Despite a start-time of Sunday 10am, around thirty people turned up to help run or take part in the day-long jazz workshop. Malcolm Edmonstone did a brilliant job of getting everyone on board despite an astonishing age range (under 10 – over 70) and degree of experience (been at it for years – only started last week) by having everyone join in clapping sessions, word games and vocal exchanges before getting anywhere near the instruments. By lunchtime everyone seemed to have found a way of taking part and, as the sun was belting down again for a second day, everyone took their meals outdoors.
During the afternoon the participants got down to improvisation exercises. Some found this more difficult than others being more used to reading musical score but Malcolm managed to get everyone to find the confidence to extend their powers of self-expression. His skill as a workshop leader meant that, although people felt challenged they always felt supported and that they were having great fun. Then people broke up into smaller groups and worked on technique and ensemble playing in five different rooms around the building. This was followed by tea and scones in the garden while the sun continued to pour down and, after a break while everyone prepared to take part in the evening concert, one of Betsy’s giant lasagnes. The Centre received warm feedback from participants hoping it would stage further Jazz Exchanges.