“Music is a world
we all understand”
– Stevie Wonder
A very big hello to all in Blogland! It’s my turn for the weekly update on life within (and around) the Spa Orchestra – all the way down from the bass end!
I am fortunate enough to live fairly close to Scarborough (40 miles away in Hull) so have been commuting to the Spa on a daily basis – so far that’s a total of 4460 miles in 58 days…with only 1200 miles to go until the end of the season. Pretty impressive, eh?! Travelling back and forth can be quite tiring (and has deprived me of many fun nights out) but the journey always becomes worth it as soon as I approach the roundabout on Foreshore Road and see this before me:
Every time I reach this point of the drive I smile, take in the view and look forard to the day ahead, knowing it will be full of great music, extremely talented musicians and audiences that love and appreciate it all.
I took this picture first thing on Sunday morning as I got out of my car – it was a beautiful, suuny day with a certain crispness in the air. It felt like Autumn had crept upon us, without us even noticing. I love those kind of days – so still and calm.
The first person I bumped into was Terry, one of our lovely technicians (although you will also find him helping out in the café, behind the bar, painting something or another, or generally just spreading a smile about the place).
I chuckled as I saw him carrying a huge board over to the Suncourt and when I asked him what it was, he turned it around saying “It’s for you guys!”. He revealed the perfect photo opportunity:
The morning and evening concerts brought in fab audiences, which is always great to see. Smiling faces, young and old, new and familiar are what makes us thrive as musicians and performers…and as I turn around to take a look at the sea behind us, it’s always lovely to see the faces of passers-by light up as they hear the catchy toe-tapping tunes rising up and out of the Suncourt.
Most people (with normal, sensible jobs) usually get that sinking ‘Monday morning’ feeling – but not here at the Spa when we have a Teddy Bears’ Picnic to look forward to! It’s fun (and noise) all round ad I just love watching and hearing Kathy in action (and learn a lot from doing so too). She’s a complete natural with the children, oozes such energy and never fails to give the little ones an amazing and memorable musical experience…and as a result, the Suncourt is packed out every Monday morning. Well done Kathy!
Monday evenings are always a treat, unless you’re having to do a bass solo (it’s always scary leaving your comfort zone at the back of the orchestra to go out to the front!). With stunning solos from Mark, Di, Graham and Paul it was a pleasure to sit back and listen – thanks guys!
I always love Tuesdays as my eight year old son Milo comes along with me. He is already a keen musician himself (drummer) and really enjoys the concerts – I even catch him ‘air-drumming’ along from time to time.
I particularly enjoyed this concert, not only because Milo was there, but because of Paul’s solo! A few weeks ago Paul gave me a couple of CDs – one of Judy Garland, the other of Bette Midler. I listened to them over and over in the car on my way to and from work because I fell in love with them so much. Some of the songs made such an impact on me and I had previously learn a couple of the to sing at the Spa. So that morning when I asked Paul what he was going to play, he said “I wasn’t going to tell you, but I’m playing ‘Do It Again’ by Judy Garland”. I was so thrilled as that was one of the songs I had become so fond of and it really meant a lot that he had chosen to play it. He teamed it beautifully with another George Gershwin song “Somebody Loves Me”, and for a very special ‘piano solo moment’ I was filled with peace, sublimity and emotion.
Thank you for that.
Milo and I then hit the skatepark! As the mother of a typical eight year old boy I find myself surrounded by all things BMX, boisterous and dangerous, so the obvious place to go that afternoon was Scarborough Skatepark on the North Bay. I love going there as the view of the bay is beautiful and the tricks and stunts that we see the boys (and girls) doing there are often mind-blowing. I took a few pics but my timing is so lousy that I didn’t actually manage to snap anybody up in the air…but I can guarantee that there was some pretty impressive stuff going on.
I remember a lovely moment during Wednesday morning’s concert…we had just opened up the second half with Barsotti’s ‘Queen’s Colour March’ when I looked up to the hill in front of me. I saw a young boy with his grandma and grandpa on either side of him. As we played they all stopped at the top of the steps, looked at each other, joined hands and started marching down the hill in time to the music. It was wonderful to watch and I felt all warm and fluffy knowing that we had been part of that special family moment. I hope that is a memory that they will always treasure.
Wednesday afternoons are always great fun as I have started teaching an already well established bass player called Chris Lea. He currently plays for singer/songwriter John Hutchinson and is also doing a show called ‘Bobby Socks and Blue Jeans’ which will be at the London Palladium on October 19th. I’ve always found teaching inspiring and am enjoying talking all things Bass with an incredibly keen and dedicated musician.
Thursday morning didn’t start off so great – I had some really sad family news before the morning concert, so the day ahead felt like it was going to be a real struggle. However, ‘Your Requests’ meant that we played some lovely tunes, including one of my favourite songs ‘Autumn Leaves’, which was played beautifully by Kathy Seabrook.
Then followed the rehearsal in preparation for the ‘Frank Sinatra Night’ with Roger Maughan. With a voice as warm as his personality, the afternoon was an absolute pleasure. We rehearsed the songs with the whole band first and then just the numbers that involved only piano, bass, drums and voice. This turned into a really creative and productive session as we threw ideas, chord changes and suggestions at each other. This resulted in a gorgeous concert full of timeless, classy songs such as ‘Fly Me To the Moon’, ‘Night and Day’ and ‘It Had To Be You’.
To round off the week, Friday brought yet another beautifully sunny, but cold day at Peasholm. This place is really special to me as my Mum spent a lot of time here as a child, so I always feel like I am walking in her footsteps. I love hearing about how the place has changed since those days in the 1950’s and found these old photos of her at Peasholm really interesting:….(anyone remember the mechanical elephant ride?)
The evening concert featured Michelle Todd and brimmed with magnificent music from the movies (including the hauntingly beautiful theme from ‘Schindler’s List’ played by Mike Gray). The evening was a huge success and was a great finish to a very long, busy and hard (but very enjoyable) week. So aboard the Swan we stepped for one last time in order to leave the bandstand and head over to the café’s laundry room to get changed – oh the glamour!)…and after such a busy day, the main exit really did seem too far away to walk with a bass on my back…so I clambered over the nearest fence!! (Hope nobody saw).
Enjoy the rest of the season – it’s been lovely chatting!
Love and hugs,