May news and summer concerts

Now that the university semester has finished at St Andrews and the usual hiatus of concerts is over (I had end of term concerts of 3 different groups in the space of a week – Heisenberg/St Andrews Chorus, StAFCO and the Baroque Orchestra), it’s time to think about what I’m going to do over the summer months. The summer is traditionally a fairly quiet time for orchestras and groups as their seasons usually finishes around now, but many, like the SCO, do tours at home and abroad, and there are a multitude of summer festivals that take place (not least the Edinburgh International Festival and Fringe Festival), so musicians are far from being on holiday over the summer!

I’ve got a couple of orchestra concerts in the diary so far: Edinburgh Bach choir on 8th June, the Crail Festival Orchestra on 21st July, but the main recital I will be preparing for will be as part of a summer series in St Andrew’s Church, St Andrews (on Queen’s Gardens). The date is still to be confirmed but I think it will be sometime in August, and I think I will probably play some unaccompanied Bach – again tbc!

Recently I had the exciting experience of playing with SCO in the Usher Hall, Edinburgh with the band Pink Martini, which was fantastic fun. The band, founded in 1994 by pianist Thomas Lauderdale, was made up of singer China Forbes, several percussionists/drummers, trumpet, trombone, a fantastic violinist, string/electric bass and guitar (they describe themselves as a ‘little orchestra’), backed by the full symphonic might of an expanded SCO. The audience loved their eclectic mix of South American rhythms, jazz and Hollywood glamour – I’ve never seen a concert end with a conga line before! Some of the solos from the band were truly awe-inspiring, leaving us classically trained musicians wondering how on earth they manage to come up with a new solo every night! You can check them out and listen to some of their songs here.

As for our summer holidays, we’re off to Thailand at the start of July for 2 weeks – I’m so excited, as I love Eastern cultures and Buddhism, so I can’t wait!! We’re planning to do a cooking course, ride elephants and see lots of temples as well as absorb as much Thai culture as we can 🙂

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