Belford Music Association – belfordnorthumberland.co.uk
Belford Music Association is a non-profit making group which was set up in 1994 to help to promote music in the village.
Belford Music Association committee has not felt it necessary to meet since January although our support of music in the area continues. We have bought a number of instruments which children are purchasing from us. The Association has a current balance in the account of £3073.65 but some of this will be used to buy new instruments in September.
There have been several concerts in the area featuring Belford Community Orchestra and pianists.
In May we welcomed pupils from the Duchess’s High School to play for and with us here in Belford. It was good to see some of our former instrumentalists now playing with a much more professional orchestra. We are, as ever, grateful to Duchess’s High School music teacher, Svere Thomasson for bringing the students to Belford. His enthusiasm for music radiates through his students and a great evening was had by all.
The orchestra performed at Bamburgh for the Olympic Torch Ceremony and in our traditional End of Year concert at St. Mary’s Middle School. There are currently 54 children out of a total of 88 learning to play instruments at St. Mary’s. We are also grateful for the support of adults and past pupils who join our orchestra for rehearsals and concerts.
None of this would be possible without the excellent instrumental teaching offered by our team of visiting teachers which now include a guitar teacher. Adults are welcome to get in touch with Eric on 01668 213149 if they wish to take advantage of this facility.
Eric Gassner continues to administer the instrumental scheme with the huge amount of work that involves. He also continues to arrange music for and rehearse the orchestra as well as helping prepare students for ABRSM exams and act as their accompanist. Only one student sat his trumpet exam this term but he achieved a distinction at Grade 2.
We are always sorry to lose our Year 8 players as they move on to High School where, we feel sure, they will continue to enjoy music making. We look forward to meeting a new set of 9 year old beginners who will join the orchestra in September.
The Association donated £250 to the children at St. Mary’s to send them to the Sage in Gateshead to take part in “The Big Sing”.
The Village Voices gave us another most entertaining Jubilee Concert in July. As ever they sang a wide ranging programme which, this year, included a selection from Les Miserables. Two of their members read poems, one about Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II and a most amusing poem about elderly people’s awareness of saving the planet called “The Green Thing”.
The Association is delighted that both of the village schools promote music so well. The First School now offers violin, clarinet and recorder lessons and the children regularly perform in school assemblies.
Members of the Association were delighted to hear a short concert of the highest quality given by local musician Dr. Shiela McQuattie and two professional violinists at the Blue Bell on Saturday 28th July. They played a wide repertoire of classical music from Bach to Kreisler.
One of the soloists gave the first performance of one of Shiela’s compositions based on her walk in the Cheviots. Using an old Scottish folk tune she wove bird song and all sorts of other ethereal effects into the piece.
Shiela is an extremely accomplished musician who, from time to time, brings world class musicians to Belford. Last year we heard a similar recital given by another of Shiela’s friends, a “Wagnerian” baritone who again delighted us with a range of songs from folk music to opera.
The Association was very sad at the death of “Sid” who ran a series of informal guitar sessions in Belford. There is a place for all sorts of musical activity in our village and his efforts will be sorely missed by these casual strummers. It is hoped that they will be able to continue in his memory.
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