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Zooming ahead with a new approach

We love to be an orchestra, but you know, it just doesn’t work on zoom. We’ve been doing various recording projects that are GREAT and have stretched us in so many different ways, but we are not aiming to be the next on stage at the Royal Albert Hall, and to keep the balance of fun and work in check we’re taking a new approach.

Yes, we are still recording the Simon & Garfunkel medley arranged by our very own Mark (trombone), and we are still meeting regularly (on zoom) but we are not meeting to rehearse…

We’re chatting! and checking up on one another πŸ™‚ Life has gotten slightly weird, and it’s time to put the fun back into it, in new at-a-distance and online ways.

We are meeting every Wednesday on Zoom at the normal time of 7:00 pm and we chat! This week we decided to add a musical task! We are going to have a ‘Composer of the Week’ and people are invited to find out something about the composer, the music, the private life, the harmony… whatever takes your fancy and then share with the group in the next session. YAY! A PROJECT!!!!

If you’d like to ‘claim’ a topic please leave a comment! Or if you have something you would particularly like to have researched, leave that as a comment too!

Wednesday 13 May we’ll be talking about Vaughan Williams (as well as cats, baking, gardens, and anything else that comes to mind) If you would like to join us, you can message Laura via this website and you’ll be very welcomed!


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Ku’u Pua I Paokalani

Here is our virtual piece! (for the intro to the project, please see my earlier post HERE)

I love that it was written by Queen Liliuokalani (from Hawaii) and as an orchestra we are very grateful to Duane Padilla for making the string quartet arrangement, and for letting me arrange the parts for you!

Here is the LINK TO THE PARTS on dropbox.

I know everyone has different access to online facilities at home. You can record via a phone, and I am very happy to have either video or audio. I would LOVE to have everyone be a part of this, and you DO NOT need to feel pressured to play everything perfectly. πŸ™‚ If you can set up a metronome to flash at 90 that will help us all to stay together.

If you do not want to be ‘seen’ in the recording, you can send an audio, but could everyone send a picture of themselves or of your instrument?

My plan is to print and put up all the pictures and to conduct you! πŸ™‚ Then I can video me, and ‘drop’ in various images or videos of you playing to create a dynamic performance. …that’s the idea anyhow! I’ll mix all the sound together.

If you have a phone, you shouldn’t need a fancy microphone. Most modern phones/tablets actually have pretty good mics!

Below is the video from Duane for Dorothy about how to do the percussion. I can’t wait to make this happen!

Please can you send me your contributions by FRIDAY 27 March.

(nothing like some homework!?) πŸ˜€

Laura x

and here’s a picture of an Ipu (traditional gourd)

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Play On! The song continues

Oh Lovely Orchestra!


Of course this is a very serious time and my last formal communication was to end all face-to-face meetings until this health crisis is over. As you know, and can each attest to, we love our music and I am very strongly of the #YesICan attitude. This does NOT mean ignoring rules or being reckless, but instead it means thinking wider.

I was touched by some of the informal chat messages suggesting how you would like to learn something at a distance. Your messages came just after a dear friend of mine posted this gorgeous piece:


View this post on Instagram


A beautiful song by Queen Liliuokalani β€œKu’u Pua I Paokalani”

A post shared by Duane Padilla (@duanepictures) on

I wrote to him and asked if we could play it. He not only sent me the parts and score, but has made instructional videos about the traditional percussion (for Dorothy our percussionist!)

Also it is SO FITTING that we play this as he said:

Interesting history of the song. The song was written when the queen was imprisoned under house arrest for 8 months after the fall of the monarchy at the turn of the century. They tried to isolate her but she was allowed to receive flowers from her garden picked by an 11 year old boy, who secretly wrapped them in newspapers so she could at least hear about what was going on in Hawaii. The lyrics talk about the beautiful flowers

Regarding percussion, I think something inspired by the percussion used in traditional chanting and dance would be appropriate and sound good. There are a few basic Rhythm patterns that are traditionally played on β€œipu” which are gourds played like drums that are easy, I’ll make a video and send. Would be nice in the middle from mm 18-40. The middle section has a bit of the hula dance feel. The beginning and end are in the style of part singing.

Our plan is to learn it, record it, and I will present it at the #OER20 conference on April 1-2- where we were already invited to present, but with the turn of events, the conference has moved online and this is just so cool- we will ALL have a voice.

So instructions…

  1. Listen to Duane’s playing
  2. Download your part (I have to type them out for the instruments first – so give me a day please!)
  3. Learn your part with Duane’s recording, for timing
  4. Record yourself (we will all need to be exactly together – I’ll send instructions!)
  5. Send it to me!
  6. Send me a PHOTO of you playing your instrument (or just of the instrument if you would not like to be ‘seen’)

Everyone has the option of recording either audio (can use the voice recorder on your phone) or video (can use video on phone) My current plan is to tile people’s contributions together (mixing the sound nicely!) and either compile the video, or make a collage of your pictures and conduct the audio with you all in front of me πŸ™‚

It will be grand!

Parts to follow!