Cobweb News

In this weeks Cobweb News:
Cobweb Orchestra Musical Book Club
Memories of Lee Fairlie
Cobweb Orchestra AGM

Cobweb Orchestra Musical Book Club
Thursday 15th October, 6pm
£4 Members, £5 Non-Members


This book club sees us continuing to explore Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No.5  – this time we’re looking at the fourth movement. We’ll continue to play along to a recording, so don’t forget your headphones!

The link below will take you to where you need to download your part / score, but do get in touch if you need a hand. 

We will meet on Zoom, which works on all computers, tablets and smart phones. You don’t need to have any special programmes or apps on your device to make it work, you just follow a link which will be sent to you from Lorna the day before the meeting.

We will continue to  be inviting players to stay on the Zoom call longer to join a ‘breakout room’ to allow a chance for members to catch up with one another. Please let me know in advance if there’s particular people you’d like to catch up with and I’ll match you together! Andy is likely to use this feature throughout the session to link up similar instruments or passages of music.

Memories of Lee Fairlie

Some of you will know by now that Lee Fairlie died last weekend.

In recent years, she (and her husband David) most often joined us for our Spring Residential Weekend at Sedbergh on the flute, which was the instrument she played when she first joined Cobwebs 24 years ago. But most people will remember her as a member of the horn section. She started playing that instrument when she was already into her 60s because we had plenty of flautists, but not many horns. That was about the same time that David took up the cello, and they were regular participants at almost every Cobweb event through the 1990s and early 2000s.

Lee was such an important member of the orchestra as a player and as a mentor to others, but it was when Cobwebs needed to change from a being and outreach project associated with Northern Sinfonia that she used her wonderful combination of quiet determination, charm and diplomacy to guide us through delicate negotiations with Sage Gateshead which resulted in us becoming an independent organisation and charity which was also, remarkably, solvent.

As Ruth Tanner (cello and Trustees’ Secretary) says: “She knew exactly the right level of formality or, more usually informality, with which to organise events and how to make people feel comfortable in what might otherwise have been challenging situations.”

Lee declined becoming a trustee of the new organisation, but in the early days was always in the background, taking an interest and giving sound advice when asked.

When Lee and David moved to Gatley to be nearer their family, we no longer saw them on a regular basis, but it was always a delight when they did join us. Although they had gone to Gatley to retire, that’s not quite what happened as the management company of the flats they had moved into were not doing a particularly good job. So Lee organised a tenant’s committee to take over the running of the retirement home.

She also set up a singing group, a small orchestra and a ukulele group.

In January this year, Lee suffered a mini stroke which left her speech, reading and memory somewhat impaired. However, she was still able to sing and play music. Just last week, she told me she had bought a book called ‘Ukulele Aerobics’, mainly for the title, but also because the lessons in it were so well organised. She and David continued to play flute and cello duets and the orchestra was sufficiently small to be permitted to meet under the “Rule of Six” to play Gershwin and “West Side Story”.

Last Saturday, Lee and David had been to a concert in Manchester which they had greatly enjoyed and during the night, she had another stroke. She died peacefully a few hours later in hospital with David beside her.

I know that many of you will have happy memories of Lee and I would like to share just one more: the knitting. She didn’t actually do it when counting empty bars in the horn section, but never went anywhere without it, and wherever we were she would sniff out a wool shop, often disappearing and turning up ever so slightly late for a rehearsal because she’d been acquiring yet more yarn.

Those of you who had not had the privilege and pleasure of meeting Lee would not know from these few words that she was American and though she had lived in England for almost all her adult life, had never modified her accent. She was not able to understand why English people were comfortable saying the word “dog” with a short o. She said that it was too small a word for something so full of life as a “dawg”.

Andy Jackson


Cobweb Orchestra AGM
The Annual General Meeting of the Cobweb Orchestra will take place this year on Thursday October 22nd at 8pm on Zoom.

The meeting will cover the receipt of the last year’s minutes, reports from the Chair, the Creative Director (Andy) and the Treasurer,
including a discussion of the way forward in these challenging times.

Any motions for discussion at the meeting should be forwarded to me ( by no later than 14th October.

Please note that this year there are vacancies for up to four new Trustees. If anyone is interested, please inform Ruth Tanner (as above) who will be pleased to chat about what the role entails.

There will also be a report from Cobfriends.

We need a quorum of 30 for the meeting to be valid so although we are not currently able to join together to make music in the usual way, please offer your support and help us to shape the future of Cobwebs by signing up with Lorna as usual. (The meeting is free to attend).

To register your attendance at the AGM please complete the form here
You will be sent a Zoom link to the meeting a few days before the event.

Lorna Wright
Event Coordinator, Cobweb Orchestra

Posted by Tracy Reed