RNCM students on performing with Blossoms at Neighbourhood Festival

Our students had the unique opportunity of performing with indie band Blossoms at this year’s Neighbourhood Festival

The 45 minute set was part of an exclusive opening party to launch the festival this weekend. 

Blossoms performed a special acoustic set arranged by composer Joe Duddell and accompanied by an RNCM student ensemble – made up of string quartet, harp, french horn, bass clarinet and vibraphone. 

It was lovely to work with such talented musicians from the RNCM. It brought another side to the songs we’ve always wanted to hear, we’d love to do it again sometime. – Blossoms

We caught up with a few of the students involved to find out more about this amazing performance opportunity. 

Philippa Smith 

I was the harpist for this gig and when I was offered it I couldn’t believe it! It was a really exciting change to be involved in something popular and with a band I already knew about and liked! I jumped at the chance to try something different.

Working with Joe was a great experience. His vision is amazing. The band were lovely. Very laid back but also very focussed with a clear vision that made them wonderful to work with! They are such amazing musicians and I felt truly honoured to be on stage with them.

It was an amazing experience to be involved in and it was so interesting to see how things work in a festival context as opposed to classical concerts. Working with the entire sound and lighting team was great and it was so interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes. The crowd were great. Very positive and responsive. I got shivers when we played my favourite Blossoms song and everyone sang along. 

I loved it and hope to be able to more gigs like this in the future. I will never forget it!

Helena Logah

I was the first violinist in the RNCM ensemble on Saturday. The rest of my quartet (Lux Quartet) were also in this ensemble as we enjoy collaborating with popular music as well as giving classical recitals. When we were asked to take part in the show we were extremely excited. However, we had to keep it secret for a while because Blossoms were a surprise opening act for the festival!

I had a fantastic time working with Blossoms and Joe on Saturday. It was a pleasure to work with Joe and the members of Blossoms are such incredible musicians. We fit the music together with them in such a short amount of time! Performing at the opening party for the Neighbourhood festival to a sold out venue was an unforgettable experience. The audience were so interactive and lively which made the performance very rewarding.

A highlight of the show for me was covering the Beatles’ Ticket to Ride. The crowd enjoyed the cover and the string arrangement included some challenging but awesome music! Session work is something I would love to be doing more frequently one I graduate so it was an amazing opportunity to have this experience now – I hope there will be more to come.

Elizabeth Brightwell-Gibbons

Being involved in the Blossoms gig was really cool! Working with Joe Duddell was a great privilege for me. I’ve played one of his pieces before, ‘Freaky Dancer’ for vibraphone and guitar quartet, and loved it. His arrangements for the gig were really satisfying to play, so I think we all had a lot of fun.

L/R – Peter Hartley, Alice Luddington, Helena Logah and Philippos Rousiamanis (Lux Quartet), Joe Duddell, Blossoms, Kieran Lyster, Freya Chambers and Elizabeth Brightwell-Gibbons

On the day we were required to rehearse once as an ensemble with Joe and then run the set with Blossoms. I have not been involved in many small ensemble gigs like this before (as I often play in orchestras) so it was nice to have the challenge of putting the music together in a small group while adapting very quickly and getting on stage and performing.

The performance passed by in what felt like an instant! The crowd was great. They knew the songs intimately so the atmosphere was really nice. Overall it was really fun and a privilege to work with these musicians in such a friendly environment. It was also nice to play with musicians from college with whom I had not necessarily crossed paths before! 

Working with the professionals

Performance is at the heart of everything we do at the RNCM. We encourage students to gain valuable experience working with professionals within the College, out in the city and beyond. There are wide-ranging opportunities for students to get involved in all genres of music.

It’s always rewarding to work with the next generation of musicians and watch them rise to the challenge. The standard at RNCM is consistently high. – Joe Duddell

11 October 2017