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My Day at Melodions and More


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I have just spent the day up at Mendlesham at Melodeons and More. I have a 20 key Anglo.

 

As a beginner and a first time visitor, I thought I would give my impressions of the day.

 

I arrived late due to major accident on my route across country so I was just in time to find out where I needed to be.

 

I was to attend the morning and afternoon sessions provided by Mary Humphreys and Anahata. These were based on an 1850's manuscript. I had spent the last four weeks learning the pieces and was confident that I could play them all and also play 3 of them from memory (remember I only started playing at Christmas although I have played other instruments in the past and can sight read music).

 

I waas thrilled to be in the company of these two accomplished musicians and was eager to get 'stuck in'.

 

It didn't turn put that way unfortunately. What I was to find was that although Mary and Anahata were patient and clear in their instruction - the second that we all began to play, my mind became a blank! It was as if I couldn't read music and didn't know where any key on my 20 key Anglo was. They slowed everything down and for a while I was able to get somewhere. In the meantime, the most amazing sound of 26 concertinas (sorry - 25) played wonderful music. I learned a lot from their instruction though so it was overall a great morning.

 

Lunchtime came and my chicken roll, bag of crisps and celery was just about enough - so maybe next year I will take my own lunch. Don't take this as a criticsm as they had a tight budget and I understood that. I braved a 1/2 pint of real ale - having been a lager man for more years than I care to remember. Then I went into the Céilidh. What an experience - 10 melodeons and Mary/Anahata playing concertinas - well what a sound! Then there was some dancing but the high point for me was the step dancing - especially the lady that danced to Davy Davy Knick Knack - she was tremendous.

 

I then decided that I had to do something about my poor morning performance so went back to the concertina venue before time to do some practice to prove that I could play the pieces to come in the afternoon. This worked well for my self esteem.

 

The session started and I didn't so too badly. However, once they got up to speed, my inexperience showed and I wasn't able to keep up with everything so I just did what I could (without the depression of the morning). However, the arthritis in my knuckles finally took over and proved that I can't do this for more than about one hour at a time. The final renditions of each tune were, however, amazing and I listened in wonder and hope for the future. It was interesting to have some melodeons in the group in the afternoon - they certainly add depth to the playing.

 

I didn't stay for the Workshop showcase - which was where every group got to play their best pieces - mainly because if I had sat in, I would have faked it and that I couldn't do - and I already knew how good the group was.

 

They asked for a survey form to be filled in - they got excellent in everything but when asked what did I learn, the only answer was - to practice more - smile.

 

I have come home determined in a few things. Practice everyday for at least one hour and then maybe I will get there and to try and improve my instrument as it just wasn't capable of moving as quickly as I wanted to keep up with the beat - a cheap EBay Stagi Gremlin which costs £75 shouldn't be exposed to such things - grin.

 

What is the saying? Next year in Medlesham!

 

David

Edited by Long Haired David
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It didn't turn put that way unfortunately. What I was to find was that although Mary and Anahata were patient and clear in their instruction - the second that we all began to play, my mind became a blank! It was as if I couldn't read music and didn't know where any key on my 20 key Anglo was.

 

I recognise the description from my first visit to Witney last year. As soon as I have to play with anyone else my brain turns to mush and my fingers to jelly. But similarly I found it focussed my thinking and I think gave me a boost.

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Spotted you in the afternoon class. I was sitting at the back.

It was so nice that this year I could actually 'keep up' didn't have that feeling of falling behind I usually do at workshops.

 

 

Took some photo's and videos from the day...if anyones interested.

 

pics

http://smg.photobuck...%20more%202011/

 

All videos are 'unlisted' which means you can only see them if you have the link.

 

Ceilidh at lunchtime

 

Stepdancing

 

Showcase

Mary & Anahata

 

Simon Care

 

Liam Robinson

 

French Tunes

 

Nicky Stockman

 

Paul Scourfield

Edited by LDT
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Realized I missed uploading this vid with the others...

 

I was the miserable old git sitting in the left hand corner :-(

 

What tune are they playing. It sounds like something I should be able to get my fingers around.

 

David

 

I think its called 'the valiant'.

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I think its called 'the valiant'.

 

Indeed it is The Valiant, composed by Simon Ritchie who was probably the person organising the dance.

 

Thank you. It was indeed Simon who was leading the playing. Somehow he seemed to be the one I wanted to watch. It all seemed so easy for him. I wish!!

 

Where would I find the dots?

 

David

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I think its called 'the valiant'.

 

Indeed it is The Valiant, composed by Simon Ritchie who was probably the person organising the dance.

 

Thank you. It was indeed Simon who was leading the playing. Somehow he seemed to be the one I wanted to watch. It all seemed so easy for him. I wish!!

 

 

Maybe its a melodeon you want to play then? :ph34r:

*ducks for cover*

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I think its called 'the valiant'.

 

Indeed it is The Valiant, composed by Simon Ritchie who was probably the person organising the dance.

 

Thank you. It was indeed Simon who was leading the playing. Somehow he seemed to be the one I wanted to watch. It all seemed so easy for him. I wish!!

 

 

Maybe its a melodeon you want to play then? :ph34r:

*ducks for cover*

Actually I am under pressure from my wife to do that. However, as I am struggling to improve on my el-cheapo concertina, the chance of me getting any sort of Melodeon is out of the question at the moment :-( - unless some kind soul in Suffolk has one I could borrow - smile.

David

Edited by Long Haired David
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  • 2 weeks later...

LDT

 

Pleased you took videos of the Melodeons and More Show Showcase at Mendesham!! Liam Robinson encouraged all 15 of us to play our own variations to the basic Hanovarian Waltz tune, and it sounded better than I could have hoped for!! You must have been standing near to me at the time (well in front) - touche!

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