Running an ensemble takes up a lot of time. For people who haven’t had any experience of putting on a concert with an early music ensemble, it might seem difficult to believe that for every minute of performance it’s highly likely that about one hundred thousand (approximately) have been put into planning it. And when you’re a small, fledgling professional group with no dedicated (that’s not to say undedicated) administrative support, most of this comes down to one or two people, who have to do everything.
In case you’ve misssed it, our next performance is at the St John’s, Smith Square Christmas Festival (called “The No.1 British Christmas Festival” by BBC Music Magazine), on the 18th of December. In our case, I (David) have edited quite a lot of the music specifically for this concert and made up all the parts myself, which takes A LOT of time. However, they’re now all done and in the process of being made into booklets and sent out to singers and players. This is going to be the most ambitious project for us yet, with some 30 musicians coming together (including members of the fantastic English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble) for what is set to be one of the most rousing performances of under-performed composers like H. Praetorius, Schütz, Johann Rudolf Ahle (et al) in a long time. Although all of this might sound like a dirgeful moan, I don’t mind doing all the admin and legwork one jot before the concert, because as soon as I get to the first rehearsal and the incredible musicians I am privileged to call our members start making the music – which I’ve often spent hours alone with, staring at and editing in all sorts of places – come to life, it’s so totally worth it.
So, I’ve now ticked off about 24 of the 50 or so things on my checklist, which was made up in May of this year, and am ticking off more every day as we near the performance. It’s so exciting for all of us, as our first big entry onto the London scene ‘proper’, so it’d be great to see as many friendly faces at the concert to enjoy the music with us (and a mulled wine afterwards, of course)! Get your tickets at the SJSS Box Office online. For more information, see the SJSS website, or the official Facebook event page.