feeding chinley bowlful of dense music

this winter, we have decided that it would be grand to open the new year with a banging smashing concert.  no lollipops and potpourris, though they can be nice.  but there's something about a good meaty joint and a glass of robust barolo...

i am quite fortunate to have friends who are generous.  the best kind, really- we share normal things such as food and ride-to-work.  we, however, are extra lucky that we can share something so intimate- music.  for me, it's a different experience playing with chinley friends, as they are mature boys (and hopefully girls as well, for next concert!) who are willing to take the risk of 'playing,' not just rehearsing.  surely, every 'go' has it's own spots and scratches, but we are able to go on as a group, to strive to make music- without clinging onto it and therefore holding it back from the audience from the full experience.  and the fact they work in a great orchestra means several things- including somewhat sane schedule (yay for reherasals and pints), great abilities (ears, mind and technical) and most beneficially, thirst for chamber music. as they hardly ever get to play without the silly man on the front who is waving a stick. without the bulk of fellow comrades of a section.

however, it does bring interesting challenges, such as shifting gears- from being part of a whole to individuals in conversations. speaking without the weight of the others, they are often laughing at this 'enormous pressure' to take responsibility.  silly boys. you see, the funny thing is that everyone speaks beautifully. they all have lovely personalities- so different though, far from one to another as possible.  and this allows 'us' to make such colourful expressions.

and as we play more and more, we get more daring.

you see, chinley is a small wee town. in fact, the only pub in our little town is the conservative club. haha. old hall, the local pub is actually in whitehough, the very next village. we often do things like garden party fundraiser and the favoured lists from the classical FM- a standard procedure for casual concert goers, i suppose.


yet,  in the past, we have mixed in a thing or two which are no longer easy to eat. but only in bits and pieces. somehow, this particular program became a heavy-weight though: martinu cello sonata no 2, beethoven kruetzer sonata and brhams g minor quartet.  it wasnt intentional. it's just the way it shaped itself (this happens on regular basis among us, as we simply just like to play anything, as long as we are among friends!)-

yes, wee monkey.
we will bring serious music to metropolis of chinley.

and minnow- similar story, where he found sonata practices quite weird as a boy- going through the fragments, alone.  so now he quite happily eat a heavy sonata or two.  and matthew- well, he's a violist/accordionist/arranger.  let's just say he likes to play with his noodles.  he would quite happily eat a sandwich stuffed with quicksilver for a snack, i think.

and our audience- the small local population, grew to love us, i think.  see, they were used to the boys and girls from the phil and their concerts (and also add a good friend charlie, who dabs not one but two instruments: piano and violin!).  and so when i showed up on the hills, the paving was already done- even with a good working sturdy piano!  lucky monkey.  it is a genuine welcome when you get your bum down on the worn seat of the pub, someone may ask: when's the next concert? we are looking forward!

but we did slightly wonder/worry how they would take this program. of course we believe it'll all great and they would love it (as we were determined anyways):

and they did love it.

the church was packed. extra seats were occupied with bright-eyed people, 730pm till 10pm- a good length, chunky concert. and every single one of them rose to their feet and greeted us with enthusiasm when we finished 'playing'- we played like little kiddies who were totally engrossed in our own game, serious, trusting, forgiving and 'together.'

with substantial money raised once again to the organ fund, we talked and drank, ate and laughed till the wee hours after the concert.  all i can say is that i am so thankful for my friends and their generosity.  with such friends, we'll continue to feed the locals of chinley unending bowl of dense music, packed with love and generosity.  i hope you can make it one day, to the small church of st. mary's, where we play like children, with no fear. and please, feel free to join in. after all, that's what life is about i hope?

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