Chris Slade describes the son et lumiere presentation at the abbey of Bon Repos called "Le Pays de Conomor" in Brittany, which takes place during the first two weeks of August.
I have two practices on a Monday evening: the first is with Lannion’s “L’Harmonie”, then the jazz fanfare from 8.30-10pm.
“L’Harmonie” has a baby practice from 4-5pm for the beginners, which I often attend as it helps them if someone plays the music accurately.
I took along Remy’s Selmer sax: it made me feel like a schoolboy who had just got a date with the school “belle”, it plays so well. The main practice starts around 5.30pm in theory, but it’s usually another 15 minutes before it really gets going.
There are around 20 players: about 6 decent musicians, a couple who are average, and around half who are beginners (mostly flutes and clarinets).
My mate in the sax section is good, and she has the exact same Selmer model, so it sounds the same, and it was just magic playing together to me (it’s like 2 ice skaters blindfolded but in sync) and not even being able to distinguish my own sound.
Most of the band is tone deaf, so not many noticed it was a different sax.
The practice ends around 7.30pm, and then it’s a few aperitifs with nibbles: we have a whisky and Porto club in the group. Our proposed new chef drinks coke, which is a bit worrying, and then it’s down the road to a hall in the middle of Lannion for a couple of hours of jazz.
The guys that play in this group are musically literate, so they saw straight away that it was a different make. The chef, Jean Mathias, remarked after 5 seconds of listening: “Simon, buy it, it’s much better than your old Conn”, and my friend Giles (who plays alto with me) gave me a compliment on its sound even though he has the same model (it must be the Berg Larsen mouthpiece).
I did get a few insults as well, such as “At last you got a proper sax, not some American crap” (as Selmer is a French company), and the drummer Joel who always gives me a hard time muttered something about Poles playing the sax (he is convinced I’m Polish, while he originated from Malta, and his father had a British passport at one time ).
So it was a good evening out, but I don’t really think Remy will sell it, so my best hope is a couple of months loan during the concert season, and in the meantime I should be scanning the adverts looking for a similar model.
As love affairs go, it will be of a short duration ………… tant pis!