Who would have thought that when we first started the Sandbach Concert Series in 2010, that it would be going from strength to strength and that we would be celebrating 50 concerts being put on in Sandbach.
What started off as an idea and involved hours of filling in lots of grant application forms whilst on breaks working with the RLPO, has developed into an amazing concert series which has the community at it's heart. With eight concerts each year, helping to organise the concerts has been a huge part of my life for the past six years.
At the start it involved friends and family all mucking in to help pull the first concert together, and very quickly volunteers from across the community came forward to help. We now have an incredible team of dedicated volunteers, without whom the concerts just wouldn't happen. I cannot stress enough how amazing it is to have so many incredible people involved in the organisation.
The set up of the concert involves a 30 minute 'spotlight concert' which involves young musicians from around the area, followed by a one hour concert by professional musicians. Incredibly we have had over 500 young musicians playing at our spotlight concerts, ranging from some who have only just started learning an instrument to those who are going on to music college. We are a welcoming and encouraging audience and all local young musicians are welcome to perform at our concerts. As you can imagine the spotlight concerts take a huge amount of organisation and rely on the support of the many dedicated music teachers in our area as well as being superbly co-ordinated and directed by music teacher and organist, Kevin Birch.
We have always had an art exhibition on display during our concerts and we now have an amazing relationship with the Sandbach Art Club where one of their artists will put on an exhibition at our concerts.
Community was always the central idea for the concerts which is why we have a 30 minute interval after the spotlight concert. Not only is it time to have a good look at the art exhibition and have a drink and catch up with friends, but we always have a local charity or good cause that we raise money for at each concert, and very often representatives will be at the concert. As well as the big household named charities, more often we support local grass roots organisations. We have raised an impressive amount for these good causes over the years with our raffles and it's always humbling to see how many good people there are, just getting on and regularly doing good things for others.
Thanks to my husband Andy Scott, and his great Artistic Director skills we have been spoilt with a fantastic range of musicians performing at the Sandbach Concert Series. From classical to jazz to folk, we have enjoyed a wide range of music brilliantly performed by amazing musicians.
From an initial idea about how to do a successful community concert series, it has grown enormously. We now have charity status, have partnerships with our local music hub, The Love Music Trust so that we can also help deliver 3 educational workshops to young musicians each year. We also recently set up the SCS 'Young Musician of the Year' competition which takes place during the Sandbach Transport Festival each year. We are very grateful for the financial support we get from many local organisations, businesses and generous individuals. I can't mention them all here, but they are listed on the SCS website.
Which brings me back to the next concert and the reason for this blog post!
As I was the first artist in the first concert (yes not only did I set up the hall I also played in it!!!), I will be returning and playing with my new trio for the 50th celebration concert on September 28th. Details here about the concert, where with Conrad Marshall on flute and Raymond Lester on viola, we'll be playing trios by Bax, Richard Rodney-Bennett and Debussy
This time I'll be able to leave the set up of the hall for someone else to do for the September concert, but I'll be back to my usual role of chair shifting and hall setting up for the October concert when we have the Martinu Trio from Czechoslovakia performing.
Thanks to all the musicians who have performed in Sandbach, all the artists who have presented their art work, all the volunteers who help to make it all happen, to all those individuals, organisations and businesses who support the Sandbach Concert Series and to our amazing audience.