Thursday, 10 April 2014

More drills

It's been another hugely rewarding day in the land of Brass. We're all exhausted in both good and bad ways I suspect. We had the rudest awakening at 7am with a fire drill. I'd been up writing music until 1.30am the night before, so was absolutely dead to the world when the alarms went off. I threw clothes on and staggered through several long corridors to the assembly point, only to discover a man with a stop watch who informed us that we'd failed the drill, because it had taken us longer than 2 minutes to vacate the building and therefore - and this is priceless -  that we'd need to repeat the drill at a later point in the week! There was an air of astonishment from almost everyone, and a considerable amount of anger. I realise that these drills are unavoidable when you do these residential courses, but I'm sure there are better times to hit the alarm! The only positive I gleaned from the situation, other than that I was up nice and early, was that the grass was covered in the most romantic coating of dew which looked like someone had emptied a bottle of sequins on the lawn. You can quite see why Elizabeth Pepys and other barmy seventeenth century ladies would travel miles to find fresh early morning dew to wash their faces with, believing it had magical qualities.

The alarm debacle had a knock-on effect on our morning's rehearsal. Everyone felt a little rattier than they may have done otherwise, and it took until just after lunch for our mojos to return.

Fortunately at that stage the magic started to happen, and Sara holed herself up in a little room with the lads to work through scenes in absolute detail and complete privacy; a process which seemed to have a very wonderful effect on everyone present. The lads emerged from the rehearsal absolutely glowing, all wanting to tell us what a cathartic and emotional journey Sara had taken them on.

In the meantime, Matt worked with the girls on their upbeat Barnbow song, which seems to have been voted the catchiest piece of music in the Brass canon. So catchy, in fact, that the production manager is trying to ban its being sung outside rehearsals!

It's so strange for me to hear little snippets of my music being hummed and rehearsed all over the place. Sometimes it's an internal harmony and I barely recognise it, but then a familiar rhythmic figure jumps out and I realise I'm hearing something which sprung from my pen. It's really very interesting.

But look, I'm falling asleep here. I can barker keep the eyes open. I've been writing another sequence of music this evening. A massive ensemble piece where everyone reads letters to their loved ones. Mightily complicated.

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