Our Members’ Concerts

The Society normally holds at least 2 Members’ concerts per year. In 2024 the dates are:

  • Summer Concert on Thurs 11 July, and
  • the Winter Concert on Thurs 12 December.

Our Members’ Concerts are an important element of our Annual Programme. They represent a very good opportunity for members to play in front of an audience and showcase their own playing.

Amateurs rarely get the opportunity to perform, and this is one aspect that being a member of a society can provide. If you plan ahead to prepare for the society concert dates it will give you the best chance to perform well. Nobody is expecting members to be of a professional standard, but I am sure everyone wishes to give of their best, regardless of the playing standard of individuals. Preparation is the key to success, whatever level we are at.

We as members and audience are just keen to listen to guitar music and provide a sympathetic and empathetic environment for members to perform.

Members’ Concert evenings usually begin a little earlier for members than standard Thurs meetings. The Ensemble Director (Francisco) will run a final rehearsal session for the BCGS full ensemble before the concert itself starting at circa 7pm.

All BCGS full ensemble members will need to manage their diaries to enable them to be at the Unitarian Hall by 7pm on Members’ Concert evenings. Non BCGS members attending as an audience are encouraged to arrive circa 7.50pm with the concert starting at 8pm.

The concert will have 2 halves of approx 45mins each, with an interval of 20mins (some refreshments will be provided) with an aim to finish by approx 10pm. The BCGS may request voluntary donations as a contribution to any refreshments you have.

Although each half of the concert aims to be 45mins long, Members should recognise that due to player changeovers and music introductions etc, the actual playing time will be less than 45mins (maybe circa 37/38 mins). Additionally, the BCGS full ensemble will play in the second half and take up to 10-15 minutes. Therefore, playing time in reality is more curtailed than the 45mins for each half of the concert.

There has been, in the past, a slight emphasis placed on solos at the summer concert, and ensembles at the Winter Concert, but this is a very flexible criteria and by no means strictly kept.

If you wish to play in a duo and/or a small ensemble we leave it to members to make their own arrangements to find playing partners and meet for practises. If, however, you are new to the BCGS and do not know anyone then please ask members of the Exec Cttee who may be able to help in making connections.

Members should let the Society Sec (Vince) know, in the months/weeks leading up to the concert, what they will be playing: the title, composer, and who is playing if it is a small ensemble and includes other players. A concert programme will be produced from this information and the order of play. Therefore, the information will be required at least 14 days before the concert.

Playing slots usually fill up quickly, and some of the 90mins includes the time for the full ensemble performance, which is usually the last item on the programme. Therefore, we would encourage everyone to declare their music selection as soon as it is known. If it becomes necessary to limit the number of players, or the time available for each slot then, in order to be fair, the criteria used will be: the date the Society Sec was informed of your wish to play, the playing slot time length needed for your choice of music, the
number of times you are playing (if playing multiple solo pieces and/or multiple duets/ensembles – not including the BCGS full ensemble). In extremis we may need to adjust to ensure things can fit into the time available by reducing the number of solos one person plays, or the number of appearances overall. However, we will try hard to ensure everyone who wishes to play, can play.

You (or one member of your ensemble) should be prepared to say a few coherent words about the music you are about to play (title, composer, date written, some background on the music etc). Please do say something (the audience does like to know what is about to be played) but try to keep it to a minute or so.

We intend to operate a ‘Green Room’ system this year so that those playing next on the programme can be getting warmed-up and tuned-up before walking out to play. You will all have the programme, which will set out the order of play. When the programme reaches a point 2 pieces from your performance, go to the Green Room to warm-up and tune-up (in a gap between pieces). If you then come out with your tuned guitar, music (if
needed) and guitar lap rest, knee anti-slip cover etc, then someone should help you get your music stand, footstool, ipad in place.

We intend to put in place ‘stage-hand(s)’ to help the performer(s) with music stands, footstools, chairs etc. This should help in the efficiency of changeover of performers, maximise performance time availability, but also give those performing a little less to worry about as they prepare to play.

To help you prepare for the concert please use the zoom slots organised by Tony Mulholland to practise performing, or the solo sessions we have in our BCGS meetings (which can also be used to play small ensembles if you wish).

We will be taking a few photos of all performers during the concert to enable us to add an article on our website, however, if anyone does not wish to be posted on the website then please just say so and this can be managed. The Exec Cttee will be issuing acceptance forms for this as per our Data and Privacy policies.