For last few years Aylesbury Town Council put on a Concert in the Park, close by the Swimming Pool and Gym complex, and it proves to be a very successful event that provides funds for Charity and a great family day out. Rarely could it have had such good weather for the event, and this was also reflected in the numbers attending the Concert by the Aylesbury Concert Band on the Bank Holiday Sunday.
I arrived with my daughter’s baritone saxophone in time for the start of the rehearsal and families and individuals were already settling down for the afternoon of music. I dropped off the sax and my daughter and parked the car up the road before returning to get out my cameras. Very early on I spotted the Soprano, Alexandra Lowe warming up solo out at the back of the marquee, so I asked whether she minded my capturing those moments to which I got an affirmative so I took a few shots and looked forward to the ones for real later.
As the rehearsal got under way, I looked around at the gathering audience and spotted some characters I had seen at earlier concerts, and the Council’s official photographer whom I remember, Russ Naylor came over to greet me and we chatted – he had been covering the whole holiday’s events, not just the concert. The Band ran through their programme and Alexandra joined James Liu on the stage for their pieces, and although I got shots of both performing at this point, I would be able to kid no one these shots were part of the concert, especially since Alexandra would be swapping spectacles for contact lenses and a very striking red dress for the main event. I also spotted a trumpet player around the back, also practising solo.
Carl Quaif opened the main event, introducing the Conductor Robert Wicks and part of the theme was a salute to our Rio Athletes and although clouds began to amass at this time, we were spared. During the rehearsal and the first part of the concert the audience kept swelling in numbers and I took the occasional shots to illustrate the progression as well as incidentals. There was only one incident that marred the proceedings as one recalcitrant male was escorted away.
I did my best to get shots of the musicians as they played, but without a cherry-picker to gain height the shots tend to look cluttered by the music stands, the banners and the individual mikes for the different sections, and also I do not like to disturb the concentration of the performers by being too close.
As the Finale approached and the daylight dwindled, I would keep increasing the ISO speed, though sometimes only after spotting that the sharpness of the shots was deteriorating! It is also hard to get steady shots when one’s feet are tapping to the rhythm of the music which I also came to hear and in some instances sing along to, when the the music was loud enough to provide cover. It was good to end with the solo singers looking upward to the fireworks and being lit from the front of the stage.