Synergy represented by

Heather Cairncross and Micaela Haslam

“Our first get-together with “Col & the Gang” in nearly 2 years was to be on Valentine’s Day – ah! The last time we all met was in April 2008 in Perth, where we performed Drumming in the wonderful concert hall there. That concert had followed a hugely successful Prom at the Royal Albert Hall in 2006 – so this was like meeting up with old friends. Colin’s team of percussionists is one of my favourite ensembles to work with. Every single member of the ensemble is hugely talented, and the list of awards and competitions they’ve won between them is eye-watering. No shortage of rhythm in this group!

Our rehearsal was really more about catching up, talking through the music then practising the cues, as there is no “director” as such in Drumming. A couple of days later we were straight in to the Queen Elizabeth Hall. The QEH is actually the perfect sized hall for this piece. It’s big enough to deal with the accumulative sound of all the “clangers and bangers”, but small enough for the audience to feel involved in the performance.

Tony Bedewi, Aidy Spillett, and Andrew Cottee inserting much-needed ear plugs for Section 3

We spent a very long afternoon sound-checking, which is absolutely crucial to the success of any performance of music by Steve Reich. There was a lot of hanging around, but no-one got impatient, thanks largely to Colin’s calm efficiency and good humour.

After much interest in the group following the RAH and Perth concerts, we were now officially “The Colin Currie Group with Synergy Vocals”, and we were all very excited that Steve Reich himself would be at this concert. I was particularly thrilled on the percussionists’ behalf because I was sure that Steve would be blown away by their virtuosity – and indeed he was.

Drumming Part 1 with Colin Currie, Sam Walton, Richard Benjafield and Joby Burgess

At the post-concert talk, Steve said he’d never heard a performance like it, and felt unworthy to share the stage with Colin Currie. I don’t think Colin would agree with that, but it was very nice of Steve to say it. He added that Drumming was now safely in the hands of a new generation – and at a new level of performance. With such an endorsement by the man himself, I think we can safely say that February 2010 won’t be the last time we perform Drumming together.”


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