GOATs in concert

The climax of six weeks of scraping and blasting came yesterday, with a grand concert in Cambridge Corn Exchange to celebrate the success of the Grade-One-A-Thon raising money for the Spinal Injuries Association.  A large and motley orchestra of well over a hundred players filled the stage, and played to a huge audience.  Everyone, it turned out, had passed their grade 1 exams, most with distinctions.  More importantly, vast amounts of money had been raised for this fantastic cause – in the end, a grand total of £60,000.

There’s a short feature about it all on BBC Look East – the music being played throughout the clip is my piece.  You can also hear about it on Radio 5 live (Christian O’Connell) if you fast-forward to 47 mins in.

It was a lot of fun.  Chris Lawrence did some excellent stand-up, and Russell Keable took the orchestra through its paces, which included new pieces by Simon Brown and me, both of which sounded surprisingly acceptable!  Guy Llewellyn and Maurice Hodges gave an excellent rendition of Mozart’s Rondo (from the 4th horn concerto), taking turns at horn and piano.  There were many strange squeaks and thumps, and much laughter.  All credit to those who worked very hard to make this happen so wonderfully.

GOAT music

Chances are, the premiere of this new orchestral piece will be a raucous affair.  It’ll be an orchestra with a difference, as you can tell from the name, ‘Clueless in Concert’…

This month over 150 musicians from in and around Cambridge have taken up the ‘Grade-one-a-thon‘ challenge.   That is, they’ve heroically volunteered to learn a completely new instrument up to the level of Grade 1 in one month, taking the exam at the end of February.  By collecting sponsorship they have already raised over £20,000 for the Spinal Injuries Assocation (SIA).

I’ve been asked to write a short piece for the full orchestra, which is set to include a hundred or more players, including 14 horns and 7 harps.  I finished it last week and all the parts were sent off this weekend.  It was certainly fun to write and I hope it’s fun to play.  I can’t vouch for what it’ll sound like, though!

Clueless in Concert is going to be an amazing occasion – do get a ticket before they all sell out, and come along.  (It’s on Sunday 27 February, in the Guildhall – click here for the full story.)