Sally MacTaggart is one of this year’s Music Animateur Apprentices, and has been spending time this term with inimitable band of forty female voices, Women sing East. As the Summer Festival draws near, she tells us what she been up to with the choir.
I am now eight weeks into my time with Women sing East and everything is starting to come together for our concert at Shoreditch Church on the 13 June. I have spent this year with Spitalfields Music – going around an eclectic mix of projects within different parts of the community within Tower Hamlets – but I was initially a little nervous before the start of my time at Women sing East. As a saxophonist, I had never spent any time within a choir before and wondered what I could bring to the group. These worries were soon gone within my first 5 minutes of walking through the door. Even though all members come from a variety of backgrounds and age groups, and most members fly in after a long day at a mix of different jobs, they all are upbeat and ready to go. Anyone new to come in is instantly welcomed into the mix.
Women sing East in rehearsal
The key to this group being a success is the infectious personality of Laka D, who is the group’s leader, and brings such energy into the room that you can’t help but get swept up into the activities. As one of the Music Animateur Apprentices, I have had a great experience introducing different warm ups to hopefully bring enjoyment and new challenges to the group (as well as stealing a few along the way that Laka has also tried out with the group).
This term the choir has been tackling some fiendish arrangements by Laka and each time a new section is tackled, with the glorious harmonic progressions falling into place, there is a major sense of achievement from everyone. We still have a lot of work to do in the next two weeks – which is a little scary – but I am extremely excited about the upcoming concert. And yes, I am going to be rocking out on my sax in some of the songs in the concert as well!
Music Animateur Apprentice
Catch Women sing East in concert on Wednesday 13 June, 7.00pm at Shoreditch Church (St Leonard’s).
Book your tickets online via the Spitalfields Music website.
So we’re just over a week away from the last instalment of the current CLoSer series, aptly titled Jazz Finale. The City of London Sinfonia and conductor Clark Rundell will be joined by the celebrated jazz pianist, Gwilym Simcock in a programme showcasing his improvisation skills alongside musical gems by Darius Milhaud, and Mark-Anthony Turnage.
Image: Clare Parker
If you haven’t been to a CLoSer performance before, you can enjoy all this music in the relaxed atmosphere of the Village Underground with bean-bags and a cash bar open throughout the night. Plus you can get up close and personal with the performers throughout the performance.
If you fancy a taster of what’s in store, check out the CLS’s Spotify Playlists featuring music from Milhaud, Turnage and Gwilym Simcock as well as some jazz favourites.
Don’t forget you can buy your tickets on our website or by calling the box office on 020 7377 1362 (Mon-Fri, 10am-6pm). Tickets are £15 (including a free drink) and only £5 for students.
After a busy Monday at work I was very pleased to be heading across the road to The English Restaurant for their regular Jazz Night.
The atmosphere inside the newly refurbished restaurant was lovely; the dark wooden panelling and low, but not too low, lighting gave it a very cosy yet sophisticated feel, there was a nice buzz from the customers waiting in anticipation for the band to start, and of course the inviting smell of food!
The band were positioned in a corner of the restaurant, at floor level, which made their performance seem very intimate despite the fact that I was seated at the opposite end of the bar. The music itself was wonderful; The Robin Harris band led by Robin Harris and featuring charming vocals from Tiffany Schellenberg, they transported us across the channel via their soulful renditions of Brel, Piaf and Gainsbourg, I had to glance out of the window on to Brushfield Street to remind myself I was still in London!
So if you’re looking for a little Monday night escapism I would highly recommend that you take a trip to the English Restaurant’s Jazz Night. It’s a great venue with an atmosphere perfect for enjoying great food, delicious wine and quality music.
Box Office Manager
See The Robin Harris Jazz Band perform every Monday from 7.30pm @
The English Restaurant,
50/52 Brushfield Street
London E1 6AG
Listen to the band online at http://robinharris.info/?page_id=115
Dont miss our Summer Festival event Tafelmusik at The English Restaurant on Friday 10 June 7pm
I am very fortunate to have been a steward for three events at Spitalfields Music’s Summer Festival this year – In the House and a couple of concerts with Harry Christophers & The Sixteen – and have enjoyed every minute of it!
In the House was a tour of five houses located in Spitalfields, each having a musician perform a solo piece for the group. It was my first time as a tour guide. We not only found out about the history of these houses, we also enjoyed the music played by wonderful musicians from the Royal Academy of Music. The owners of each house were really friendly and we were all given short tours around their homes.
During The Sixteen: Allegri & MacMillan I got to meet the conductor himself, Harry Christophers and had a photograph taken with him. He is such a lovely man and very welcoming. The concert itself was magical, flawless and I felt transported to another time. James MacMillan’s new composition Miserere was a treat to listen to and I do hope to hear it again in the future.
The second time I was stewarding, The Sixteen did a Monteverdi set split into two concerts. It was also an education on the style of music which I didn’t have much affinity for until now. The best bit was in the second concert that evening when they paired up with virtuoso jazz pianist Julian Joseph and double bassist, Mark Hodgson. It was a Monteverdi / jazz collaboration. I have never experienced anything like it – the music was organic and really suited improvisation. Who would have thought that Monteverdi and jazz could work so well side by side?
The Festival was great fun and I can’t wait until the Winter Festival comes around, what will be in store I wonder?