To all those successful graduates at Norwich University College of the Arts. A week ago today Eastern Straynotes were playing for the champagne receptions in Blackfriars Hall. So many graduates require a morning and an afternoon ceremony in neighbouring St Andrew's Hall and on each occasion we provided the music afterwards.
It's a lovely gig, and a repeat booking which is affirming for us - we must be doing something right. Everyone is very happy, proud relatives and relieved students. We play acoustically, as required by the 'brief'. When the hall is empty, or an audience quietly attentive, this is a joy as the room is both warm and bright. Full of exuberant folk celebrating success, Blackfriars presents more of a challenge: vocals and clarinet in particular appear to vanish into space. The trick is not to shout or overblow but to listen more carefully as even if one can't hear oneself, the audience, at least within a certain radius, can hear perfectly well.