Month: October 2013

Blog No. 11: A retrospective of the 2013 Summer Season

A month has passed since we finished our 15 week run at Scarborough Spa, and we look back at this season.  We have posts from all the members, plus our librarians and deputy musicians.  Enjoy!

Mark Addison – Trumpet

Many thanks to all for helping me have a lovely summer. All the guys in the band, its not easy but we made a lot of people happy. Michael and Steve for some great bike rides, Rick as always for making my life easier and always having a kind word and Paul for letting me have this opportunity in the first place. And to all the audience for your support, lets hope we see more people next year. Its flown by this summer so I must have enjoyed myself. Hope we are all back in 2014.

Steve Costello – Double Bass

Hi everyone, it’s Steve again! I would just like say its been a brilliant season! The weather’s been as good as I’ve ever remembered it! I enjoyed the Accordion out a doing a sketch with Michael and Mark! I’ll promise to do some practise over the winter and hopefully play a couple of solos on it next year!? I also enjoyed getting out on the bike and cycling through the beautiful Yorkshire countryside, with the guys! I hope you all Winter and look forward to seeing you next year

Mike Gray – Violin

Hello, so another Season comes to an end. I suppose I have to go back to real life now. It’s been another amazing marathon of music making at the Spa. Well done to all my colleagues, it’s an incredible achievement! And thank you to all the people who came. Without an audience there really is no point! Winter well and hope to see you next year.
Mike Gray

Michael Harper – Percussion

It is a slightly disappointing end to the season for me as I am not available for much of the last few weeks or the final night. It has been an enjoyable season with so many of our morning concerts being outside. I will certainly miss my morning cycle around North Bay to the Spa. Congratulations to my fellow musicians who have worked so hard and played so well. Hope to see you all soon.

Paul Laidlaw – Musical Director

I don’t know if its just me but this season seems to have flown by. It feels like no time at all since we were welcoming Jeffrey Stewart to do “The Pavarotti Story”, the first of our Gala evenings, and now here we are almost at the end, fifteen Galas later. A few highlights? Certainly the Novello evening with Marilyn Hill Smith, Alison Hudson and Owen Webb; the Rodgers & Hammerstein night with Maria Bovino, Owen Webb and the York Musical Theatre Company; The Swing evening; Orchestral Showstoppers and the G&S night. I think my personal favourite had to be the Musical Theatre night with Tom Solomon and Michele Todd. Fantastic singers totally at ease with the repertoire. And this week we have the chance to hear highlights from them all again in our last night Gala of Galas! A big thank you to all the members of the orchestra for another great season and another thank you to our amazing, loyal supporters. See you again next year!

Graham Quilter – Clarinet

Graham’s Final Word

So yet another season is just about done and dusted – it seems to go by faster and faster every year, but I’m already thinking about what solos or new pieces we might be doing next season, just to keep the interest level up! Chloe has even downloaded a new jazz solo for me to practice over the winter ready for summer 2014. Who says we don’t think ahead? And what a summer we’ve had with the weather, it’s been fantastic, day after day in the suncourt, and even an evening concert outside this year. If this is global warming, perhaps it’ll be the same next year!
Anyway look forward to seeing you all in 2014.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Richard Scoates – Trombone

Hi Bloggers! I left the season in full swing two weeks ago and there has been a total news blackout ever since-Yes of course I plugged into Graham’s blog and enjoyed all that but it’s no compensation for actually being there! I have to say it’s been like a holiday playing for the Ballet despite having a raised pit and a few long solos to play. The raised pit meant we could watch the show just like the old days and interact with the dancers and be more involved in the production. Also with an extra 20 colleagues the job does get easier!
All that said I missed the Spa. All those interesting concerts-I felt like a skiver (as we used to say at school). I missed the sea and those long cycles and the running. Town life doesn’t really compare and can be quite lively on the streets after dark (and not in a good way). Next year no such clash of schedules occurs so I am looking forward to a full stay in Scarborough (if invited!).
2013 was my best year in the Orchestra as it was the smoothest yet. Despite all the difficult music, it was a more equal challenge from times gone by where we have had difficult lighting situations (that can make you feel ill or anxious) or problems acoustically. I also had a relaxing time away from the Spa (apart from my trip to Lisbon). I think my favourite moment was out cycling with Steve, Michael and Mark.
I hope you all come to the New Years Day concert and I look forward to a reunion in June.

Kathy Seabrook – flute

Kathy’s Coda

For my last little blog, I would like to say thanks to everyone for helping us have such a successful summer season. The new S.I.V. management at the Spa has worked really hard to ensure things have run as smoothly as possible for us this year. So thanks all the managers, Helen, Jo, Richard, Paul and Keith, thanks to the advertising team and the box office team, and thanks to the café staff, and thanks Farrer’s bar for being open after the concerts! Thanks to the cleaners back stage, and a big thanks to all the technical guys who make sure the lighting is bright enough to read the music, that the sound for the galas suits the soloists, that the percussion is moved around, and even that the stage is safe! Thank you to the tireless efforts of our librarians Stephen and Judith. And a final thanks to all of you who come and watch our concerts, without your support, we wouldn’t be here!
Highlights for me have to be the Teddy Bears’ Picnic concerts, seeing so many families enjoying our music, and also the young musicians of SAYSO joining us last week, families and young people are the musicians and music lovers of the future! All the gala concerts have been a joy to be a part of (if a little bit hairy at times!) as has the warm sunshine in the suncourt, the sea, the yachts, the glorious south bay of Scarborough and sitting amongst the wonderful, talented, hardworking musicians of the Spa Orchestra “the last professional seaside orchestra in Britain, and maybe in the world!!”
P.S. I just need three weeks off, then I am happy to do it all again!

