I was flattered to be approached by Tie The Knot – Scotland’s premiere wedding magazine to be included in their September/October 2018 publication. This month they feature classical musicians who have the pleasure to perform for couples in venues across Scotland. Click on the link below for the article …
Here is the article in full which I shared with their editor about my opinion of classical music’s place in weddings and a little snap shot of my experience as a trumpeter playing at weddings. There was of course much more which could have been written and included – perhaps I could have shared the experience of playing the opening theme from Star Wars for the exit music going into Imperial March – all specially requested by the groom!
” Music has a wonderful way of uniting people together from all backgrounds and beliefs and classical music is no exception – especially on a wedding day. It’s a broad style of music that works in a variety of instrumentation or voice and it’s foundation is its strong sense of melody.
Classical music is timeless and can offer a special personal touch to a wedding. There’s not only a great choice of classical music to choose from but it has the ability to be formal, fun, and most of all celebratory.
As a trumpeter I’ve played classical music at each stage of a wedding from playing the bridal procession with a trumpet fanfare or voluntary, playing an aria during the signing of the register to performing a selection of upbeat classical favourites throughout the drinks reception.
Couples have the choice to have as much or as little classical music as they wish at their wedding. Being able to offer solo trumpet with an option of working alongside an organist or pianist, I can demonstrate through the sound of the trumpet the range of character it can display, including, brilliance, power, a regal feel and of course, a sense of joy. I can also provide my own established brass ensemble (www.brasstracksmusic.co.uk) or trumpet and accordion duo, Albaccord, that offers the option of entertaining with a variety of musical styles as well as classical music. My work is all acoustic without the need for an electricity supply, therefore ideal for those outside weddings or in a rural setting.
The Dawn Chorus is a film short recently aired on Channel 4’s new series of Random Acts (Summer 2018). It is a wonderful clever creation by the young Japanese film director, George Wu. The music by Athos Tsipani compliments the choreography of the bird puppetry and is also a vital element of telling the story.
Never mind Birdland – this swinging jazz number allows all the featured instruments (trumpet, clarinet, piano, drums and double bass) to tweet, squawk, coo, craw and generally flap in their own unique way as only winged creatures know how during their dawn chorus to welcome in the start of a new day. The trumpet, represents the colourful Kingfisher bird, the instrument’s valves operating the three main sections of the bird, from valve 1 = the tail wing, valve 2 = central wings and valve 3 = head and beak.
The production was filmed and recorded in Edinburgh – in Summerhall, a very apt location as it was the former home of the Dick Vet School. The ensemble is seen performing in the anatomy theatre – a space not changed drastically since it’s construction in the Victorian era. Enjoy listening and watching the clip below of The Dawn Chorus.
Finlay enjoys being part of music sessions whether it is for live or a recording project. Every experience is very different and varied, always providing an opportunity to think creatively, with an emphasis of keeping ideas fresh. It forces us as musicians to engage with the sound and musicians around you intensely, especially as they are often one off without or with very little rehearsal.
Finlay’s background as a classical trained trumpet player has given him the foundation and interest to try and explore other music genres and styles. The discipline of learning as a classical musician has given him the tools to study the characteristics, nuances and musical language of jazz, pop and world music. Each experience keeps the challenge of playing the trumpet musically interesting and there is never not an opportunity to keep learning from listening to others both within ones own discipline and from others.
Finlay performs on the following instruments: Yamaha Custom 8335 LA Bb trumpet, Custom Satin Gold finish Eclipse flugelhorn, Schilke P 5-4 Bb/A Piccolo trumpet.
Brass Tracks is an Edinburgh based brass quintet which formed in 2013. Over the years Finlay has been part of and played in numerous small to large scale brass ensembles throughout Scotland and other areas of the UK. Forming Brass Tracks gave Finlay the ability to bring together friends and colleagues who have equal passions for brass chamber music and exploring its rich musical history over the last five hundred years to the present day.
Brass Tracks enjoys a diverse portfolio of performance projects which include recitals across Scotland’s music clubs and societies, recording sessions, commercial and corporate work, accompany choirs and premiere new works.
Albaccord is a trumpet and accordion duo based in Edinburgh. It has great flexibility to mix and match its instrumentation to move to adding a harp and flugelhorn/keyboards or augment to a trio or quartet with an addition of a tuba player.
Albaccord was born in 2014 after BBC producers got in touch looking for live music for their education tent at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The emphasis was to have Albaccord as the vehicle promoting classical music. It was a little prequel to their Ten Pieces scheme which launched in the Autumn of 2014.
Over the course of the festival Finlay’s friend and duo partner, Johannes put together a series of arrangements for trumpet and accordion using numerous themes to introduce classical music to our young audiences. Finlay and Johannes had only planned for one intensive weekend of performing but were asked to do another after the positive response. This time it was to consider the music of classical composers using animals as their muse.
Johannes and Finlay had a lot of fun trying our ideas out from playing extracts from Saint Saen’s Carnival of the Animals to jazzing things up a little by adding in Henry Mancini’s Pink Panther.
Albaccord has had the opportunity to work in its many forms and guises with the following musicians: John Sampson, Eleanor Hetherington, Shane Brogan and Robert Fraser.
In addition to private clients, Albaccord has worked with numerous corporate clients too over the years. Including, the BBC, The Royal Botanical Gardens, Perth City Council, Fife Sports Council and Edinburgh University.
On Friday 27th June, 2014 there was a special concert at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall. Finlay Hetherington’s trumpet students had the opportunity to hear and meet with some of the finest living jazz musicians from the Lincoln Centre Jazz Orchestra, with their trumpeter and director, Wynton Marsalis.
There was even a surprise guest appearance of the Scottish violin virtuoso, Nicola Benedetti. It was fascinating to watch Wynton direct Nicola on some of the jazz nuances in his violin piece. Not only did this inspire us as musicians, but demonstrated that no matter your level of artistry, you can still learn and be open to lessons from others.
Following the rehearsal, which were kindly invited to observe, our students were able to have a Q&A session with the drummer and pianist of the orchestra, who explained that they were in charge in keeping the melody and rhythm together within the orchestra.
That evening, a busy Usher Hall, were able to enjoy and be, quite literally, blown away by the musicianship and virtuosity of the Lincoln Centre band, who performed a selection of arrangements of the best Blue Note Records. A very memorable performance that was topped by a very generous and breath taking encore given by Wynton and his rhythm section.