Young Ambassadors at the Big Highland Residency : Natalie Brayshaw

One of the Highlands' Young Ambassadors, Natalie Brayshaw, describes the final event of RSNO's Big Highland Residency, RSNO Collaborate on Sat 5 April 2014 at Eden Court, Inverness

On Saturday 5, Eden Court hosted RSNO Collaborate, an event which invited amateur instrumentalists and singers - young and old - of grade 4 standard and above to play alongside the orchestra in a concert following a day of intensive rehearsals. When I first heard about this opportunity, I couldn’t wait to sign up, and I’m so glad that I did. The day began when, at 10am, we all gathered in the Empire Theatre for a vocal warm up – instrumentalists and singers alike – which introduced us to the fun, informal nature of the day.
Then, we split into our instrumental groups for sectionals. The flute sectional (which I attended) was held by Andrea Kuypers, who some of us had seen playing both flute and piccolo in the orchestra the night before. We began by running through the pieces we would be playing: a variety of Scots Traditional songs including Johnnie Cope and Will Ye No Come Back Again, and Sing by Gary Barlow and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Some of the group also performed extracts from Vivaldi’s Gloria, in which woodwind are not required. This session, was very useful, and interesting in terms of flute technique. We then went into slightly larger groups, with woodwind all being led by principal bassoon, David Hubbard. After playing through and getting a general feel for the pieces, we had a break for lunch. During this, there was a performance by RSNO’s Baroque ensemble in the local hall which participants had the opportunity to attend.
After lunch, the whole orchestra and choir came together for a rehearsal. Sitting on the stage and playing alongside such a large group of both amateurs and RSNO musicians was fantastic, and it was great to have the opportunity to get advice from the professionals. When the woodwind were no longer required, some of us sat and watched rehearsals of Vivaldi’s Gloria, before the flutes met up with Andrea again, this time for a workshop based not on the pieces, but on flute technique. I already knew two other flautists from Highland Young Musician regional groups, and it was great to meet the others. We did a variety of exercises, mainly focussing on good breath control which affects a variety of other things such as tone.
Finally, it was time for the concert. A lot of the audience were friends and family members of performers, and the concert – like the rest of the day –was fairly informal. By the time it came to perform, it felt like we’d been rehearsing a lot more than the actual grand total of around 5 hours! The concert went very well, and it was wonderful for all of us to be able to say we had the opportunity to play/sing alongside the RSNO. The whole day was absolutely brilliant, and the perfect conclusion to the RSNO’s Highland Residency.
Natalie Brayshaw
Natalie is part of the RSNO's Young Ambassador scheme, arranged by the Learning and Engagement Department. All views expressed by Young Ambassadors belong to those of the individual and are not representative of the organisation. For more information, visit the RSNO website.
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