Thursday, 30 April 2015

Billy Whistle Mini-Premiere

And so the Brass journey continues with its series of mini milestones, many of which I've deliberately created to keep the cast and musicians excited and engaged about the project. When we started rehearsals for Brass I was very clear that I wanted the experience to be something the cast remembered forever, just as I will always remember my summers with the National Student Drama Company at the Edinburgh Festival. Art is never merely about audiences: it's about the astonishing bonds that creative people make when they work together... The cast bonded remarkably well and I think I owe it to them to create opportunities where they can engage with one another, for as long as I feel their need to do so! Just call me Mary Poppins!

Today's task was to send the cast the latest mix of Billy Whistle so that they can practice lip-synching for next Sunday's shoot. None of them has heard anything much from the recording so far, and I thought how special it would be if, instead of emailing them all, and have them listen in their own time, we all listened together online.

Fortunately there's a hugely active Brass Facebook page which the cast regularly check into, so, at 8pm, I went on and told them all to congregate there at 9pm, at which point I would release the link to the track. Word got round and I'd say a good half of the cast and musicians were there. It was all very exciting really. Like a mini-virtual premiere... It's amazing what you can do (and how rapidly you can do it) online these days. I posted the link and the screen went weirdly quiet as everyone tuned in...

And then suddenly, one by one, they started to respond. Lots of "wows" and "amazings" and a genuine sense of great pride. PK is suddenly on a roll and the mixes which are coming through are stunning. It is going to be an epic soundtrack "the best since Les Mis" says Nathan... A comment he apparently means! What IS certain is that you don't often get a new cast recording which features 30 singers and a band of 22! The music is MEGA!

It's just as well really. After putting in another twelve hour day on admin for these projects, I was beginning to get a bit square-eyed and under-energised.

I released the CD credits today so that people could check their names had been spelt properly. I was so relieved that I'd done so. I'd managed to leave two musicians off the list, and one poor girl got thanked as Hannah Forget instead of Hannah Froggett!

Now listen... Everyone reading this... Please come to our music quiz a week on Saturday. 1.30-5.30pm... I'm genuinely worried that no one is going to come, and unless we raise a few pennies I won't be able to afford release the Pepys Motet and Oranges and Lemons just yet. And believe me, this album deserves to be heard every bit as much as Brass!

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