I received a telephone call from the Clerk of the Worshipful Company of Basketmakers in February this year asking whether my Brass Group, Thames Fanfare Brass Ensemble, would be available to play for their 443rd Anniversary Dinner which was to be held on the 19th September 2012. Fortunately we were available he told me it was to be held at the Mansion House in London, the home of the Lord Mayor of London during his term of office. Everything was agreed in principle over the phone and all that was left to do was send a formal contract and the engagement would be sealed. Thames Fanfare Brass was formed in 1987 and I am still using some of the musicians that were with me back then, some have moved away from the London area but still travel to do engagements with me, which they sometimes combine with shopping trips or catching up with old friends. My Tuba player Matthew likes to book his ticket in advance as it’s cheaper and bearing in mind he travels from Cardiff for me who can blame him. My pianist travels from the Isle of Wight to carry out these engagements so he likes to make his travel plans early too. Sometimes he comes up a day in advance so we can get a game of golf in and have a nice meal. Bob who is also a very good Trumpet player played in the Royal Artillery Band with myself and after seven years of service left for a professional Trumpet position with the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra where he stayed for 13 years after which he moved to the BBC Concert Orchestra as principle trumpet.
Back to the Mansion House engagement there is a lot of preparing to do for these occasions the choice of music to be played throughout the evening has to be carefully put together to combine old and new and maybe even a few pieces relevant to the organization itself which can prove quite difficult with some of the old Livery Companies. The uniforms, music stands, music pads, lights, changing arrangements, parking and even arranging a meal for the group has to be carried out. I normally leave home at 4:30 when I arrive I then meet the Clerk or the Beadle to check all arrangements and find out the signal I will be given to let me know when to begin the fanfares for the arrival of the Lord Mayor and to top and tail all other procedures that will be needed throughout the evening. This particular even was a very grand affair men dressed in tails and ladies in their best gowns. The banquet was a great success and Grace – Loving Cup and the Toasts all went off without a hitch to end the evening we finished with the very popular Double Post Horn Gallop which went down a storm. By the time the dinner was over it was our turn to eat and the Clerk had arranged a lovely meal for us all and a couple of bottles of wine, we all chatted about the evening and how well it went which finished it off nicely. By the time I get home it is between 11:00 and midnight so these evenings are very long affairs but when all goes well it is worth every minute.
I am very lucky to have a very professional and loyal team of musicians behind me who have never let me or any of my clients down.