Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Cooden Chamber Orchestra Serenades Battle Muffins Club At Frewen College Northiam

What a wonderful evening we enjoyed at Frewen College in Northiam on Saturday 13th August! We played our first 45 minute set outdoors facing the splendid gardens (anyone for croquet?) on the paving in front of the drawing room - Battle Muffins Club guests lingered by the garden door to listen. We played some of this summer's really popular numbers including Musket Fife & Drum, My Life, and Rutland Rag. It was so serene playing amongst magnolias and beneath the intricately patterned Tudor style chimneys!

Then it was time to move indoors for a most excellent four course dinner by the Frewen College catering team. We were bowled over by the scrumptious dishes and wowed by the cheese board! Definitely our best gig this year :)

After this elegant fayre we moved our music indoors to the sumptious Drawing Room and became Cooden Chamber Orchestra! For this second set we played our finest after dinner numbers to encourage conversation - many numbers from the 1940's. Our most popular number of this set was The Way You Look Tonight - I felt the music reached new heights!

Conductor Louise Woodcock performed three jazz pieces on tenor sax - I'm Getting Sentimental Over You, Summertime, and Mellow Mouthful. We ended the evening's performance with an excerpt from Mozart's Clarinet Concerto, The Beatles' Yesterday, and toe tapper Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue. Money was raised for Help The Heroes and the scholarship fund for Frewen College, Northiam.

The magnificent Drawing Room at Frewen College, Northiam, has a glorious full chandelier, wall panelling, many austere family portraits, a family Sedan chair, and the most fabulous plaster work ceiling full of surprises from birds to gargoyles! A delightful setting for Cooden Chamber Orchestra! Here you can see baritone saxophonist Frank Weeks beside the sedan chair. Of course we always dress smartly!

Frewen College, Northiam, is a day and boarding school for children aged 8-16 with specific learning difficulties dyslexia, dyspraxia and dyscalculia offering a 1 to 6 teacher pupil ratio and fine facilities for outdoor pursuits: there is a big swimming pool in the beautiful gardens and there is a further 100 acres of parkland. The school is a charity run by an independent educational trust.

Battle Muffins Club, along with Hastings Muffin Club which dates from 1954, is a group of benevolent local businessmen who meet for dinner (with a guest speaker) once a month to raise financial aid for local charitable causes which do not benefit from national funding.

Book Cooden Chamber Orchestra for YOUR next dinner event - we can provide a beautiful range of easy listening and background music from 1920's toe tappers to 1940's lush ballads, from light classics to popular songs. We aim to work with you to perform the most suitable music selection to top off your entertainment. Please contact Paul Higgins for more information.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Cooden Wacky Band Play Brede Firemens Fete 2011

What a glorious day - full sun and the lightest of breezes saw Cooden Wacky Band setting up under the huge oak on Brede playing field opposite the little primary school just near Brede cross roads. A fun event for all the family, enlivened by firemens displays of chip pan fires and fairground amusements.

Cooden Wacky Band start with 20's toe tappers Hello Dolly and Five Foot Two followed by the ever popular Muppet Show Theme which you can watch on video in our previous post!

We played a jaunty eight numbers, then Summer Holiday: Hastings Coastal Twirlers were keen to get started so we finished with the snappy Rutland Rag before taking a well earned break! Louise, conductor, won a coconut at the shy: second ball - difficult to say whether the fireman or Louise was the more surprised! The highlight of the fete was Hastings Coastal Twirlers introducing a novel act involving Louise, Sarah and Clare in a short twirling contest - never volunteer!

Amidst much enthusiastic applause Sarah emerged the clear winner for twirling!

I don't think Clare was really in with a chance, do you?

We opened our second set with Main Title Theme and a second James Bond Theme followed by Birdland and two Beatles tunes which went down a treat with the enthusiastic audience! After watching a fiery display of chip pan fires from Brede's firemen we enjoyed a rare solo from alto saxophonist Paul Higgins in Gershwin's lovely Someone To Watch Over Me.

John Coote took over on alto in Blues For Mr B with a great solo - you should hear the trumpets and clarinets too! Catch us later this season as we confirm our near future Bexhill bookings. We ended with our latest calypso piece Jamaican Rock and then Cooden Wacky Band stood for the grand finale: The Stripper! Excellent music in a tranquil yet jolly setting :)

Many thanks to our photographers Graham Stephens and Mrs Coote and to the organisers of Brede Firemens Fete 2011!