Thursday, 20 August 2015

August 15th Meeting of the BGS

Despite a few of our regulars being absent there was still a healthy turn-out of eleven of us for this meeting. With John, our regular band leader, missing, we were expecting to have to try and 'wing it' for the ensemble pieces this evening. Luckily we were saved from having to face that potential chaos when Kate stepped up to take the helm and did an amazing job of conducting the group.

Kate introduced a new ensemble piece to us - "To The 5th Power" by Aaron Stang and Sandy Feldstein. This catchy piece has a modern feel with a slow intro followed by an up tempo second section with a swing feel. (The chord progression is very reminiscent of "I'd Love to Change the World", Alvin Lee's great song from 1971.) Kate had previous experience of this arrangement and did an admirable job of teaching us the nuances of the piece, guiding us through the tempo change, isolating different parts to ensure we had it right, and even singing the melody at one point to help us 'get' the rhythm - that was a very useful aid! Consensus among the players afterwards was that Kate made it very clear when it came to timing and rhythm. Well done Kate!

We followed this with some more practice of  "Ballad" by Mark Houghton.

Half-time refreshments followed. Thanks, as always, to Trevor for the teas, coffees and delicious biscuits.

Sticking to the mainly modern theme of the evening, solo pieces this week were:

Marion Santillana by David Cottam
Colin Somebody Loves Me by George Gershwin
Freddy Self-arranged medley: "Hear my Song, Violetta", "Spanish Eyes" and "La Paloma"
Steve Un Dia de Noviembre by Leo Brouwer

After the solos we had a stab at a couple of pieces from "Ray's Big Book". We gave up halfway through Stairway to Heaven. Maybe we should adopt the approach of many music shops and have a sign on the wall:

We had considerably more success with the old Shadow's tune "Wonderful Land" by Jerry Lordan, and had a fair attempt at Eleanor Rigby before calling it a day at the end of a very enjoyable meeting.

Please note that there is a new page, Current Ensemble Repertoire, accessible at the top of the blog, just under the logo. Visit that page to see the pieces we are currently working on.

Monday, 10 August 2015

August 1st Meeting of the BGS Plucker brigade!!

It was a lively turnout for the August Pluck and Strumfest!!

Despite the heat and humidity, we can report  a good turnout from the usual gang! It was great to see Tessa back, all primed with a Bach prelude. Not to mention Trevor, Steve , Larisa, Alexander, John, David and Marion. A small but plucky (I am really giving the 'pluck' metaphor a good run for its money!!) band of troubadours ready and willing to have a go at what ever our ensemble leader, John Mann, had to throw at us. And he did have some challenging pieces.  A particularly fiendish piece called Elite Syncopations by Scott Joplin as well as a lovely arrangement called 'Ballad' by Mark Houghton. Shirley has sent out a copy of the music to all members including a piece called Tango which I assume we will look at a little later. If you haven't received a copy please either let her or myself know.

Solo performances were of the usual high standard with a piece from David Burden's Celtic Suite played by Marion Davis , and 'dueling' Bach preludes- Prelude 996 performed by John Mann and Prelude 998 performed by Tessa Protheroe.

We also spend a lot of time discussing the future direction of the Bromley Guitar Society based on a brainstorm list generated at the last executive meeting. You can find the list here along with a questionnaire indicating what you see are the most important or less important items that should be considered.  Seriously folks this is an important step that we need to take in order to ensure the future sustainability of the Society The list and the survey results will be discussed  in more detail at the 2015 AGM meeting.

Please note that the next meeting will take place on August 15th. Members are asked to bring along their ensemble books for practice. John Mann is not available to take the ensembles that evening so we will have to muddle along. If any member would like to have a go at leading the group, please don't be shy. Here's a suggestion- have a look at the pieces in Ray's book- select one and then it will be your task to lead the group through that piece.

Trevor will be opening the hall that evening as your correspondent will not be attending due to a family commitment- the noisy but welcome arrival of his grandsons during that weekend. I could bring them to the meeting to lead the ensemble but they would ensure that chaos would follow in their  wake (and we don't have much music from the 'Wiggles')

Have a great meeting on the 15th and I look forward to seeing you in September

Saturday, 27 June 2015

June Meeting 2015


It was another somewhat 'cosy' turnout for the June meeting with an attendance of ten. This was a good thing to some extent; the meeting consisted primarily of those playing the ensemble piece on FGS day. With only a week to go before the big day, it allowed us to concentrate on Fauré's Sicilienne without boring non-FGS folk to death!

Half time coffee and savoury refreshments were kindly provided by Trevor. There seemed to be an extended refreshment break with everyone chatting longer than usual, maybe because there was only a couple of solo performances this evening.

