It was way back in June that Edinburgh Concert Band gave the world premiere performance of “Step Up”, a piece composed by Gaynor Barradell as part of Making Music’s Adopt a Composer scheme. A couple of days after that performance, BBC3 radio 3 came to record the piece at one of our rehearsals.
Fast forward to December and the band were super-excited to hear that the piece would be broadcast on BBC radio 3 on Friday 11th January at 8:45pm. After much anticipation, the evening finally arrived. ECB’s “slot” was to follow a performance by the BBC concert singers. Whilst their performance was wonderful, I, along with many other ECB members, couldn’t wait to hear our piece. We were made to wait a little longer though- at 20:55, we were finally on!
The broadcast started with interviews with Gaynor and Sarah, our musical director, as well as a couple of members of the band. It conveyed perfectly how the piece had evolved over many months, the meaning behind it and how much fun we had had as a band in seeing it come together. After the interviews, it was time to hear “Step Up”. It’s quite a surreal experience hearing your performance on national radio, especially as an amateur musician. The recording sounded very professional and it was a joy to listen to from start to finish, bringing back all the happy memories from across the Adopt a Composer journey. It certainly felt like a once in a lifetime opportunity and it is a memory I will cherish. But don’t just take my word for it- here are a few comments from the rest of the band:
“Tears of joy and pride…we sounded AMAZING!! And the interviews absolutely wonderful. What a fantastic ride and to culminate in this broadcast…absolute gold icing on an awesome gold musical cake”
“So impressed…big smile on my face all the way through. Great to hear all those super tunes and some bits I never quite heard properly before. Wonderful piece, Gaynor!”
“Feeling very emotional in a good way…blown away by the broadcast…we sounded amazing and the interviews were so evocative and spot on…what a special time we have all had and now we have this special broadcast as a memento”.
“I was tentative to begin with, but as it went on I increasing really enjoyed listening to it… to hear the real overall effect… many thanks to both the conductor and composer for all of their combined hard work. It paid off in the end!”
“What a very professional recording and presentation. And to come across so well as a band is a thing we should all be proud of. It did help to have such a good piece of music, Gaynor and conductor with a never ending set of phrases in the rhythm of the music”
“It was a real joy to hear the culmination of so much fun and hard work… it was fascinating to hear all the strands come together in a polished performance. A real celebration of achievement and community music making.”
Collectively, looking at the band’s reaction to the performance, one word kept appearing: PROUD. We were proud to be part of an experience culminating in a BBC radio 3 performance. We were proud that Edinburgh Concert Band sounded so good and in what we had achieved with the recording. We were proud of Sarah for guiding us so brilliantly throughout the process. And most importantly, we were proud of Gaynor, for composing such a wonderful piece and giving us the opportunity to perform it.
Catch the broadcast on BBC iPlayer (available for 30 days): https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0001yj5
1st Bb clarinet