Orchestra rehearsal: awesome band and a touch of greatness

In this week’s orchestra rehearsal for the Queensland Music Festival “Under This Sky” event we were joined by music heavyweights.

Some real cool dudes were set up behind us. They were the house band – a Samoan funk band called Bass 6. Their keyboard player ran off those jazzy 11ths and 13ths, on a really bright-sounding, digital piano. They were warming up, it sounded great and I was now distracted. I didn’t want to play, I wanted to watch them. The keyboard player was Sam Tuuga, who arranged several of our songs.

Topping that, music royalty was in the house. QMF Artistic Director James Morrison was sitting with producer Tara Hobbs, along with Choral Director Cath Mundy and Creative Director Sean Mee.

No pressure then.

We collected our new music and Conductor Shaun Dorney waved his baton and cued us in.

Well, he cued some of us in. The MELODICA section had to wait 49 bars.

49 frigging bars.

As they say here, far out.

I counted diligently, while a battle raged in my mind. It went like this:

Me, the blogger: Hey, hey, hey… James Morrison is standing up right in front of us, with his trumpet! Where’s my phone? Must get a photo.

Me, the musician: Forget it. Just concentrate. We are on BAR NINE (2-3-4), TEN (2-3-4), ELEVEN…

Blogger: But he’s playing NOW!

Musician: Yep. I’m hearing James Morrison playing live, and it’s sunshine piercing the clouds. He lifts his horn and fills the air with the sweetest, prettiest, happiest notes. Magical, musical stardust is raining on us. I’m in the moment, my mind is blank but for the music.

Bugger.

What bar is this?

Blogger: Ah well. We’ve stuffed that up. Get a photo then.

QMF Artistic Director James Morrison and Conductor Shaun Dorney
QMF Artistic Director James Morrison and Conductor Shaun Dorney

Elsewhere, Nathan, a clarinetist, asked politely what I called “that instrument”.

This happens a lot. At the Sunnybank Theatre Group, someone in the cast said, “Oh it’s a mouth-piano!” I thought that was a pretty good name.

Back to Nathan, we chatted a bit and he said he recently took his AMEB Grade 5 exam, and just got the result – Honours! Well done, guy.

Nathan the clarinetist
Nathan the clarinetist

Finally James, a flautist, asked if I wanted any videos of the orchestra for the blog. Are people nice or what? It must be the music that does it. More about the flautists soon.

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