Jade MayJean at The Mesken Hutton

Some wonderful photos by Jae Storer from last week’s chilled-out restaurant set at The Mesken Hutton, accompanying Jade MayJean.

I loved working in this lovely, atmospheric venue, playing stripped-back covers and jazz standards alongside such a brilliant singer as Jade.

Photos from Comeback Queen Album Launch

A massive thank you to Gordon Woolcock for these amazing photos from Sam Coe’s Comeback Queen Album Launch night at Epic Studios in Norwich last month.

Jade MayJean at O2 Academy

A few of the wonderful photos and videos I have been sent from Jade’s set at O2 Academy Islington last Thursday night, capturing a little bit of the incredible atmosphere at the show. (Big thanks especially to Jae Storer for some brilliant photography of the band onstage!)

It has been a huge privilege to spend the start of this year working on creating a live show for Jade from the songs on her 2018 album 20Sixty. I wanted to capture the cool, retro vibe of the album in the arrangements, whilst also making a visually impactful performance which grabs the audience’s attention with timecodes programmed lighting as well as a dynamic live band onstage.

Seeing this all come together in such a fantastic way on Thursday night last week – at a venue like O2 Academy, with a packed crowd watching the set – was an amazing feeling. I feel so proud of these performances, and I am very happy to have been able to deliver the audio and visual effect which Jade wanted from her live show.

Now onwards and upwards to the next exciting performance with Jade’s live band: on the main stage of the Ipswich Music Day in Christchurch Park, on Sunday 7th July.

Ultra ’90s at Boston Gliderdrome

Barely seems like a week ago that we were playing Ultra ’90s at the iconic Boston Gliderdrome… In fact, it was late February – and it’s now the start of April! Where does the time go?

Still, what an absolutely fantastic gig to look back on now! To play at a venue with so much history – and such an incredible atmosphere – is definitely something which stays with you.

As ever, huge thanks to everyone who came out to the show, and to our brilliant photographers who captured the totally electric feeling of the night wonderfully. So here is a selection of some of my favourite images from the Gliderdrome.

Ultra ’90s Jam – Thomson Holidays Reunion 2017

We had a great time headlining the Thomson Holiday Reps’ big reunion at the Irish Cultural Centre in Birmingham.

All photos by Waltham UK Photography.

Ultra ’90s at The River Rooms, Stourbridge

Pictures from Saturday night’s sold-out gig at The River Rooms in Stourbridge – on keys and vocals with Ultra ’90s, in preparation for the launch of Ultra ’90s Jam this coming weekend…

Keyboard Camp 2017 a huge success!

10 Years Of Keyboard Camp! (Photo: Will Jones)
10 Years Of Keyboard Camp! (Photo: Will Jones)

The first time I’ve got ’round to sitting down to write about it, even though it was now three weeks ago… (After Keyboard Camp finished, it was straight into four gigs over three days that weekend; an exhausting four-day studio refit; another weekend of gigs right down in the toes of Cornwall; and a day of PA system setup in readiness for new ventures this summer… More on all of that soon enough!) But I am delighted that the tenth anniversary of the (by now) famous NKO Keyboard Camp was such a success!

With music drawn from the material we have learnt as an orchestra over the previous nine residentials (plus some new music thrown in especially for this year) – as well as party games, birthday cake, a nostalgic photo slideshows from Keyboard Camps gone by – and culminating in an evening performance showcasing all the hard work and preparation over the past four days, the tenth Keyboard Camp was a true celebration of what makes it special, and exciting.

Sectional rehearsals in The Big Room at How Hill
Sectional rehearsals in The Big Room at How Hill

I have always been proud to be associated with a residential music course which is always evolving and improving, and where the students keep coming back year after year (for nine years in a row, in some cases!), and still want more…

As well as sectional and full orchestral rehearsals covering a wide range of musical styles, students at Keyboard Camp are treated to workshops which allow them to be more creative, and work with music in other formats; this year’s Keyboard Camp workshops touched on arranging music and songwriting techniques – and, for the most advanced students, a technology-rich session on creating a remix of a hit song.

Remix workshop at Keyboard Camp (Photo: Hannah Brigham)
Remix workshop at Keyboard Camp (Photo: Hannah Brigham)

Remix workshop at Keyboard Camp (Photo: Hannah Brigham)
Remix workshop at Keyboard Camp (Photo: Hannah Brigham)

Non-keyboard based musical activities have formed a larger and larger part of Keyboard Camp as the years have gone, and this year saw us attempt some of our most ambitious projects yet – our ‘Tin Can Orchestra’, taking on the Heinz Can Song Challenge, and our ‘Rain Choir’ singing in four-part harmony – with great success.

It is the ever-increasing focus on providing this well-rounded musical experience which helps to make Keyboard Camp unique; giving our students the opportunities to express themselves and make music in different ways ensures that they are not only developing their keyboard skills over the four days they are with us, but also their overall musicianship, cooperation and ensemble skills, and general understanding of what being a musician is really all about.

'Tin Can Orchestra' rehearsals
‘Tin Can Orchestra’ rehearsals

And of course, no Keyboard Camp would be complete without the team Quiz, and our world-famous Talent Show (which, this year, saw the Staff team enter a cover of The Bangles’ ‘Walk Like An Egyptian’, to universal acclaim).

Quiz night at Keyboard Camp
Quiz night at Keyboard Camp

Since the course ended, we have had all kinds of lovely feedback from the students who attended this year’s Keyboard Camp – showing once again what an incredible difference this yearly event in music education, and what a positive impact it can have on the students who come back time and time again.

Remix workshop at Keyboard Camp (Photo: Hannah Brigham)
Remix workshop at Keyboard Camp (Photo: Hannah Brigham)

And it is never too early to register your interest for next year’s Keyboard Camp! In 2018, we will return to How Hill for the sixth time (it will be the eleventh Keyboard Camp, in total) for more musical fun (on keyboards and off them!); more games; more whacky talent show entries; more late-night hot chocolate; and more opportunities to enjoy learning about music, and progressing as a musician alongside other like-minded young keyboard and piano students.

Conducting the Keyboard Camp 'Rain Choir' performance, outdoors in the sunshine! (Photo: Will Jones)
Conducting the Keyboard Camp ‘Rain Choir’ performance, outdoors in the sunshine! (Photo: Will Jones)

Kit Marsden // Musician