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Saturday 20th April
ford Arboretum  Moreton-In-Marsh  GL56 9QB

Tony Faulkner

Tony, our President, will be giving another of his fascinating presentations that will focus on his many and varied recording projects around the world.

Jim Purcell

Long term member of FBTRC, BSRA and now UKARA Jim has an excellent knowledge of all events and recordings over the decades.  As a past producer of the audio magazine “SoundTrack” Jim will be playing a selection of recordings that stand out from his archives including both the British and International Contest entries.


with thanks to Ken Everitt & Peter Jones

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We had a cool reception when we arrived an hour ahead of the other members as the heaters had only just be turned on but it soon warmed up and a hot cup of tea to greet everyone soon made it a warm welcome.

Richard and Peta’s car was groaning on its suspension as it was packed to the roof with both equipment and cakes and soon everything was up but not running.  Ken who usually provides the playback equipment couldn’t attend on this occasion due to a family celebration so Richard volunteered to bring the necessary amplifier, speakers and CD player.  Everything had been tested at home the night before so we were confident that we’d be up and running in no time at all.  Unfortunately the left speaker refused to give out even a squeak.  It took a lot of cross patching and swapping of leads to come to the conclusion that the large power amplifier was the culprit.  The right channel was dead.  It was car sick and hadn’t travelled well on the journey to Bodenham.  As time marched on we came to the decision that the old favourite Mono was to be the answer.

Tony as usual took it all in good humour and his illustrated talk began on time.  What a fascinating talk it proved to be.  Tony has spoken on many topics over the years but one subject we all wanted to hear were the ‘behind the scenes’ problems and difficulties experienced when travelling abroad to record major orchestras.  Travelling with cases of expensive and delicate equipment through customs in many differing countries would test anyone’s patience.  Passports, long lists of equipment itemised in great detail and all being scrutinised by far from friendly customs officials were often the least of his problems. Tony went on to regale us with tales of venues having little or no easy access and some local personnel who would often deliberately create difficulties.

In planning the programme we had realised there would be many questions asked so we ensured that plenty of time was given before lunch in the delightful Terrace Restaurant.

Fully refreshed and after taking a stroll in the wonderful sunshine we gathered again in the education room and settled down to listen to Jim begin his illustrated talk on ‘Sound Track’ the audio magazine produced for many years by members of the Federation of British Tape Recordists.

Jim had acted as archivist so he has many hours of recordings that would have otherwise been deleted.  Jim handed out a few pages of the running orders from Sound Track of years gone by and this proved to be an excellent idea.  We could browse through a selection of recordings and pick one that caught our eye.  Jim soon had us picking and choosing both music and speech recordings made by members long ago.  It was such a good idea that he’s going to bring more archived material to the Autumn meeting that will illustrate both the British and International contests.

Peter Jones

Saturday 22nd April
ford Arboretum  Moreton-In-Marsh  GL56 9QB


with thanks to Ken Everitt & Ken Geen

Adrian Lucas, Acclaim Productions
John Willett, Circle Sound
Adrian Acclaim Productions
Adrian Lucas
Ken setting up
Cotswold Falconry
Cotswold Falconry

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

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.


with thanks to Ken Everitt & Ken Geen

Mike Dickins Talk Complete 44'38Artist Name
00:00 / 44:39
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.


Report on the UKARA Spring Meeting

26 April, 2019 at Shoreham Yacht Club.

Sussex Yach Club.jpg
The Meeting at Shoreham.jpg

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


Station Road, Highley  WV16 6NZ

ken david annette.jpg
The meeting was held at the museum of the Severn Valley Railway.   Thanks are due to Mike Dickins, who, living nearer than the rest of us, undertook to sort out the details and make sure we were getting what we needed.  It was pleasing to see that Tony Faulkner was able to join us.
We started, as was customary, with coffee, served in the meeting room of the ‘Engine Shed’.  This was never in fact an engine shed, it was purpose built to house an interesting collection of steam locomotives and memorabilia, plus a cafe, shop and aforementioned meeting room.   First item of the meeting proper was a talk from Malcolm, one of the volunteer guides, on the history of the Severn Valley Railway, and an explanation of how it now operated as a charitable trust, with a few paid staff and a lot of volunteers. 
Following the talk we split into three groups, so that we could visit the ‘King’s Carriage’, a coach which was designed as part of a royal train for King George 6 and the Queen, as they toured the country during the second world war.  Once again Malcolm was our guide, so he had to repeat his talk three times.  We could understand why this was necessary, as the coach had little space for moving about,  and we had to progress from room to room in single file.
Next was lunch.  This was a do-it-yourself affair, most people opted for the cafe (there were no other food outlets for miles) and fortunately the food proved to be highly satisfactory.
After lunch we reassembled in the meeting room, and had a minute’s silence in memory of Mike Thompson, followed by a tribute to him put together by Peter Jones from You Tube material and Ken’s photographs from past meetings.   Peter also updated us on the financial position – we are still solvent  - and then we discussed the content of the next meeting (details elsewhere) which Peta has arranged.
The rest of the afternoon was occupied by playback of various items contributed by members.  David Holland offered three items, the first of which was a visit to HTV studios in Cardiff in May 1991.  This brought forth many comments on the lines of “there’s a young .......” and “I had hair then”
Mike Dickins had a fascinating recording in which he discussed, with a wildlife expert, a Victorian book which attempted  to represent bird calls in print.  This caused some hilarity as the written descriptions were compared with actual bird recordings.
Stewart Smith had made several recordings in Bolton Abbey, a very ‘live’ acoustic, and we were able to compare recordings including a choir and a guitar duo and see on the accompanying photographs where the microphones were placed.  We discussed the merits of using a mid/side configuration to give some control over the stereo spread at the post-production stage.
David’s other items were his recording of part of Malcolm Arnold’s ‘Four Scottish Dances’ and a short film of a visit to the war cemetery at Dozinghem, where his Grandfather James William Holland was buried.
In the course of the afternoon we had drinks and muffins to prepare us for the ardours of the trip home (except the six of us who were staying overnight in Telford – we had the tea and muffins anyway, then went out for a meal).
Richard Simmons
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