Catherine Shackell

Order Your Classy Cobwebs Clothing Now

You might not know that Cobwebs does a line in classy, good quality clothing, but it does.  So now you can be stylish at the same time as supporting and advertising your favourite National Award Winning Orchestra.  You can choose from a selection of Cobwebs rugby shirts, polo shirts, hoodies, sweatchirts and t-shirts available.
Click here for an order form: clothingorderformFeb11
Please complete and return the attached order form (with a cheque payable to ‘The Cobweb Orchestra’) to Ruth Wood (address on the form) by Friday 25th February at the latest.
Arrangements will be made for you to collect your goodies from one of our local group or at one of our events.

Posted by Catherine Shackell in Cobwebs Merchandise

Handel's Water Music 26.02.2011


Saturday, 26 th February 2011

11am – 4pm

St. James Community Centre
Well Way, Morpeth, NE61 1BN
On 17 July 1717, King George I & a large gathering of the English nobility boarded open barges at Whitehall & sailed up the River Thames to take their supper at Chelsea.
On 19 th July 1717, The Daily Courante reported that one of the river barges “was employ’d for the Musick, wherein were 50 instruments of all sorts who play’d… the finest Symphonies, compos’d express for this Occasion, by Mr Hendel: which his Majesty liked so well, that he caus’d it to be plaid over 3 times in going & returning.”
On Saturday 26 th February 2011 The Award Winning Cobweb Orchestra are holding a Come & Play Day wherein Peter Wood will lead ‘instruments of all sorts’ in exploring this same Music. Friends & family are invited to listen as we play through the work at 3pm.
For full details and enrolment forms please follow this link to our website:

Posted by Catherine Shackell in Events

Dvorak "New World Symphony" 19.02.2011

Saturday, 19th February 2011
11am – 4pm

Catherine Shackell will be directing this study day playing Dvorak’s dramatic, lyrical and exhilarating Symphony No. 9 “From the New World”. Drawing inspiration from African American spirituals and Native Indian folk music, Dvorak paints a colourful and beautifully evocative picture of America towards the end of the 19th century in his attempt to crystalise American-ness in music.
Music & Parts
Parts can be downloaded in advance from the Petrucci website:,_Op.95_(Dvo%C5%99%C3%A1k,_Anton%C3%ADn)
Additional transpositions are available from
Clarinets: Bb transpositions are available but you may prefer to try and get your hands on an A clarinet for this one.
For full details and enrolment forms please follow this link to our website:

Posted by Catherine Shackell in Events, General, Group: York

Orchestra & Piano Concert 12.02.2011

Saturday, 12th February 2011
Orchestra & Piano Concert with Venera Bojkova’s Piano Pupils
Gateshead Old Town Hall

West Street, Gateshead, Tyne & Wear, NE8 1HE
Rehearsal: 2 – 6pm Concert: 7:30pm
Andy Jackson will be conducting this concert of Mozart & Haydn in this lovely venue, which it is high time we made a public appearance in. The orchestra will be accompanying Venera Bojkova’s talented young students as they tackle a selection of movements from piano concertos by Mozart and Haydn, as well as performing a couple of Mozart overtures and some excerpts from our own (full orchestra) version of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. The concert will also include Mozart’s Serenade for 8 wind instruments in C minor, which a small wind group of our players have been specially preparing for the occasion.
*Movements from Mozart Piano Concertos K 467 and K415 both in C major
Mozart Overtures from *“The Impressario” and *“The Marriage of Figaro”
Extracts from Mozart “Eine Kleine Nacht Musik” (our own version for full orchestra)
Haydn Piano Concerto in D major (1st movement)
Concert Dress Code
Black and white / long black with the Cobweb trademark snazzy waistcoat / neckwear
Music & Parts
Parts will be available on the day. If you would like to look at the music beforehand, those marked * in the programme above, can be downloaded from the Petrucci website
To save you printing up lots that you may not use, remember that none of the concerti are being played in their entirety, and that we will be using our own version of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik which will be different from any you might find on the internet.
For full details and enrolment forms please follow this link to our website:

Posted by Catherine Shackell in Events, General, Group: Sage Gateshead

American Music Day 05.02.2011

Saturday 5th February
American Music Day
Northern Rock Foundation Hall in The Sage, Gateshead

1:30 – 7pm (with a free informal presentation for family and friends at 6pm)
Join Noel Bertram for one of our Sage Events, playing some of the most exciting and uplifting music in the orchestral repertoire; from the jazz influenced “American in Paris” by Gershwin to the latin rhythms of Bernstein’s “West Side Story” and the folk melody of Copland’s “Appalachian Spring”. The day will conclude with a free informal presentation open to family and friends.
Tickets are priced at:
£26.80 (concessions available) /
£20.45 for members of The Cobweb Orchestra.
To enrol please contact The Sage Ticket Office on 0191 443 4661.

Posted by Catherine Shackell in Events

Cobwebs Cookbook

Many times has it been said (usually after gorging ourselves at one of our renowned mid-event bring and share meals) “We should write a Cobwebs Cookbook”.
Well, here it is.
A big thank you to Joan for all her hard work in bringing it to fruition.

Thanks to the generosity of everyone involved in the production of the book the whole £3 will go into The Cobweb Orchestra funds!
Contact Joan to reserve a copy & arrange collection or enquire at your local group.

