Adopt a Music Creator blog: A welcome in-person return

Foss Foster of Aberdeenshire Saxophone Orchestra shares her group's delight on returning to in-person activity for Adopt a Music Creator 2020/21 – a special rehearsal which a spot of chilly weather couldn't prevent.

I'm writing this on 23 May and we’ve been in Scottish Level 2 restrictions since 17 May. This meant that we could meet outside and play in socially-distanced groups.

We made preparations as if we were going to rehearse inside in case bad weather drove us indoors. This is the north of Scotland after all. An hour before the rehearsal, a team of volunteers met at our new venue, a social club.

They marked out socially-distanced spots on the hall floor with labels and outside in the car park with chalk. Using the previously drawn-up seating plan, chairs were placed on each spot indoors and labelled with an elasticated name tag. Hand sanitiser and spare masks were placed in each doorway. 

Each person was instructed to bring their own stands, sheet music, pencils and clothes pegs as wind was forecast. No one was to share any of these items.
MD Richard Ingham leads the group through their outdoor rehearsal

Everyone was also asked to take a lateral flow test three or four days before, and again one day before the rehearsal.

As people arrived, they were registered and their contact details verified in case Test and Protect needed them. As a final precaution, they also collected a suitably sized MoistureGuard cover for the bells of their saxophones. MoistureGuard are corporate members of Making Music, so we got a 10% discount on our group purchase because of this.

Masks were worn except when playing, eating or drinking. Each player’s gear (including instrument cases) was left on their indoor spot and they carried their chairs, instruments and stands outside to the marked spot in the car park, ready to play.

Our lovely new venue, a social club, provided us with an urn of boiling water so that we could come in from the cold at intervals for tea and coffee.

Is Emma pink with the cold or the effort of blowing the bass brute?!

We rehearsed ‘Rhymes & Recollections’, which is Ben Lunn’s new piece for our Adopt a Music Creator project.

This work consists of a ‘Prelude’ and seven movements! We also rehearsed ‘A Small Suite for Saxes’, a four-movement suite which Ben gifted us right at the start of the project. We finally got to hear what everything sounds like all together instead of fragments on Zoom – wonderful!

Just to round things off, we started work on a new piece, which our own composer and MD Richard Ingham has written for us in memory of one of our members – a lovely tribute and another musical challenge. What a brilliant day!

Ben is coming up in person for our next rehearsal at the end of June, and our collaboration partners, the Ugie Voices choir, are invited too. We hope to be able to start putting parts of the work together then.

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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 possible broadcast. If you’re a music group or music creator and you’d like to take part, find out more