And so, at the end of a second year as a member of BSO Resound, a pause for reflection…This year, BSO Resound has notched up a Devon residency, a Cornwall residency, rural concerts, relaxed concerts and the first term of an exciting residency at Treloar School. Oh, and just in case the excitement of performing at the BBC Proms last year was fading, we had the unbelievable privilege of being nominated for two categories in this year’s Royal Philharmonic Society awards!

Attending the ceremony this week really did feel like my own personal version of Cinderella going to the Ball. Yes, I did have a pair of gold shoes and my mother (the Fairy-Godmother) did make me a new silk blouse, which appeared, as if by magic, from her store of dress materials! “Cinderella, you shall go to the Ball!” Yes, my own humble “Handsome Prince”, who supports me with all the practicalities involved with the BSO Resound adventure, came dressed in velvet jacket, hastily bought the day before to replace the one lost by the cleaners! And yes, after a truly memorable evening, Thames Link replaced the 12.46 am train with a pumpkin, the coachman and footman having disappeared to be replaced by six white mice etc etc… Bed by 4 AM! But what an amazing evening! An unparalleled opportunity to meet and talk to musicians doing so much fantastic work with incredible orchestras, ensembles and music festivals. We were made to feel so welcome.

Members of BSO Resound collect the award (c) RPS

Members of BSO Resound and staff collect RPS Award

Just to decorate an already iced cake, the BSO won the RPS Impact Award! The initial splash of this boulder thrown into the river is huge for all of us – certainly for me personally. In the short-term, it’s a massive reward for the hours spent rehearsing and travelling (often through the most inclement weather) and, in my case, hoping my memory will retain all the notes I stuffed into it… But the effect of the ripples which will radiate outwards and affect the lives of disabled musicians and those to whom we perform, is less predictable, quantifiable or short-term. That’s what makes it doubly exciting to be a part of. Since the future is not predictable, I can only report from a personal point of view what effect the past two years of being a member of BSO Resound has already had. It has changed my musical horizons and my expectations of where my career might lead; it is beginning to generate unexpected opportunities for new work and it is filtering into the teaching I do, especially with my own visually impaired students. The endorsement from the RPS bringing disabled musicians right into the mainstream of classical music is a refreshing, exhilarating break from the past when only certain doors were opened. Dislodging a huge boulder from the bank and chucking it into the river is difficult work, requiring effort from a team of determined people who are unsatisfied with playing with small pebbles. Fortunately, the BSO has had the daring and confidence to hurl a sufficiently large boulder into the river to begin to change its course. Thanks to them and James Rose, we in BSO Resound can now do the thing we always wanted to do, rather than just dream about it.

We are incredibly grateful to have the support of Allianz Musical Insurance, who have been a supporting partner of BSO Resound since January 2019 — we’re delighted they will be supporting us in 2020. There are of course other people who have made all this possible: you, who read this and support BSO Resound in whatever way must know that you are not simply supporting concerts of lovely music but actively participating in the ripple effect, i.e. changing lives of people you do not know, far beyond the membership of BSO Resound. Thank you. And you who come to concerts, whoever you are, thank you too. All of us musicians are obsessed and obsessive about performing music; and BSO Resound members have had to be particularly so to get to where we have. But it is the reception and feedback from our audiences which helps maintain that otherwise draining level of passion and commitment. We have had incredible support from our audiences in school halls, out-of-the-way village halls and the Royal Albert Hall! Without you, any electricity we managed to generate would have no circuitry through which to travel and would power and empower nothing and nobody. So, thank you for your applause, your whooping, cheering and whistling! Thank you for the euphoric excitement you communicate back to us which makes performing such a pleasure – this is a two-way vibe. But, in particular, thank you to the small group of students who made up our audience in a rather undersized classroom in a Special School in Barnstaple last January. As the weather closed in on the final day of our Devon residency, and the countryside along the North Devon road became increasingly bleak and foreboding, you welcomed and warmed us by dancing to Alexander Campkin’s piece, written for BSO Resound, entitled  ‘hoping’ … Danced on gym mats … Danced with one another until you were breathless and hot and worn out; It’s a gentle, meditative, somewhat ethereal movement on the whole, not the kind of piece I expected you to dance to – but by dancing, you transformed ‘hoping’ into real joy!

To read more about our RPS Impact Award win, click here

To learn more about BSO Resound click here