Posted by Catherine Shackell in Cobwebs Merchandise

GPO Christmas Party TONIGHT!

Like all of Cobwebs events, The Guinea Pig Orchestra is open to anyone who fancies, well, being a guinea pig…
The GPO comes together when people (our composers, arrangers, conductors) need an orchestra to experiment on…

Anyway, Sarah and Philip have very kindly invited Cobwebbers, their instruments and their families to the Guinea Pig Christmas Party this evening. Invitation attached:

GPO Xmas Party Invitation 2010
Have fun!

Posted by Catherine Shackell in General

#47 A Brave New World

From Newsletter 47
My First Term As Administrator
By Catherine Shackell

It was lovely if somewhat daunting to receive so many kind and welcoming messages from you all when I started as Administrator in September. I say daunting, because the adjective ‘brave’ seemed to appear slightly too frequently for comfort…

Anyway, I appear to have survived my first term relatively unscathed although I have to confess that after getting married, moving house and starting a new job all in the space of 4 months I’m very much looking forward to a quiet Christmas!
My first term has been a whirl of events, emails, enrolment forms and an alarmingly steep technological learning curve (RSS, html, php includes, MySql mean anything to any of you?!)

A new group was born in Spennymoor. Our Composers & Arrangers have returned with renewed vigour. The Baroque Ensemble spurred on by their fabulous concert in September now meet weekly. We had our first opportunity to play Swing Band music. And we have inadvertently produced a very listenable CD of our Mozart Concert with Anthony Sargent. (I say inadvertently because we didn’t especially set out to make a CD).

We’ve also had more than our fair share of technical gremlins this term, with various email providers sporadically deciding that our mailouts are actually spam. Oh, how foolish I was to think that digging a hole in the road, pulling up the driveway and drilling through the wall to install the new Cobwebs phone-line would be the end of the little technological critters.

My apologies to those of you have been affected by the over zealous spam filters, and my thanks for your patience. We are posting copies of all our mailouts on the official Cobwebs blog and you will be also able to access events information via our website, so if you think you might have missed something you will be able to check there – but also please do let me know if our messages aren’t reaching you.

As those of you who’ve been reading our blog will know, Cobwebs has been expanding its international networks too this term. We seem to be generating increasing interest in the US. So much so that Andy was awarded a scholarship to visit America in November to see how community orchestras do things on the other side of the pond.

We’ve also been getting noticed slightly closer to home. The Cobweb Orchestra has won an EPIC Award for Innovation as well as coming runner up in the Creativity category, so we’ll be going to the House of Lords to collect our prize in January – well, maybe not all of us… How big is it? Would we even fit in, I wonder?

How many orchestras can fit all that into just a few weeks? Thank you to everyone who puts so much time and effort into helping us deliver such a fantastic array of opportunities for everyone – we wouldn’t be able to do any of it without you.

Posted by Catherine Shackell in Events, General, Newsletters, Website & Technologies

#47 The 2011 Programme

From Newsletter 47
By Andy Jackson

… well, the first few months of it, anyway.

What I really hope, (because it’s what we set out to do), is that wherever you live in the North, whatever your musical preferences are and whatever instrument you play to whatever standard, you’ll find something in here that interests you.
That’s why we have Dvorak in York, Handel in Morpeth and Sibelius in Dalston. Then there are concerts in Gateshead and Newcastle featuring Mozart and Poulenc. And, just before Easter, the Sedbergh Residential.

These weekend events give players a chance to travel throughout the region to fulfil musical aspirations and meet like-minded folk, but the bedrock of our programme is, of course, the 8 weekly local rehearsal groups, each of which has its own character depending on where it is, who turns up and who conducts it. The groups are completely autonomous, but players from them have expressed an interest in getting to know repertoire which is studied and/or performed at our weekend events, so we’re trying a couple of different ideas in the New Year.

Firstly, all groups will be have a chance at some point to play the same work: Elgar’s hugely popular “Enigma” variations, and once we’ve assessed how it’s going, we’ll think about putting it into a concert and hope that representatives from all the groups can take part in the performance with the confidence of having had the opportunity of getting to know the work over an extended period.

The second piece of programming which should make it easier for players from all the groups to come together for the same event is that each group is going to be preparing a different Beethoven symphony. Then on Monday 25th April, (yes, that’s Easter Monday 2011), we’re going to play all 9 of them in Middlesbrough Town Hall, starting at 11am and polishing off one an hour until we round off the evening with the “Choral”, unless we collapse from exhaustion first.

I hope everyone will make an effort to be in Middlesbrough for this historic occasion, and bring lots of well-wishers to join in, or to listen and socialise in the gaps between the symphonies. Even though each of the symphonies will have been prepared, there is no way that they can be rehearsed in any detail immediately prior to playing them, so the day will consist of a series of informal presentations rather than polished performances.

I suppose some purists might think of this event as a bit of a gimmick, (and we’re aware that it might bring us some publicity), but there is an element of serious musicological engagement here too: participants will have the chance to experience from the inside Beethoven’s development from talented youngster to mature genius.

No apologies for dwelling on this event: it’s a huge undertaking and we need as many players as possible to come along to help us bring it off. We’ll need to play in relay teams, I suspect, though anyone who fancies playing all nine won’t be discouraged from having a go.

Start training now.

Posted by Catherine Shackell in Events, Newsletters