"The Fun Orchestra" Blog

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Percussion Project Master Class

Ahead of our Sleigh Ride concert in November, the Percussion Project took on some master classes in preparation for some rather challenging pieces for our recently formed percussion section!


NDCO percussion section Richard Scarff 1
The NDCO percussion section with Richard Scarff

We already hold very regular sectional rehearsals for Strings and Wind players so we were delighted that Richard Scarff could come along for an afternoon of tuition at our original venue - 'Endeavour', Godstone Scout HQ. (With grateful thanks to 1st Godstone Scouts.)


One of our pieces for our 'Sleigh Ride' concert begins with a snare drum roll and then 3 snares playing exciting rhythms in unison throughout the piece. There's a lot to learn about playing a snare drum - but significantly less after this very effective session! Snare drums are so versatile that other effects can be achieved - such as those you may need to mimic horses being driven to pull a Sleigh!


But it wasn't all about playing snare drums as you can see from all the other instruments gathered together. Richard even brought a proper xylophone to introduce to our glockenspiel player earlier in the afternoon. Our fanfare piece, 'From the Realms' requires timpani and suspended cymbal rolls - wow, what an amazing sound!


NDCO percussion section Richard Scarff - North Downs Community Orchestra
Working on snare and timpani technique!

If you come along to our next concert, you will be able to judge for yourself how well our percussion section is coming along.

We are so grateful to Richard; how did he manage to cover so much in so short a time? We know the answer, it was Richard's amazing skill and his special preparation for developing our unusual project. It's unusual because most amateur orchestras just hire in percussionists to play in their concerts. We really wanted to have members of the community playing in all sections of our Community Orchestra, so, with the help of our Hazelwood School Community Fund grant, we are 'growing' our own!


About Richard Scarff

Richard currently teaches Percussion, Drumkit and Piano at Bennett Memorial School Tunbridge Wells and Bronte School in Gravesend. He studied at Trinity College of Music London and following a career in the band of the Royal Army Medical Corps he now plays in a variety of musical ensembles ranging from Orchestras to Brass Bands. He plays regularly with the Aveley and Newham Brass Band and has also recently performed in concerts with the Brighouse and Rastrick and Grimethorpe brass bands. He is a keen organist and plays organ for the parish of Fawkham and Hartley.

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If you are looking to join a fun, welcoming group of musicians, get in touch. We would love to meet you at our next rehearsal!