicality into it.

Conductors praise this week especially goes to Rhiannon - our principal cornet who played Emerald Skies beautifully and has obviously been practising her little socks off. Another mention has to go to 3rd cornet Joseph who boldly played a couple of difficult solo sections like a true professional! Definitely an upcoming player, won't be long until he is promoted.

Brass fail of the week goes to me for getting my baton lodged firmly in the stand and then catapulting it 10 feet into the air during a particularly rousing section of music.

Be good, learn lots.
The Boss xx

Monday, 30 January 2012

A Welcome From The MD

Wow, i've been talking about starting a 'Conductors Blog' for so long that I can't believe it might actually happen!

So just a short hello from me to anybody reading. I'm Clare. A secondary music teacher, musician, conductor, arranger, cider-loving, Manea inhabiting, self-confessed brass band nut. This blog will document some of the excitement, musical mayhem and good-humour generated at Manea Silver Band! This is me :-)

So, it's Monday - BAND DAY!
Today we will be running a few new pieces so lots of sight-reading. Pieces include music from Harry Potter and the Philosphers Stone, Viva La Vida by Coldplay and the epic theme music from the new Alice In Wonderland soundtrack. MSB will also be attempting a first run through of Emerald Skies, a cornet solo composed by Paul Lovatt-Cooper which I hope the band will love as much as I do.

Thats all for now, I have included a link below to the new Alice In Wonderland piece which I hope you will all find epic!

Be Good, Learn Lots.
The Boss xx


Sunday, 29 January 2012

New MSB logo

Some of you may have spotted the new Manea Silver Band logo on our website. It replaces the old MSB logo, which has served us well for the last ten years:

As part of our rebrand this April, we have reverted from red and gold to the traditional blue and black uniform colours that were historically associated with the band. This is reflected by the blue, black and silver colour scheme of the new logo.

There are also features which hint at the band's location. Manea is a village very much in the centre of the Cambridgeshire Fens, sitting alongside the Ouse Washes, the flood area between the Old and New Bedford rivers. The two parallel rivers are perhaps the most prominant feature of the area, and these are represented by the two azure flashes on the base of the logo, with the area inbetween hinting at a musical stave.

The washes are also represented by the swan in flight, one of the iconic sights that you may see if you visit Manea, located as it is between the RSPB Ouse Washes reserve at Welches Dam and the WWT Welney reserve. The Ouse Washes boast one of the largest migratory colonies of Whooper and Bewick swans in the UK, along with large numbers of the familiar mute swan.

The similarity between the sound of brass musicians warming up and whooper swans at feeding time is purely coincidental!

Hello and welcome!

Hello and welcome to the Manea Silver Band blog, which will form one of the sections of our forthcoming new MSB website.

The intention is that this blog will be written primarily by our musical director, Clare Hall, and will talk about the band, forthcoming events, rehearsals and the music we are performing. There may also be occasional snippets from players in the band. We welcome comments, as long as they're not rude!

I'm Robert, 1st horn player in the band. I have recently been redesigning our website in time for our April relaunch concert:

Current homepage                    New design homepage

The new site uses the webstandard CSS formatting, plus a few bits of Javascript thrown in for good measure. I have been trying to go for a clean, simple, easy-to-navigate look, although I'm not entirely happy with some elements at the moment; I do welcome suggestions, as webpage design is not exactly my speciality.

What's not entirely obvious on this screenshot is that each of the big buttons links to a separate page. The colour of each button highlights when the mouse hovers over them. In the separate pages, the buttons appear in a smaller format along the base of the page and the 'river line' takes you back to the top of the page.

The website is nearly ready for posting, but just requires a few more tweaks (and some more content) before it is ready to go live. Watch this space!