CENTRE OPENING TIMES

We are delighted to be able to partially reopen Colwell Arts Centre from the 26th April 2021 on a strict appointment-only basis. To collect, return or exchange an instrument, please contact us at glosmusic@gloucestershire.gov.uk to make an appointment.

 

Whilst we are unable to provide you with our normal music lessons, music centres, county music groups and events due to Government restrictions we are putting our efforts into providing you with some educational, fun, inspiring links to enable you to keep your music making going! Click here for more information.

 

NEW ONLINE ENSEMBLE SESSIONS

Please note that all face-to-face rehearsals and concerts have been cancelled until further notice, keeping in line with the Government’s direction on COVID-19. However, we are delighted to announce the launch of our online ensemble sessions, open to anyone in Gloucestershire. Please click here for more details.

Read our latest, and past, blogs

Regular stories from GM staff and students, as well as guest bloggers.  Read more here

THE LIFE OF A GIGGING MUSICIAN

BY RICHARD FITTON-PERKINS

Thankfully, most of the jobs I get hired to play for are on Saturday evenings, so that fits in quite well with my other Saturday activities. Getting up early on a Saturday morning, I usually load up the car before going to work at one of our local Music Centres for the morning, where I conduct the Jazz Band, Full Orchestra & String Orchestra. My main car has to be very long in order to accommodate all of the equipment and instruments I have to carry.

The amplification for my Electric Basses is pretty heavy to move around, but thankfully has a built in trolley and wheels to help out a bit. I also need a microphone stand, instrument stands, a box of leads & microphones and usually, two Electric Basses in hard cases.

My suit carrier is the final item I need for professional playing jobs, usually carrying a black suit, a couple of black shirts and some black shoes.

I also have to make sure I choose the right instruments for the job – I can often be playing for 1950’s and 60’s shows, so I have to be careful to choose the correct vintage period instruments for these particular jobs.

Turning up to a 50’s show with a modern, headless, carbon graphite bass wouldn’t look quite right.

After finishing my three hours’ work at Music Centre on the Saturday morning, I will often leave straight away and get on the road, depending on where in the country I have been booked to play. I like to set off early, as I don’t like to rush, always sticking to the speed limits and saving fuel. Travelling is much nicer if it’s done in a relaxed manner.

I usually get to the venue about an hour before I’m due, so I have time for a cup of coffee and then a leisurely unload & setup before the teatime sound check. This is where the sound engineers plug in and test all the equipment, and we test whether everything is balanced.

There is usually then a couple of hours’ tea break before getting changed and going on stage to perform.

Last year, I did six months’ touring with “The McCoys” and these jobs were all over the country, at times three to four times a week. Nowadays I play for show called, “The Everleys & Friends.” This comprises of an Everley Brothers tribute, a Buddy Holly Tribute and a Gerry Lee Lewis tribute, complete with a white electric grand piano.

This show gets booked all over the country, mainly by Warners Hotels, so I can be travelling to the Isle of Wight, North Wales, Suffolk, etc.

We will usually perform for two 45 minute “spots” with a small break in the middle. By the time we finish and pack down all of the equipment, it is usually around 1 o’clock in the morning and time to head for home. As you can imagine, getting home between 3 & 4am on a Sunday morning is quite hard, but at least I get to sleep in on a Sunday.I still often get booked for small jazz jobs where I get to play my Double Bass. Here it is complete with Reindeer Antlers back in 2016 at Christmas time.

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