Wednesday, 25 March 2009


I forgot to mention that we had an orchestra concert on Saturday as well, playing at a church in Thornbury (raising some money towards the church's restoration). It went reasonably well - second half a lot better than the first half, though the atmosphere in the church played havoc with the woodwind; going from a warm early-evening to a cold church, to it heating up again after the interval when the radiators were turned on, led to quite silly amounts of condensation coming out of the instruments - the first oboe had a mini-waterfall coming over his thumb!

However, I am incredibly chuffed that my solo in the Borodin went far better than I'd anticipated - the balance of oboe and cor anglais with the strings underneath sounded absolutely glorious in the church accoustics.

I did feel slightly sad, though - the person who had organised the concert (one of our trumpeters) had mentioned whilst we were setting up that he was bit concerned that one of their congregation might disrupt the proceedings. She is an Ulster Protestant and Bi-Polar; the church that we were playing in was the only one in the town which had not banned her. She had called him up earlier in the week and told him that the concert was the work of the devil and that she wasn't going to let it go ahead. Fortunately she did not show!

Whilst I know that she has mental health issues (though having worked with someone pre and post their bi-polar diagnosis, I can't believe that her attitude is not just a manic-exaggeration of her own feelings, rather than being wholly out of character), I feel really sorry for her beliefs. To feel that music of any kind is evil (and, yes, we were playing a mixture of music from high classical and religious (a lovely theme and variation on "Simple Gifts" in a piece called "Shaker Variants) to film scores and show music) and to want it out of not only your life but everyone else's is incredibly sad. I am an atheist, and have been for about 15 years now, but when I play and listen to music (particularly classical, but also things like electronica, indie etc) I get the same sense of peace and spirituality that I did when I was able to believe. She is missing out on this, and doesn't even realise it.

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