HelenEdith's Blog

The minutiae of my life, plus website updates and book reviews

Posts Tagged ‘band’

A trip to Maidstone

Posted by HelenEdith on July 5, 2009

Maidstone Winds, Bandstand, Brenchley Gardens, 5th July, 2009

Maidstone Winds, Bandstand, Brenchley Gardens, 5th July, 2009

This afternoon, we went to Maidstone. The main aim of the outing was to sit in Brenchley Gardens and hear Maidstone Winds perform on the bandstand, but we missed the first half of the concert because we spent a bit longer than planned in the shops first!

We came back to the car laden down with a couple of new quilt covers and other bedding, various items of clothing, a few useful items from a 99p shop and a £1 shop, and to top it all off, I succumbed to 4 place settings of dinner plates, side plates, bowls and mugs in brown stoneware. Poor Stephen had to carry that back to the car and stoneware is heavy crockery!

It was just as well that Linens Direct held onto the bedding for us to collect on our way back past: that was one heavy bag as well, and wouldn’t have been a lot of fun to lug around while we looked in the other shops.

Anyway, we returned to the car, left our purchases and picked up our cameras and folding chairs and set off for Brenchley Gardens, arriving just as the band were starting their second half.

I recognised much of the music, having played it either with Maidstone Winds or with the Beckenham Concert Band, but enjoyed listening instead of playing for a change. I definitely had my foot tapping along a lot of the time!

After the concert was over, I took a few more pictures in the gardens and then Stephen and I went for an early dinner at a Beefeater called Sir Thomas Wyatt on London Road, Maidstone which we had noticed on our way down to Maidstone earlier in the day. We each enjoyed a well-done sirloin steak and then we headed back up the M20 and home to watch the mixed doubles final on the TV.

Beefeater, Sir Thomas Wyatt, London Road, Maidstone

Beefeater, Sir Thomas Wyatt, London Road, Maidstone

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Beckenham Concert Band – NSPCC Concert at Halstead

Posted by HelenEdith on June 23, 2009

The Beckenham Concert Band performing at the St Barnabas Church Fete, 4th May, 2009

The Beckenham Concert Band performing at the St Barnabas Church Fete, 4th May, 2009

For a musician without a “regular” band, I had a busy weekend last weekend. Having spent Saturday in Maidstone rehearsing and then performing numbers from the movies with Maidstone Winds, on Sunday I had a somewhat more local engagement with the Beckenham Concert Band, with whom I played regularly for a number of years.

The Beckenham Concert Band provided part of an open air benefit concert for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children which was held in the grounds of a private house in the village of Halstead, which is near Knockholt in Kent.

The band started arriving at 5pm, and we were in position in our marquee by 5:30pm. A singer kicked off the concert, after which the band played a programme consisting of:

  • Blaze Away
  • Sullivan – Pirates of Penzance numbers
  • The first two of Three Paintings by Toulouse-Lautrec
  • Symphonic Beatles
  • Blue and the Gray
  • Tony Bennett Unplugged
  • Instant Concert
  • Queen – “We will rock you”, “Another one bites the dust”, etc
  • Irish Rhapsody

After the band section of the concert was a complete, another singer performed.

It was an ideal early evening for an outdoor concert: dry and warm, but not too hot – and to make life easy for the musicians, there wasn’t even a gentle breeze to play havoc with our sheet music. I still managed to turn a page and end up with the sheet music in my lap once, but that was my own fault!

After leaving the venue at Halstead, I popped down the hill and called in on Stephen’s Mum. I took the precaution of taking some clothes to change into, as I just knew that the cats would want to sit on my lap, and it was better that I wasn’t dressed in my good black and white clothes for that!

Posted in Beckenham Concert Band | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Maidstone Winds – a Night at the Movies

Posted by HelenEdith on June 22, 2009

Helen Cockersole preparing popcorn for our movie-loving concert-goers

Helen Cockersole preparing popcorn for our movie-loving concert-goers

I had an outing with Maidstone Winds, who were in need of a second bassoon for a “Night at the Moves” concert at the Exchange Studio in the Hazlitt Arts Centre, Maidstone on Saturday 20th June.

We played a programme consisting entirely of film music:

  • Dambusters
  • Robin Hood Prince of Thieves
  • Hooray For Hollywood
  • Jurassic Park
  • Gladiator


  • 633 Squadron
  • John Williams – symphonic selection
  • Hymn to the Fallen
  • Anything Goes (Indiana Jones)
  • James Bond 007

The audience were appreciative, and I enjoyed the chance to perform in the venue, which is the smaller of the two main performing spaces in the Hazlitt Arts Centre.

