I had the most amazing evening on Tuesday playing alongside some of the Westend’s top professional players at the launch of the London Musical Theatre Orchestra. My good friend Freddie Tapner has brought his vision to life and I could not be more proud of him! We started this time last year in a church in Angel, Freddie had posted on Facebook about a new musical theatre orchestra he was starting with the aim being for musicians just to come along and enjoy playing through a musical score. I took a chance on it and turned up and a year later and Freddie has launched the professional branch of the brand.
We played at Bishopsgate Institute on Tuesday evening to industry professionals, trustees, patrons and special guests in a 20 minute showcase to wow the audience and show them what we are all about. Aside from the outstanding quality of the orchestra, (which was unlike anything I have ever heard!) we also had the pleasure of hearing the chorus and some famous Westend and Broadway stars such as Hadley Fraser, Rebecca Caine and Ramin Karimloo sing with us to make the launch even more unbelievable!
I can honestly say it was one of the most enjoyable concerts I’ve ever played, I was surrounded by players with huge CV’s and incredible talent and I felt so honoured to be there alongside my friends. Long may this orchestra continue helping young professionals into the industry, creating exciting music and sustaining or even reigniting people’s love and passion for musical theatre.
To get involved in LMTO’s playthroughs click here
To follow them on twitter go to: @LMTOrch, #lmtolaunch to see photos from the event
So its been another crazy month so far, sorry for my lack of posts! Our string trio Vibellos is now on TWITTER! Please follow us on @vibellostrio to get updates/pics and videos of what we are doing. We also have a couple of promo videos from live performances coming soon so keep an eye out for those!
I’ve also been to sit in on a couple of West End productions, hopefully with the chance to dep on a show at some point in the future, an ultimate dream of mine! I watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which was AMAZING! The music is so fun and exciting and the orchestra were SO welcoming. I was nervous to go but actually everyone put me at ease right away and they play so unbelievably well! I’m going to sit in on Les Mis tonight another first for me!
So lots of exciting things to come, another week with the Liverpool Phil next week and then I’m playing Ragtime for a week at the Bishopsgate Institute in London with MD Ben Ferguson from the 14-19th June, get your tickets at the link here, its set to be a fab show with the most awesome ragtime music!
Take care everyone
Hope you’ve all had great weeks. They are finally here after many social media promises…my new promotional videos!!
I have two on offer, one love songs video which shows the sort of thing you might get as background music or at weddings. The other a more dramatic uptempo video showing the sort of material I would play in a high impact dance/party set or even as a more upbeat option at weddings! There’s a little singing surprise in there too! My internet singing debut
I’ve also started my own Youtube Channel which I will be uploading new videos to, new ideas and potentially even some original material if I get some courage!
Please check these videos out, like, comment and follow me on Youtube! Just search Corey Wickens!
Thank you to my wonderful Dad, Business Connections LIVE and Sophie Thackray for helping with this video. You’ve all dedicated so much time to me and I am extremely grateful!
Click here to view the videos on my media page!
Take care everyone
Had an exciting week this week! Started preparing and mixing tracks for my new electric violin promo. Thought it was about time that I had a shiny new set of videos recorded on lovely cameras with great sound! I’m really excited to get up to London on Saturday to record the videos and also have the pleasure of working with my old school friend Sophie who will be helping with the camera work! Watch out for these, they’ll be released soon and then hopefully I can get sharing! They will be a mixture of the uptempo pop/dance music and also love songs/more mellow pop songs.
There will also be a couple of surprises in there to make them a bit different so I look forward to sharing that with everyone!
Take care everyone
Last week I had the privilege of going back to my old school, Hurstpierpoint College, to lead their production of Cabaret. I always have a fantastic time going back into the pit to play for them, seeing the music staff and freaking out at how all the younger kids I knew while I was there are now 6ft tall, grown adults! I wanted to briefly reflect on this production.
It was certainly ambitious on the costume front, having to make this racy musical appropriate for younger audiences and of course parents, but Hurst pulled it off with style as they always do!
