A World Premiere (with strings attached), and a return trip to Buxton

2017 has been a relatively busy year for the SSO.  We often only play one concert a year, but this year there have been two performances already.  We’ve also had a change of personnel, with Dorothea moving on to pastures new, and being replaced on baritone saxophone by Pauline, as well as a change of rehearsal venue.

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Last Wednesday was the date for our now-traditional annual trip to the Buxton Festival Fringe.  The traffic on the A6 out from Stockport was slower than ever, but the venue, the volunteer organisers and most importantly the audience more than made up for any frustrations in getting there.  (We got another nice review, too.)  Here’s our programme for the evening:-

  • The Lone Arranger Goes Sax Mad ~ arr. Phillip Nuttall / Nigel Wood
  • Clouds ~ Mike Dale
  • Singin’ in the Rain ~ Brown / Freed, arr. Don Ashton
  • Sheep May Safely Graze ~ J.S. Bach, arr. Alun Cook
  • Flower Duet ~ Delibes, arr. Nigel Wood
  • Black Coffee ~ Webster / Burke, arr. Mike Dale
  • Chatterbox ~ Pauline Gordon
  • Tomcat ~ Chattaway, arr. Don Ashton
  • Swingmatism ~ McShann, arr. Mike Dale
  • Cushion Foot Stomp ~ Williams, arr. David Webber
  • Marigold ~ Mayerl, arr. Gordon Robson
  • The Zonk Zone ~ John Halton
  • Forgotten Dreams ~ Anderson, arr. Helen Southall
  • Crucifixus ~ Lotti, arr. Chris Jolly
  • The Pearls ~ Morton, arr. David Webber
  • Sidewalk Blues ~ Morton, arr. David Webber
  • Masquerade ~ Khachaturian arr. Gordon Robson

There were a couple of premieres in our Buxton programme: this was a first public performance for both Clouds and our arrangement of Forgotten Dreams.  We gave a more unusual first performance in May though, at Helen’s 50th birthday party.  Two SSO members (Helen and David) are both also members of the Infernal Twangers ukulele group, and Helen decided that a joint performance by both groups was an essential part of her birthday celebrations.  David duly obliged with an arrangement of ‘It’s Tight Like That’ which is probably unique in its instrumentation (at least since the the song was written in the 1920s), and was definitely a lot of fun.  Now for a few weeks off, before we start planning our next campaign!

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An Evening with the SSO – Buxton 2015

Sovereign Saxophone Octet

The Sovereign Saxophone Octet at the Buxton Festival Fringe, July 2015 (l-r: Helen Southall, Gordon Robson, David Webber, Karoline Brennan, John Bowyer, Mike Dale, Stephen Hutchinson, Dorothea Livesey)

Well this is becoming a very enjoyable habit – it’s July, so it must be Buxton!

This was the octet’s fourth visit to the Buxton Festival Fringe, so we made sure to add some new tunes to our repertoire for the event.  This did lead to some anxiety at pre-concert rehearsals: would we ever manage to fit all of those notes in (and more to the point, put them in the right places)?  Would we manage to play this piece fast enough – or that one slow enough? But, as ever, it all came together on the night, and a splendid time was had by all.  (There’s a review by the Festival’s roving reviewer Keith Savage here.)

The programme for the evening was:-

  • Tiger Rag (ODJB, arr. Webber)
  • The Chant (Stitzel, arr. Dale)
  • Black Coffee (Webster & Burke, arr. Dale)
  • Tomcat (Chattaway, arr. Ashton)
  • Chatterbox (Gordon)
  • The Zonk Zone (Halton)
  • Dream and Reality (Ashton)
  • Canzona – La Padovana (de Viadana)
  • Concerto for Two Saxophones* – 1st Movement (Vivaldi, arr. Walton)
  • Flower Duet from Lakmé (Delibes, arr. Wood)
  • Chug (Gordon)
  • Mrs. Malcolm, Her Reel (Funky Freuchie) (Ingham)
  • The Sheik of Araby (Snyder, arr. Webber)
  • Caravan (Tizol, arr. Halton)

We finished with a repeat performance of Tiger Rag, this time with community singing of ‘Hold that tiger!’, with the audience ably rehearsed by Dave Webber.

Thanks are due once again to the volunteers who organise the Buxton Fringe events so efficiently, to the members of Buxton Methodist Church for the use of this excellent venue (and help with everything from the microphone to the tea facilities), and to the octet members’ friends and partners who helped out with tickets and refreshments.

*Vivaldi was a very forward-thinking composer, but saxophones were hard to come by in the early 1700s, so this was originally known as the Concerto for Two Trumpets.  (It didn’t do to let on about owning a time machine in those days.)

Back to Buxton We Go!

Festival Photo

Buxton Bunting & Balloons [Photo by Ian J. Parkes]

Well I know it’s been a busy old year, but honestly, where does the time go……?  I hadn’t even got around to putting the programme for our concert at last year’s Buxton Fringe* up here, and already it’s time to tell everyone about the next one.

The Sovereign Saxophone Octet will be returning to our regular spot in the Buxton Methodist Church at 8 p.m. on Sunday 19th July, 2015.  Full address and ticket information is available via the Buxton Fringe 2015 website.  (Scroll down to July 19th to find us.)  We’ll be introducing lots of new tunes and arrangements this year, as well as a few old favourites, so put the date in your diary now.  We look forward to seeing lots of you there!

 


 

 

*The programme for the SSO concert at Buxton last year was:-

  • Engine No. 9 (Don Ashton)
  • St. Pauls Suite (Holst, arr. Halton)
  • The Lone Arranger Goes Sax Mad (arr. Buttall)
  • La Vie en Rose (Louiguy, arr. Dale)
  • Sidewalk Blues (Morton, arr. Webber)
  • The Chant (Stitzel, arr. Dale)
  • Waltz from Masquerade (Khachaturian, arr. Robson)
  • Canzon Primi Toni & Canzon Septimi Toni (Gabrieli, arr. Frankton)
  • Crucifixus (Lotti, arr. Jolly)
  • Puttin’ on the Ritz (Berlin, arr. Thorne)
  • Singing in the Rain (Freed, arr. Ashton)
  • I Got Plenty (Gershwin, arr. Ashton)
  • Take Five (Desmond)
  • Chug (Gordon)

The Hills are Alive…

with the sound of Camels….?

One of our camels on its way home from choir practice

Our Buxton Festival Fringe concert is approaching fast, and the programme is starting to take shape.  Currently that shape is at least twice as long as it needs to be, so we spent much of the last rehearsal running through some of the possibilities and awarding marks out of 10.  There’s still a bit of sifting and sorting to be done, but a few things are already more or less certain to be on the programme on July 19th.  Our in-house arrangers have been busy again, so there are likely to be at least a couple of new arrangements from them.  We have some new classical (if not Classical) arrangements, including music by Debussy and Delibes. And of course the camels in ‘The Sheik of Araby‘ proved very popular last year, so they’ll be back again, this year joined by a new arrangement of songs from ‘The Sound of Music’ by renowned saxophone arranger, teacher, repairman and all-round single-reed expert Don Ashton.  As usual it will be an eclectic mix!

Tickets (£7/£5) will be available on the door, or on the Buxton Opera House ticket site.  (They can’t spell saxophone, but we’ll let them off for letting us use their box office!)