We rehearsed for most of the afternoon, which gave extras such as myself a chance to see the music – and in my case, to decide which bits needed a bit of extra work, and which bits needed a bit of simplification to be playable on one viewing. 😎

As the concert was “A Night at the Movies”, there was popcorn for the audience, and the picture shows Helen, the fixer (who makes sure that the right musicians will be there on the night) busy at the task of making sure that there was plenty of popcorn ready for our patrons to enjoy.

Posted in Maidstone Winds | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Entry for December 16, 2007 – Maidstone Winds at St Margarets, Barming

Posted by HelenEdith on December 16, 2007

I had an outing with Maidstone Winds today. They invited me along to augment their bassoon section for a Christmas concert held in St Margaret’s Church, Barming.

Barming is a village near Maidstone in Kent, and the church is down near the banks of the Medway at the end of quite a long lane.

The rehearsal was due to start at 1pm, and I think I got there with about five minutes to spare! We went through the whole concert programme, most of which was music I’d never seen before. Surprisingly, the hardest piece of the lot was a rather elaborate arrangement of “Jingle Bells”!

We had about 40 minutes between the end of the rehearsal and the concert, which started at 4:30pm. There was a single toilet at the church, so queueing up for that was top priority! Then I put my jacket on and went out to my car, where I retrieved my black trousers and put them on under my black skirt, as I suspected that I might be in for a cold evening otherwise. I had a couple of oatcakes to keep the wolf from the door, grabbed my camera, and went back into the church for a couple of “I wuz here” pictures. The camera’s shake reduction did an admirable job. I’ve included the best picture I took above, but you can view the others here: Helen Stephenson’s Pictures of St Margaret’s Church, Barming.

We were served mince pies during the interval, and they even had some Sainsbury’s “Free From” ones that I was prepared to eat. 😀 The whole concert was a mix of good band music and Christmas music, and we finished off with Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride” as an encore piece.

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Entry for August 07, 2007 – Light music rehearsal and band rehearsal

Posted by HelenEdith on August 7, 2007

Today’s Marlowe Music Week activity was a rehearsal of the light music to be performed tomorrow at the coffee morning where we have our one and only paying audience for the week. We ran through the whole programme and ironed out a few bumps and wrinkles.

Most of the musicians then headed off for lunch with one of the cellists at her place, but I returned home, where I discovered that Stephen had gone down to his Mum’s, so I was home alone.

I made myself some lunch and sat down with a Greater Than Killer Sudoku (here’s the latest one: http://www.killersudokuonline.com/#gtkweekly) and it didn’t seem long before Stephen was home again. As this week is a holiday, if I spend the afternoons chilling out with a Killer Sudoku, then so be it.

As the Marlowe Activity this evening didn’t require bassoons, I put in an appearance at the Beckenham Concert Band’s rehearsal. We spent the evening working on Dvorak’s Slavonic Dances and Falla’s Ritual Fire Dance. After mostly playing things straight through with the orchestra earlier in the day, it was interesting to sit down with the band and really dissect some quite challenging music.

I took back the purple band jacket I wore on the bandstand in Greenwich Park the other weekend. The band’s next outing is in Surrey and I’m undecided about whether to put my hand up for it. I’ve been on that particular gig for the past two years, and as I’m not a “regular” in the band, I don’t feel that I have to do it if I don’t want to this year. By taking the jacket back, I don’t have it hanging up at home acting as an influence making me do that gig (and travelling there!) but if I change my mind and decide nearer the time that I want to go, the wardrobe department will be happy to lend it to me again. Meanwhile they’re just as happy to have it hanging up in the band’s wardrobe than at my house.

Posted in Beckenham Concert Band, Marlowe Ensemble | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Entry for July 29, 2007 – Greenwich Park Bandstand

Posted by HelenEdith on July 29, 2007

This afternoon I joined the Beckenham Concert Band on the bandstand in Greenwich Park.

We played from 2pm to 5pm with a half hour break in the middle.

Fortunately the weather decided to be kind to us, and we had a good audience spread around the park. The organised ones had brought something to sit on, and the rest just sat on the grass.

My bassoon attracted a certain amount of attention, with several people coming up to the bandstand and asking me what it was.

The picture was taken by Stephen during a trombone solo, for which Trevor the trombonist was standing up.

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