Shrewsbury School

A Week in the Life of Chris Hardman (SH UVI)

Thursday 8 March 2012

Since performing at Birmingham Town Hall on Sunday, Chris has been down to Croydon to compete in the Pro Corda semi-finals, and he will also be performing in tonight's Musical Stage concert, in the Alington Hall.  Not to mention the usual lessons, studies and pressures of looming A Levels that all our Upper Sixth pupils are dealing with!

Chris Hardman at the Pro Corda semi-finals this weekMONDAY
Today I woke up in a panic. Knowing that it was the beginning of the week running up to the Birmingham Town Hall concert means lots of rehearsals, late nights and exhausted pupils. I woke up early so that I could get some work done before the day began and I rushed off to class. Lessons went smoothly and I was on top of my work. Following a quick wind quintet rehearsal at lunch time, it was back to lessons to finish the day. This evening was the first rehearsal of both Chorus and Orchestra working together. It was long, and went on for what seemed an eternity, but alas, by half past nine it had finished, and the orchestra could return back to their houses to do some work and finally get to bed!

Today's lessons started well, and I had done all the necessary work for the first two periods, which put me in a good mood for the rest of the day. My 'To Do' list has grown from a post-it note into a whole sheet of A4, and I'm beginning to wonder when I will get any of my work done. Tonight was my first run through of the wind orchestra piece for Birmingham Town Hall, and I had promised my teacher that I would look over the music before we sat down to play it. My afternoon consisted of much practise of this piece, and for my A-Level performance exam in three weeks time. When I next looked at the clock it was time for a quick bite to eat and then  a rush of to rehearsals. Thankfully I managed to play the music without any issues (or major ones at least!). The rehearsal lasted for about an hour, which I was grateful for as it meant that I would still have time to catch up on any homework that was missed as a result of the rehearsal.

It wasn't long after I had woken up on Wednesday morning that I remembered that I was supposed to have written my first article for the BASBWE magazine. My day was stricken with panic as I was trying to think of a practical solution as to why I hadn't written the article. Finally, period 3, my only free period on Wednesday came around, and I rushed back to house and started work on it. Wednesday night was the biggest of the rehearsals for orchestra, and I knew that it would be a long and tiresome. It started promptly at seven, and by eight o'clock I was completely worn out. Orchestra is a nerving experience at the best of times, wondering if you will miss-count or play wrong notes, making yourself look like a fool in front of the whole orchestra, but when you are just days away from the concert, all of these nerves are heightened, and I become a nervous wreck! All the time I am thinking, when will I manage to get my work done? When will I get the time to sleep? The rehearsal had ended at ten o'clock, so I went back to house, and fell into bed.

Besides completing my BASBWE article, Practising for my A-Level performance, doing the rehearsals for Birmingham Town Hall, Choir practise, finishing my English Coursework, finishing off my A-Level Composition and doing my various essays, Thursday was fine. Thank God it was 'Field-Day', or I think my chances of getting out of this week alive would have narrowed even further.  I managed to take an anti-lazy attitude and wake up at 7am to start my work. By 9am I was already feeling tired again and was looking over at my bed from my desk with a longing gaze. To add to the drama of the week, my Clarinet had broken, and been taken away to be fixed! At this point, there was no hope. I was on the verge of a mental breakdown, and needed a good cry. Nevertheless I kept my head up high and continued on through the day, completing most of my tasks. At 6:30, it was time for choir, which was followed immediately by the  last Wind Orchestra rehearsal.  You may think that the repetition of music rehearsals each night would become tedious, but the crazed rush to get everything done on time made each day new, exciting and scary.

MY LAST DAY OF REHEARSALS! This is all that I could think about all day. Soon it would be over, and my life could return to its normal self again. I went to lessons, exhausted. I kept on asking myself if it was possible to be any more tired than I already was? After a long lunchtime rehearsal for a competition the following Tuesday, I completed my lessons and went straight back to the music department for a music lesson. This took even more time out of my working hours, but with A-Level  performance approaching and the possibility of application to RNCM (The Royal Northern College of Music) I could not afford to miss it. Two hours after my lesson had ended, I was in the Alington Hall for the final time. It was the very last rehearsal at school before the concert, and as ever, I was nervous about messing up and making a fool of myself. We slaved over the music for just about three hours, at the end of which, all of the orchestra was mentally and physically worn out. I quickly returned back to my house, where I had to complete my English Coursework. The English was in for 1st period Saturday morning, and there was no hope of deadline extensions. I worked on this until late at night, at which point I didn't think I could do any more, so I finished it up, and finally went to bed.

English Coursework was in, all my work was done, and I could relax. There was no rushing around, just a day of rest.  My day had been planned since the week began. I would do lessons, and then I would have to catch up on all of the relaxing that I had missed out on during the week. I had decided that I would go and watch the School House play that night, which lightened my evening and I decided upon an early night so that I would be in form for tomorrow.

Chris playing at Birmingham Town Hall on SundaySUNDAY
Chapel was an hour later this morning, so I didn't have to wake up until a very late 8:45! I got dressed and went off to rehearse for Choir. We sung Parry's 'I was Glad', which put us all in a good mood for the strenuous day to come. By 12:30 we were on the coaches ready to leave, and settled in for the hour long journey to Birmingham. It was around 2pm when we arrived and we all filed into the Town Hall, unpacked our instruments and went straight into rehearsals. We rehearsed everything straight through with a 'no mistakes allowed'  mentality, and soon enough, everyone had rehearsed and it was time to go and get some dinner! Unfortunately, it was the only day in the week that it had decided to hail and I had forgotten to bring my coat! We were given around 2 hours to find a place and have dinner, and then we were back. The concert opened with 'surround sound'  with the brass band, followed by the String Orchestra performing our very own David Joyce's arrangement of Dvorak's 'Dumka'.  It was then that the nerves started to kick in, as it was time for the Brahms Piano Concerto no.2. Playing in a concerto is more terrifying than any other performance because one wrong note can elicit an enormous amount of guilt at ruining the concerto for the performer who has inevitably spent hundreds of hours learning. This went down a treat with the audience, and Jacob Owen had performed it to an excellent standard.  It was now time for a Dvorak's symphony No.8  and then we could all have a break. The second half opened with 'Paris Sketches for Wind Orchestra' by Martin Ellerby. Dvorak's 'Te Deum' was performed wonderfully by the whole community choir and orchestra and was certainly something to be proud of. It has occurred to me recently, that each year we do a concert, we seem to end it with Parry? It doesn't bother me in the slightest as the music is beautiful and exciting to play. As the concert ended with the final blasting chords of the Parry, I could not help but feel relieved. It was over, all that hard work and time had paid off, and resulted in a magnificent concert. I got on the bus to head home, and could not help but wonder, what next week would bring...

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