City of Birmingham Brass Band Christmas Concert, December 2016

10th December. The City of Birmingham Brass Band presented a festive programme of brass band music to an appreciative audience at Joseph Chamberlain Sixth Form College, Highgate. A feature of this concert was the participation of disabled young people, aided to play music instruments by the One Handed Musical Instrument Trust (OHMI). OHMI is working to bring modifications to instruments to remove the barriers to music-making for physically disabled people and has formed a sponsorship arrangement with the band. Some clips made during the concert will be appearing on youtube shortly, but in the meantime here is Alison Balsom talking about the trumpet!

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The Nick Ross Orchestra on tour, Scotland, October 2016

October saw The Nick Ross Orchestra take to the road and bring the sounds of the Glenn Miller Era to audiences in Ayr, Lanark and Blackburn. A new feature in this tour was this beautiful interpretation of the Rodgers and Hart classic song Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered. A real treat for me to play.

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Call Mr Robeson, September 2016

1st September. In August while at the Edinburgh Festival with Dr Ahmed I met a charming, well-spoken gentleman by the name of Tayo Aluko in the dressing room. Talking to him I quickly realised here was a really special performer. Later in the week I went to see one of his one-man shows – Call Mr Robeson. A dramatised account of the life of Paul Robeson, the famous actor, singer and civil rights campaigner, this was a brilliantly written and produced play, delivered with powerful dignity and wonderful singing by Tayo. The production included background music and song accompaniment by a pianist. Little did I know watching the production that I would be performing that role myself only a couple of weeks later! Having swapped numbers Tayo called me with only a couple of days notice due to a pianist being indisposed and there I was myself playing the show to a wonderfully appreciative audience in LLandinam, Wales. It really was a privilege to work with such a committed performed with such a powerful and highly relevant message in today’s political climate.

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The Memphis Belle Swing Orchestra, August 2016

20th August – I had a treat of playing with a fabulous jazz orchestra, The Memphis Belle Swing Orchestra. Formed in 1989 especially for the David Putnam movie Memphis Belle the orchestra has been maintained as a touring band by legendary bandleader Greg Francis ever since. I’ve played in a few jazz bands and big bands before but never in authentic wartime uniform. I enjoyed it!  You can find out more about the orchestra through the website UK Music Productions and watch the band’s appearance on BBC television back in 2000 here – fabulous.

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Dr Ahmed at The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, August 2016

August 2016 saw a further collaboration with the multi-talented Dr Ahmed in his variety comedy show at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Thanks to Dr Ahmed’s concerted publicity efforts and consulate professionalism the show was a storming success and played to sold-out houses for most of the 2 week run. Hats off to Dr Ahmed and a great experience playing in the greatest cultural festival in the world. Truly, laughter is the best medicine. Visit www.doctorahmed.net for more information.

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Recital with Jakob Törmä (violin), July 2016

Friday 22nd July saw the debut performance by Jakob and I at St. Columba United Reformed Church, Moseley. We were delighted to have a very reasonably sized and hugely appreciative audience to witness our first complete recital programme. The church has a lovely resonant acoustic and very good upright piano which made an ideal location for us to perform a programme bringing together some of our favourite pieces from the classical violin repertoire. See below for programme details. Piazzolla’s Libertango made a rousing encore!

Violin and piano recital

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CBSO Young Voices concert, Symphony Hall Birmingham, July 2016

It was fun to be asked to be a part of this concert featuring the CBSO Young Voices led by Ruairi Edwards. Ruairi normally accompanies when the choir is led by Ula Weber who was on this occasion indisposed so I had the fortune to be able to step in. There were some really fun arrangements to play of Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now, Blame It On The Boogie and Joyful Joyful from Sister Act II. The young choir were full of life and energy, giving a fabulous performance as part of this gala concert for Birmingham Music Service. Here’s an older clip of the choir performing Ruairi’s excellent arrangement of Ain’t No Sunshine.

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