Diane Stewart – Cello

Well, here we are at the end of the season…how on earth did that happen? It’s a very strange feeling because, on the one hand, it feels like we’ve been doing it for ever, but on the other, it’s flown by very quickly, especially the school holidays. I think the highlight of the season has been being able to do so many concerts outside in the fabulous Sun Court because of the glorious weather. It’s great to look out at you all relaxing, enjoying the sun, and then to catch a few rays ourselves at the interval. It reminds me of before I was in the Orchestra, and I would come down to listen and relax in the sun. That’s a few years ago now! We’ve even managed an evening concert outside which I really enjoyed.
The other thing that has meant a lot personally, is all the positive feedback we have received about how much enjoyment people are getting from the Trio CD and my CD that we’ve been selling. That was the reason for making them- a little bit of the Spa to take home. Now it’s time to batten down the hatches for the winter, put the fire on and crank up that CD player. I hope you all winter well and look forward to seeing you next season.
Diane x

Chloe Vanns – Bassoon

Rick said something to me towards the beginning of the season which was very flattering, and really sums up my feelings of this, my third, season. He told me that I had really found my place in the orchestra, and had filled the few gaps that were missing. In my words, I feel that I have found my home here in the Scarborough Spa Orchestra. I love every second that I spend here in the orchestra, even when I’m feeling down and frustrated with my instruments, I can remind myself that it’s ok because I am exactly where I want to be. I only hope I can live up to the calibre of the great musicians I play with, and to the legacy of the Spa Orchestra. And finally, to our audiences, Thank You! You are what makes our unique band special, and I know none of us forget it!

Stephen and Judith Walker – Librarians

No photo here, we are the faceless ones who inhabit the dark, dank dungeons of the Spa, looking after all the orchestral music. Our basic task, having prepared all the programmes in conjunction with Paul, is to fish out the music required for each concert and put it in each musician’s folder. Then after each concert we take all the music out of each musician’s folder and file it away again in the library, often in the right place. Judith would tell you that she does all this repetitive work while Stephen just struts around looking important. In fact, Stephen types, photocopies and staples every programme for the audience, and laboriously fills in the Performing Rights Society forms where he has to write the title, length, type, composer, publisher and arranger of every piece the Orchestra plays, every time they play it. Stapler’s elbow and writer’s cramp are his only rewards. Not quite true. Our rewards come in the knowledge that we are doing our bit to support an Orchestra we love, and to maintain the great heritage and tradition of the light music in which we believe passionately. And it pays for a cruise in the autumn.

Tony Boorer – trombone (dep)

Usually I like to express myself with interpretive dance. Failing that, I will use the tried and tested medium of words
But in the form of poem…

There was an old band by the sea,
Who decided to hire little ole me
I’ve played every day
(twice by the way)
And now I’m jobless and free…

Please contact Tony.


….and I enjoyed every minute of it
It was a privilege and lovely 😉

(Credits I’d like to thank Lisa Featherstone for her subtle contribution to this inspirational verse)

Alex Cromwell – Trumpet (dep)

Hello my name is Alex
I really enjoyed deputising for Mark on trumpet in the Scarborough Spa Orchestra. I had a great time making music with great musicians and enjoying the breath taking scenery and also meeting some of the locals from Scarborough. Lets hope the orchestra thrives for another 100 years! All the very best. Alex Cromwell ( trumpet) x

Lisa Feathertone – Double Bass (dep)

I will never forget the moment when I was standing outside just before a concert and saw a beautiful and breath-taking rainbow landing in the sea. I still believe there is a pot of gold at the end..and the Scarborough Spa Orchestra is just that! I am always amazed by the wonderful people, exquisite musicians, the warm welcome, the spectacular surroundings, the beautiful playing, and the fish finger sandwiches to die for that I have the pleasure of experiencing each day that I am here…
…and it never fails to touch me when I see the huge love , support and dedication that the audience give to their orchestra…it’s incredibly special and I feel very lucky to have been part of it.

Richard Quick – Violin (dep)

My name is Richard Quick, and I stood in for Mike Gray on the violin for 2 days at the end of August when the poor chap had to return to the ‘Big Smoke’ for a prom at the Albert Hall. Now, although I have been a professional violinist for many years, I’m a Scarborough lad, (indeed, a ‘bottom ender’!- I grew up in the old town) and I remember the great Max Jaffa very well. I met him several times at various events while I was growing up, so it was with quite a lot of trepidation that I donned the gorgeous striped jacket (I don’t like wearing jackets generally, so imagine my surprise when I found I rather liked this one!) and sat on the stage in the Ocean Room where he had performed so many times, with our family beach hut in sight over my left shoulder, and my mum’s old house in sight over my right. I also expected to be a little blasé, since, as a professional violinist, I have played all over the UK, and indeed, the world, but no, I was as nervous as ever! The regular members of the Spa Orchestra were lovely to me (don’t tell them that though please) and I was keen to not mess up too much and let them down. I can’t be sure, but I think I ‘got away with it’, although there were a few close squeaks with page turns, clothes pegs and unexpected gusts of wind! I had to hold one of the concerts up for a few moments to dry the tears of laughter following a virtuoso and highly original percussion performance by Mike, and when, following a solo, Rich the trombonist acknowledged the audience applause by waving his instrument over his head, I vowed to try the same move sometime. And I was left with a little present in the shape of an ‘ear worm’ – one of those tunes you just can’t get out of your head. The first piece of the Friday Concert was a march called ‘Blaze Away’, and this remained with me for several days. And it has just returned…