Adopt a Music Creator blog: Ben Lunn, Aberdeenshire Saxophone Orchestra & Ugie Voices

In our second blog from Adopt a Music Creator 2020/21, Foss Foster of Aberdeenshire Saxophone Orchestra outlines her group's experience of Zoom rehearsals with Ben Lunn and meeting fellow collaborators Ugie Voices.

October’s exciting news is that Aberdeenshire Saxophone Orchestra, together with Ugie Voices Choir from Peterhead, have been accepted onto Making Music’s Adopt a Music Creator project. 

Our two groups have been teamed together to follow the project’s first collaborative pathway. On 3 October we all attended a virtual ceremony in London, where we met the young composer who has been assigned to us. Our composer is the young, innovative Ben Lunn, who has won a Scottish Award for New Music.

Members rehearse in person before the pandemic

Ben will be creating an entirely new piece of music in collaboration with our two groups. This is great news for many reasons. It will provide us with a different project to work on alongside our normal programme, and distract us from the difficulties of Covid. It would be nice to think that our collaboration will result in creating and launching a wonderful new piece of music out into the world. It will also hopefully be a new piece of work for us to add to our repertoire.

In normal years, we would expect to perform the new piece at the end of the year’s collaboration, and a professional recording would be made and be broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Due to Covid, we don’t know how things will work out, but we are pressing on regardless. What is certain is that everyone from both groups will be gently eased out of their comfort zones into something strange and different, but enjoyable and attainable. It should help Ben in his career, and it will help both our groups to survive and grow during the pandemic.

What is certain is that everyone from both groups will be gently eased out of their comfort zones into something strange and different, but enjoyable and attainable

On 27 October, we held our second Zoom rehearsal. The first one in September went really well, with some aspects, such as Zoom breakout rooms, being a definite enhancement to our normal rehearsals. Ben came along to meet us and see just how we are running our sessions, together with Neil Gibson, chair of Ugie Voices. Both of them seemed very happy with what they witnessed, as evidenced by a grin from Ben and a thumbs up from Neil.

In fact, we are getting a series of visitors coming along to see how we are doing rehearsals! At our December rehearsal, we will be welcoming members of Phoenix Saxophone Orchestra from Market Harborough, which is a lovely connection. There are some geographical advantages to the Covid situation – in normal circumstances we might never meet these folks.

Follow Aberdeenshire Saxophone Orchestra on Facebook / Instagram, Ben Lunn on Facebook / Twitter and Ugie Voices on Facebook / Twitter

The Adopt a Music Creator project matches vocal and instrumental leisure-time music groups with some of the UK’s most promising music creators to collaborate on creating a new piece of music. The project leads to a premiere performance and broadcast on BBC Radio 3. If you’re a music group or music creator and you’d like to take part, find out more.