There was definitely an accidental Gaelic theme to the solo pieces:


The Lakes of Killarney and Killarney Jig by David Burden


Spancil Hill, written by Michael Considine in a traditional Irish style.

After the break, John Mann guided us through a bit more ensemble practice and then introduced us to a fun piece called Moto Perpetuo by Roy Chilton. It contains lots of interesting bits, like palm-muted chords and rather discordant modulations. This could become a regular warm-up piece for the ensemble in future.

The next meeting is Saturday 18th July.

Hope to see you all there.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

June Interim Meeting

This was the first of the additional meetings that we recently decided to have in addition to the regular monthly meeting. The prime reason for these is to get in some more ensemble practice. And, under the expert guidance of John Mann, that is exactly what we did.

The turnout was lower than for our normal meetings but luckily we had at least one player present for each part of this year's chosen piece for Federation Day, namely Sicilienne, Op.78 by Gabriel Fauré, The lower numbers allowed us to arrange the ensemble in a semicircle which helped us to 'gel' a bit more, I think. We practised the Sicilienne mainly and even had a look at the Federation Day main piece (Guitarchestra). After the coffee break we strove to fine-tune bits of the Fauré until we were all a bit too tired of it - "shall we run through it just one more time?" we were asked. "NO!" came the quick and unusually assured reply!

Being the first of its kind, there was a somewhat tentative atmosphere as members got accustomed to the new format. It was well worth it purely for the extra practice it allowed us to get in ahead of the big event in three weeks' time. No doubt the format of these additional sessions will gradually fall into place over the coming months as we work out what we want from them.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

April Meeting 2015

Not really much difference from the March Meeting, so I will just recount the solo performance where were

Eduardo Gonzalez                      
Pasillo No.1
Neveri (Venezuelan Waltz)
All Own Comps.

Freddy Carvalho                         
Cubana                                      Jose de Azpiazu 
Marion Davis                            
Sonatina                                    Carulli
Trevor Pike                                
Gavotte                                     Villa-Lobos

Colin Baker

A special mention needs to be made of the performance of De Visee’s Suite in D minor by Vince and Larisa which received an excellent report at the Bromley Music Festival. Well done to you both!

BGS Extra ensemble sessions
At the meeting a proposal to hire the church room for an extra meeting each month, in order to play more ensembles was discussed.

This idea has come from John Mann and has met with the approval of many of the members. John’s suggests that we go for the first Saturday of each month.  Den has checked and confirmed that those Saturdays are currently free for the rest of this year, starting on June 6th

We will keep you informed about the development of this proposal- we anticipate having something in place before the next May Meeting

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Greenwich Guitar Festival


I am delighted to announce the first Greenwich Guitar Festival, London will take
place in just a few months’ time from July 1st. – July 3rd  2015 at Trinity
Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance situated on the magnificent grounds of
the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich.   Recital artists will include Edoardo
Catemario, John Mills and Graham Anthony Devine. Many of the events are free to
attend, including two of the evening recitals and public masterclasses.

There is also a festival classical guitar course which will feature lessons and
course masterclasses from all of the concert artists plus guest tutors Cobie
Smit and Francesco Mariani. The course, which is suitable for players from grade
1+ standard , has a strong emphasis on ensemble playing with chamber music
sessions as well as a guitar orchestra. There are performance classes which will
cover topics such as making the most of practise sessions, technical tips etc.
and each student will also receive two thirty-minute private lessons over the
duration of the festival.

For more information on the festival and guitar course fee, booking info etc.
please visit:<>

Hope you can join us for what will surely be a memorable number of days music
making at a very special venue in London this summer!

Very best wishes,

Cirella Mayrink

Saturday, 18 April 2015

March 2015 Meeting

Apologies for absence from Tessa Protheroe, Alex Green and Steve Pearson.
A very welcome back to Richard Frenckl, after a long absence due to a very serious and debilitating illness.
  The music played after the coffee break was:-
Eduardo Gonzalez           Serenata Austral             Own Comp.
                                        Milonga                            Own Comp.
Freddy Carvalho              Study in A                       Carcassi
                                         Study in A                                  Tarrega

Marion Davis                   Study in A Minor                         Aguado
John Mann                       Clyde Suite                                 Moore             
Larisa Lieberman
Vince Chittenden             Suite in D minor                         de Visee

Shirley Russell
Marion Davis
David Wheeler
Colin Baker                    Scarborough Fair                         Trad.
Thanks to John Mann for two excellent ensemble sessions.
Thanks to Trevor Pike for the delicious home-made biscuits accompanying our coffee.
Thank you, David, for opening the church room in good time and to you, Shirley, for undertaking that task at the April meeting.

See you then