I was asked to play Last Post and Reveille at church this past Sunday as part of Remembrance Sunday. Here are some links:
- The Wiki post: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remembrance_Sunday.
- Or here: http://www.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/CUSTOMS/Remembrance.html
Remembrance Sunday is the Sunday closest to 11 November which is the day hostilities ended in WWI in 1918. The exact time was 11AM (11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month). Obviously I didn’t know anything about the music or the day, I was told by Cannon White (vicar, St. Stephen’s, Lindley) that the folks at Lindley Band could probably help with music.
Thankfully, Lindley MD Neil Jowett had a copy of both pieces but I had no idea how they were traditionally performed. One does not want to perform something EVERYONE has heard a thousand times without having a clue as to the tradition. So, I asked Neil for help.
Neil sung through both of the pieces and I took them home and practiced a bit. I forgot to take notes on Neil’s interpretation so I want back and again asked him to sing the pieces while I marked in all the tempi, dynamics, and articulations. I went home and practiced a bit more based on his instruction.
Last week I felt ready to play both calls for Neil as my final tune-up before Sunday. After the wednesday rehearsal Neil (having brought his cornet to help in the coaching) played the calls for me, and I played for him. After a couple of adjustments (not many, as he had already been helping for 2+ weeks) he seemed happy with the result.
On Sunday all went well and I heard one lady say to her husband “That was really good. Did you know he is an American?”
One person even noticed that the end of my Last Post coincided with the chiming of the 11:00 bells at the Lindley Clock Tower across the street. Everyone seemed pleased and at least one person was in tears. Of course I gave Neil full credit for the interpretation (the timing with the bells was pure divine intervention).
Anyway it was really nice to be a part of such an important day and it made me think about our own Memorial Day.
NOVEMBER: We have ordered our Thanksgiving Turkey! Carl (the butcher in the video) has us all sorted out. Of course we realized the girls will still have school Thursday and Friday that week. We also noticed that this is actully 2 out of the last 3 Thanksgivings we are out of the country. In 2007 we were in Beijing, China on Thanksgiving and I had 6 hours of teaching and 2 hours of rehearsing. We did get Peking Duck for our meal though :).