UKARA SPRING SOCIAL
Saturday 22nd April
Batsford Arboretum Moreton-In-Marsh GL56 9QB
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with thanks to Ken Everitt & Ken Geen
UKARA Spring meeting report by Richard Simmons:
Once again the meeting was held at Batsford arboretum, which is a useful venue because it has a well equipped lecture room. Unfortunately, we didn’t quite work out how to operate the wide screen television, though predictable, Ken had a back-up available in the form of a projector and screen.
After arrival and a short tea/coffee welcome, we listened to Adrian Lucas (Acclaim Productions) who went from being an amateur recordist to making it his chosen profession. He had been a choir boy and subsequently an organist in several cathedrals across the country where he was also head of choral music. Adrian’s wife Joanna came with him, and whilst dutifully listening to his talk, she was also able to spend some time in the garden centre. Not sure how many plants went home to Worcester.
Lunch was a ‘find your own’ affair and most people went to the onside restaurant which seemed to satisfy them.
The falconry centre was very close to the arboretum and we were treated to a display of different birds and an explanation of how they hunted in different ways. We could have spent longer there looking at the other caged birds, but instead, returned to the education centre for more tea and cake.
John Willett (Circle Sound Services) then followed with a talk with excellent graphics about different microphones and their different pick-up patterns and uses, ranging from omni directional to hyper cardioids. This included some of their uses and the pitfalls involved in their use. John also managed to connect his computer to the wide screen display.
More tea and cake followed and a quick problem solving session to work out how to get Geoffrey home following the cancellation of his train to Oxford. John Willet was the answer, taking him to Bicester for the train to Marylebone.
Tea and cakes were provided by Peta and enjoyed by all, some of whom took home goodie bags. Peter Jones as usual was involved in the planning and thanks go to both of them. Ken of course provided the technical bits and pieces so thanks to Ken.
We were really pleased too, to see Tony who unfailingly turns up to our meetings. Many thanks Tony.
Saturday 23rd April 2022
The Spring Meeting this year was held at the
BODENHAM ARBORETUM (LAKESIDE ROOM)
Mike Dickins and John Robinson (former warden of Wyre Forest) kicked off the entertainment with a lively and entertaining talk about wild life recording.
They presented a punchline:
When under fire, don’t see – look, don’t hear – listen.
Tony then regaled us with stories of recording the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall during lockdown, including the need to purchase extra cable and microphone stands in order to furnish an adequate number of socially distanced microphones. He confirmed what many of us thought, that the orchestra’s had great difficulty during this time, both financially and personally. Once allowed to perform again, the social distance spacing caused more difficulties in hearing each other and for the conductor, allowing for the –up to 2 second – delay between the front and back of the orchestra.
As ever a really interesting insight. Thank you Tony.
Lunch was taken by obtaining our own choice from the restaurant, and returning to eat in the lakeside room.
After lunch, in the members playback session, Geoffrey explained that he, like everyone else, had done no recording during lockdown, but he had used the time to write a book about the local railway station. He had then used the time to transfer from Cassette to CD, many recordings made whilst his sons were at St John’s Cambridge and performing in the choir. He played us a sample by a Tudor composer called, Robert White.
Stewart had brought four short pieces one of which was a combination of a traditional recording of ‘The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba’ and a modern arrangement – mostly electronic – of the same piece, but called the Departure of the Queen of Sheba.
There being time left, Tony showed a film of a recording of a young brass ensemble, all members fresh from university.
PAS 24 April 2022.
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with thanks to Ken Everitt & Ken Geen
2020 (2021 NO MEETINGS)
The meeting was due to be held in Cardiff on Saturday 25th April
but had to be cancelled due to the Corona Virus.
The weekend started well for Richard and I, as we settled in to our hotel, a mere ten minutes drive from the Yacht Club. I know the Welsh contingent were in a hotel in the opposite direction – about 20 minutes away.
I have to be honest and say that we had a good dinner and then retired, after a longish day.
On Friday morning, following a good breakfast we set off and found the yacht club easily. Having managed to get as far as the room we had been given, without the crate in which the tape recorders were, falling to pieces, we were greeted by Keith and Gwen and the Welsh contingent. The crate did then fall apart.
Shortly we were joined by Steve B-W and Dan, also Paul and Margaret Reeve.
Keith and Ken wrestled with the technicalities of the kit, whilst Gwen issued coffee, tea and biscuits.
The morning was refreshing in its laid back lack of timing and rush. Keith introduced the programme and then Peta gave details so far about the Autumn meeting and AGM – see later.
We then had a selection of ‘old’ recordings and some comparison recordings from more recent times. Keith showed his expertise in editing with a piece he had made for Soundtrack many years ago. Ken had brought a recording of the Cardiff Military Tattoo.
Richard gave a potted history of how Hospital Radio in Oxford had changed, including references to the portable tape recorders brought in the now deceased crate.
After more coffee, Peter showed a video of how the recording of the Military tattoo had been made. It makes you remember how hard these things were before the advent of transistorised and digital recording gear. It is a good thing we were all younger and able to carry the kit up many sets of stairs.
Shortly we set off for Shoreham Airport, where we were told a little of the history of the airport and then expertly guided on a tour of one of the hangars. Here we were fortunate to meet the owner of a Chipmunk who was only too happy to talk to us about it. We also had to wait whilst a small helicopter took off because there was no way we could have been heard otherwise.
Back to the ‘terminal building’ which is frequently used as a film set, having been unchanged since it was built in a wonderful Art Deco style. Inside, it was the same too and very elegant. A brief encounter with Ken Alwyn – now in his 90’s, who we all remember from Friday night is Music Night -was an added bonus.
A quick look at the fire station and it was back to the Yacht Club for a splendid lunch. A super array of sandwiches, chips, samosas, fish things and chicken bits, dips and other oddments. There was plenty, we all ate our fill and then took some away. The table looked as if it hadn’t been touched.
Back to our meeting and we viewed a couple of videos from Cardiff and a recent recording of a swing band by Richard.
Thanks to Keith and Gwen for looking after us. It was a very enjoyable day, more relaxed than some of our other events and really enjoyable for that.
A report of the 2018 Spring Meeting
Saturday April 14th
SEVERN VALLEY RAILWAY ENGINE HOUSE AND EDUCATION CENTRE
Station Road, Highley WV16 6NZ