Day 2 of rehearsals for our concert at Saint John’s Smith Square and I am opening up the church at St Mary at Hill in the City. Unlocking the outside gate, I walk through the little churchyard and open the main door into the church and for a few moments I am the only person here and I enjoy the space, tranquillity and sense of history that this beautiful and graceful Wren church offers. I make sure the kettle is on, tea and coffee are ready and the plate of biscuits is waiting for the musicians to arrive.
Gradually the door starts opening and in come our 80 musicians all looking a little sleepy but ready for the day ahead. Cases are unlocked, music stands put in place and chairs arranged so that by 10.00 am we are ready to start rehearsing. The overwhelming sense of excitement and joy when the musicians start playing is intense – it is very emotional when this amazing group of young musicians perform.
This morning we concentrate on Berlioz with plenty of pauses for refinement, interpretation, explanation and styling. The wall of sound draws people in from the street – it is magnificent!
A break for lunch and then into Gershwin and McNeff – hugely contrasting pieces which will hopefully give our final programme a variation of experience, challenge and quality.
Can’t wait for Tuesday!