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My first night playing with others

Nick Cook

Wokingham, Berks, UK
Well, I really enjoyed my first time playing with other musicians at the Windsor Community Orchestra. I turned up nice and early at the school and followed the sound of a rather sweet soprano to the hall, to find a bloke sitting there all on his own. He introduced himself and we had a chat until others started to arrive. Everyone was very friendly, most of them coming up and saying hello, commenting on my nice black sax, when the conductor and manager, Elaine, arrived. She came over to say hello and gave me 5 sheets of music for the end of term concert and showed me where I'd be sitting with the other tenor saxes. Most people had taken their own music and instrument stands, but there were music stands to borrow. I'll take my sax stand next week!

The whole back row was taken up mostly by saxophones. There was a bari, 4 tenors (including me), 3 altos, 2 trumpets and 2 sopranos. The middle row was clarinets, an oboe, flutes and a percussionist. The front row was a cello, violins and a keyboard.

We started off with everyone doing a tuning note (B for the tenors) and it was commented that I had a nice tone (well, the sax did anyway!). Then it was straight into Swing Low! I just listened at first and then we got to the part where I recognised the tune. I joined in at the second play through of that part. I was playing with other musicians - and knowing what I was doing! The next part soon knocked me off my perch - I can't do new sight reading that quickly!! There was even one note I didn't recognise - under 2 ledger lines. At the next break the lady next to me told me it was a very low A which we couldn't do, and to do the A an octave above.

There were various points where notes needed to be made on the music - of course, I'd forgotten to bring a pencil, so had to borrow the lady's next to me. Another thing to remember for next week.

The next tune was the William Tell Overture - at half speed!!! Again I listened first and joined in where I could until I got lost again.

Then it was break time. Water, squash, biscuits, grapes and a chat. I had a look at the bari sax - it was very nice, and sounded good too - I want one of those now!!! There was a 2 minute minute call from Elaine and we all sat down and were told she'd been asked to do their first 'gig'. To play at the Fifield Food and Wine Festival at the end of May. Chaos ensued while all the different parts where doled out to all the different sections for 6 more pieces of music to be learnt for the end of the month. I think I'll have to put my grade 3 aspirations on hold for a while. I won't have time to practise all these pieces as well as study for grades!!

We then finished off with Eine Kleine Nachtmusik which I joined in with when I could. At the end, lots of people asked if I would be coming back next week, and Elaine presented me with a joining form with fee details!! I think it was assumed I would be playing at the end of term concert and the 'gig', so I shall go along if I can.

I didn't get much sleep last night. All the music and details of the evening were going though my head all night. But I did enjoy it, and will be back next week for more!!
Its at times like these that I'm really envious of you music readers!:mad: I would love to be able to read music and get involved with something like that, but no matter how hard I try or how long I practice, it just doesn't stay in the old grey matter! I guess I'll just have to stick with rock and roll!
Good on you Nick, I know you'll have a great time and well done for having the guts to go along in the first place. I take my hat off to you sir! :mrcool
well done Nick, it is such a great feeling isn't it when you can play with others, i don't think the sax was meant to be played just on it's own, apart from the solos that is.
I missed band practice on Wednesday due to work committments. Let us know when you have your first gig, i'll try and get down to see you and offer some moral support. Kind rgds Phil
And another thing. Embouchure, breathing, diaphram control, posture, mouthpiece/crook position when sitting down. All went out out of the window - it was just, 'Where are we?', 'What do I do next', 'Ok, just blow!'


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