Music creator Robin Fiedler talks about their first full rehearsal with Regent Brass Band and Camden Brass Band as part of their Adopt a Music Creator 2023 collaboration.
This was the first joint rehearsal in which I would hear the entirety of my piece. Bearing in mind that I have two bands to work with (Regent Brass and the Youth Band from Camden Music Hub), it had needed quite a bit of bending over backwards on the parts of Deirdre and Alan, the two conductors, to schedule two joint rehearsals in November. There is always that tightrope walk between 'it’s too late for the kids' and 'people aren’t off from work yet and won’t make it in time'. They made it work somehow – which is just one of the amazing achievements of these two groups. Deirdre tells me they’re working very hard and I believe it. There is a general sense of excitement in the air, because it’s an unusual thing for the younger members to have a rehearsal that late, and you can pick up on the 'not your usual rehearsal' atmosphere. Or maybe it’s just my own nerves. Many versions of the score have been going back and forth at this point, ranges adjusted because 'this person’s had braces fitted over the summer, they can’t play this high anymore at the moment'. What a thing to think about! As a string player, it never occurred to me how that can make a difference.
'There is a general sense of excitement in the air... and you can pick up on the 'not your usual rehearsal' atmosphere.'
I get worried in the first couple of minutes. Everything is a bit chaotic and despite Jenni’s attempts at soothing, I think maybe I overwork people. Maybe it’s me. But then Alan Duguid takes center stage and we all get a masterclass in saving the day. He’s got everybody’s attention as if it was nothing, he gets them to not only observe dynamics but think in them, he makes the children pick out animal names for the rehearsal letters and in a mere hour, 'S as in snake' and 'J as in jellyfish' sound very close to what I imagined them to be. I’m in complete awe. Deirdre, who laid all the hard groundwork in performing this piece with Camden Brass Band, is whizzing around in between her students, clarifying rhythms, giving extra cues and it’s like she’s not actually moving from place to place, just appearing in different spots in the room. Sometimes I could swear there are two or three of her.
It's 90 mins of hard work and I’m relieved and warmed at the end of it because we’re all doing this together and I’m looking forward to the next one in two weeks’ time. There are some snakes and jellyfish still to be figured out, but I’m not worried anymore.
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 a professional recording. If you’re a music group or music creator and you’d like to take part, find out more.