Synergy represented by:

Katy Hill, Amanda Morrison, Micaela Haslam, Julia Batchelor

L-R: Julia, Mandy and Katy in our new sparkly tops

“We had 2 days of Music for 18 rehearsals in London before going to Glasgow. Back to eighteen musicians for this concert, as opposed to the nineteen (including Steve Reich) that we had in October 2009, it was important to make sure that everyone knew exactly what they were doing, especially the three players who were completely new to the piece.

There are various options in terms of who plays what in Music for 18 Musicians, and a fair bit of swapping around to be done, so we spent some time sorting all that out. All was going well but, unfortunately, our new violinist Laurent was feeling increasingly unwell. On the 2nd day of rehearsals his doctor sent him off to A&E, so we spent a morning not knowing whether he’d even make the concert, and it was really too late to find someone else. Thankfully, he battled through and I’m very grateful that he did, because he is a very fine addition to the team.

Tim Lines – the undisputed "Music for 18" cue-giving champion

On a personal level, I was particularly excited to be doing Music for 18 in Glasgow because my sister and family live there, and it meant that my two nephews, Donald and Stuart, could come and hear the piece for the first time. I met the whole family for lunch, then the boys came with me to the rehearsal, and it was lovely to have them there.

City Halls was not the easiest place for Music for 18 as it’s so resonant, and there are no acoustic panels over the stage to push the sound forwards. The middle frequencies (of the marimbas in particular) swam around the hall, building up on stage as the monitor sound was re-amplified by all the microphones. Ian Dearden, our sound engineer, had quite a job trying to balance the instruments and voices. In the end, he more or less turned off the marimbas in the front of house speakers, as they were in danger of overpowering everything else.

Katy and Mandy revving up for the show

The very lovely Sam Walton – percussionist extraordinaire!

Always I find that the success of the ensemble in Music for 18 is down to how well the players can hear what they need to hear. In the end, I think we all did a really good job, though with hindsight perhaps I should have encouraged all the mallets and pianos to play more quietly. To be honest, the piece really needs a bigger hall (or drier acoustics), but I’m glad we went to Glasgow, especially as Donald was able to return that evening for the concert, with his friends (it’s very important to keep up one’s “Cool Aunty” status in this day and age!) and we had a wonderfully appreciative audience. Steve Reich was definitely a hit in Glasgow and I hope they’ll have us back soon.”


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