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Kettle Bridge Concertinas

Concertina group based in Maidstone, Kent, UK

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Maidstone Music Festival 2010  -  Sat 27th November 2010

Original photo: Alan Glover
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The performance room
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Kettle Bridge Concertinas decided to participate in Maidstone Music Festival as a way of raising their profile in the locality. This was due to be held over the weekend of 27th – 28th November 2010.

Our entry was in the Accordion, Concertina and harmonica section in the ensemble class to be adjudicated by Owan Murray, HonRAM. In 1986 he had established an accordion department at the Royal Academy of Music and was appointed professor, the first appointment of its kind in the UK. The conferment of an HonRAM in 1993 – the Academy’s highest honour – is testimony to Owan’s expertise. To play to and be adjudicated by such an eminent musician was certainly the biggest challenge that Kettle Bridge Concertinas had taken on. So there were a lot of nerves on the day! In addition this was Sandy’s first concertina outing since undergoing surgery in Pembury Hospital.

We chose to play two pieces of music: 1. Marg’s March – composed and arranged by Claire Wren 2. The Liberty Bell March – composed by John Philip Sousa and arranged by Paul Barrett

Both Paul and Claire had given written agreement for Kettle Bridge Concertinas to play their music in public and on this occasion. The music was written in 4 parts: treble 1, treble 2, baritone and bass.

Another ensemble also performed. They were Thurrock Accordion Band. Their choice of music was Kleine Suite im H moll by E. Naumann and Minuet from Berenice composed by Handel and arranged by Trevani. This band had entered the music festival for the last two years as the sole entrant. This year was the first year they had had any competition!

Kettle Bridge Concertinas’ band comprised of Trina, Tricia, Sally, Carol, Sandy, Fiona, Sue, Pat, John and Chris on this occasion. MF-D made her debut as our conductor on this occasion. Everyone agreed we would not have been able to play such complex music in parts without her direction and excellent time-keeping.

The adjudication comments given by Owan Murray were:

“What a wonderful sound! Good ensemble playing. Can be even better with more contact with the conductor. Can be more precise. Try to achieve more ‘shape’ in phrases. Think more about the architecture of the piece. More shape. Rhythmically secure and accurate. Work on phrasing/shape and precision of phrase beginnings and endings.”

We gained 83 marks and were awarded a Merit which is defined as: “A capable performance showing artistic appreciation and technical ability.” One more point would have taken us into the next highest category of Commended.

We also came 1st in the ensemble class! This means we were also awarded a medal! We then celebrated with a meal at The Chiltern Hundreds in Maidstone.