Cobweb News 22: 07.09.2014

Dear all,
I hope you’ve had a lovely Summer and are looking forward to start of term!
All groups term dates and information have been updated on the website so please do check there if you have any queries.
Firstly, I am sorry to give you the following message from Andy:
“Martin Wilkinson – no more viola jokes
Some of you will know by now that our much loved and admired friend Martin died at St. Bede’s Hospice, Gateshead on Thursday 4th September.
He was in good spirits and joking with the nurses up until a few days before he died.
Martin will be a massive loss to nearly all parts of Cobwebs as he was a regular at many of the weekly groups, played in nearly all our concerts as well as being a member of the Cabaret Ensemble and the Chamber Orchestra.
Martin had been seriously ill for many years and always knew that he had limited life expectancy, although many people would have been unaware of this as he always made light of his troubles.
Over the last few years, the orchestra has helped him achieve several of the items on his “to do” list such as playing the viola solo in Berlioz’s “Harold in Italy” and visiting dozens of minor league continental football grounds on his way to play with us in Tuscany in 2011, and historical battlefields on the way back.
I know he would forgive the irreverent heading to this tribute. In fact, it was him who suggested it; a few months ago, when discussing his condition, he said “Well, at least when I’m gone, you won’t have to put up with my terrible jokes.”
I’m sure I’m not the only one who would have happily put up with them for longer. I know he’ll be fondly remembered by everybody.”

– David Wood has also said the following words about Martin:
Martin Wilkinson, 1961 – 2014. My Cobwebs perspective.
When I wandered into my first “Cobwebs” session at Annfield Plain, some 15 years ago, clutching a violin which I had forgotten how to play, I found myself sitting behind a jovial bloke wearing a Sunderland AFC football shirt. He was the leader on the day, and this was Martin. Since then we became friends, shared quite a few beers and listened to each others jokes. Mine were usually better than his, but he had many more than me! Not only that but when I decided that the viola was going to be my instrument Martin was always ready with advice, both on how to play the thing and on which “bits” to buy. His musical sphere was such that there was little in the repertoire which he hadn’t played and by his presence he probably saved many a Cobweb Orchestra event from disaster.
We all knew that he had been ill for a long time but he never described his “cancer” in terms which made it any more than a bit of an inconvenience.
It was only in the last few months that it looked like the road was coming to an end. We will miss him.

– Secondly, I need to reiterate the Cobwebs AGM event. We are holding the AGM on Saturday 27th September at 1pm at the Eldon Community Centre and sandwiching it with a wonderful bit of Dvorak New World Symphony. The event is free, and you can attend as much or as little as you like but we’d love to see as many as possible at the AGM. Please do let me know if you haven’t already if you intend to come or sending your apologies. We will also be holding a raffle at this event so please do bring along your raffle prizes either on the day or to Joan Murray at the Consett group.
– Thirdly, Joan has sent the Cobweb Newsletter for you all to read, it is available to download from the website, so please do take a look! As part of the newsletter, she also is asking for suggestions for a ‘strapline’ for Cobweb Orchestra. ‘Should the Cobweb Orchestra have a strapline?’ There is more information in the news letter – your chance to give your suggestions as to what this should be! It will be discussed at the AGM so please do email them in to Andrew Forsyth; email
– Lastly, Elizabeth Simms has organised the following event:
I have arranged an afternoon for double reed players with Stephen Reay, leading us on the 28th September from 2 – 5:30 pm at the small room, Dipton Community Centre. Stephen is well known to many of us as a big supporter of cobwebs and the principal bassoonist at the Royal Northern Sinfonia. Also I think he teaches one or two cobweb members.
The idea is to work at a couple of pieces as an ensemble group so I have asked Stephen to help us by paying particular attention to shaping, phrasing and dynamics and with this in mind I might have to limit the number of players to 2 per part to achieve a good balance on a first come basis. The final choice of music has not yet been made but I think it will include Mozart; all the music has parts for oboes, cors and bassoons. When the final choice has been made I am very happy to email parts out to anyone who asks for a part in advance.
The cost will be dependant on how many players attend but I hope to keep it below £30 each. Payment will be to me on the day.
If you would like to come, please email me directly ( and I will contact you again before the event.
– That’s all from me this week, next week Cobweb News will be jam-packed with enrolment forms and information for events in the winter term so please do have a look on the website to see what you are interested in!
Best wishes,