This cast was, in all, pretty fantastic. My personal favourites were the disinterested ‘working girls’ who did pretty much the whole show, every dance routine and song, with little more than a grimace on their face. This worked very well comedically and added to the overall atmosphere of the play in a big way.
It was a delight to see Peter Firth playing The Emcee. A flamboyant, over the top, hysterical character. He played it differently and perhaps even more enthusiastically every night and there were many laugh out loud moments including the brilliant ‘Two Ladies’ and ‘If you could see her through my eyes’ numbers.
Of course, there were many other charming performances from pupils who I’ve known a long time and who I’ve even played opposite in previous productions myself. Also some great work from pupils I don’t know at all. However, it is such a joy watching every one of them enjoy the experience. You can tell from their offstage giggling and the general high energy that, although they are under a lot of pressure with academics and exams, they are still there because they WANT to be, because they love it!
Special thanks to Nicholas Beeby (Director) and Neil Matthews (MD) for collaborating so seamlessly again for their 10th year! The massive challenge these musicals present wouldn’t be anywhere near so slick without their endless dedication, patience and wisdom. Thank you for having me back once again, I feel very lucky to be asked back and have a huge amount of gratitude to the staff at this school who inspired me and encouraged me to follow the path I wanted to take and told me not to be scared of the industry. If you work hard enough you will get results and they certainly taught me that.
Take care everyone
Hope you all had a lovely Christmas and New Year, apologies for my lack of posting, I had some time off over Christmas!
Back into the thick of it now and started the year with another fabulous day with the London Musical Theatre Orchestra. Before Christmas, we did the Sound of Music and we performed the tricky Candide last week. What a fantastic day it was! Probably the hardest musical we’ve done yet in terms of the overture! I have to say, the orchestra seems to be finding its stride now, with people coming regularly and players starting to gel and get used to one another, the orchestra is flourishing!
I’m super happy to say that we have also been announced as the orchestra in residence at the new Bishop’s Gate Institute. We had our first rehearsal there on Sunday and what a fabulous venue it is. We were all so impressed with the amount of space we had and we weren’t even in the Grand Hall as its not quite finished. That will be our normal rehearsal venue in the future and we can’t wait to get in there to expand the orchestra and chorus. Thank you so much to Freddie Tapner our wonderful MD and the Bishop’s Gate Institute for having us. For more information on the venue please visit http://www.bishopsgate.org.uk
So next is Hunchback of Notre Dame arranged specially for us by some fantastic musicians. We will get the best bits of both the film and the musical and I cannot wait!
Take care everyone
Really excited to play at a VIP restaurant opening in Manchester tonight with the Vibellos Electric String Trio. We are performing a 15 minute high impact set to celebrity guests at Quill on King Street in Manchester. Its set to be a fantastic and glamorous evening. Our set contains electric string trio classics such as Led Zepplin’s Kashmir and also some newer music from artists such as Jess Glynne and Rita Ora. My fellow string players Steph Stamopoulos and Katie Payn have done an outstanding job learning the new set and we are ready and raring to go tonight. There will be a video to follow in a few days!
For now, here is a picture of our rehearsal yesterday, we might be more dressed up than this tonight!
If you’d like to hear more of the Vibellos classical work, please click on this link
With a packed house of almost 100 guests in Chelsea’s ‘Pheasantry’, composer and actor Rob Eyles and lyricist Bob Gould put on a stunning showcase of their songs last night. On stage were myself, Hayley Pope (violinist) and Sophie Gledhill (cello), alongside Rob himself accompanying the singers. We had a whole array of different performers, most of whom are currently starring in West End shows. Among them we had stars from: Phantom of the Opera, Gypsy, Bend it like Beckham, Les Mis and Miss Saigon and they have all, of course, been part of other big shows in the past.
The atmosphere in the room was very friendly, full of people supporting all of the singers, musicians and of course the composers themselves. Their music was extremely well received and rightly so. It’s the kind of music that captivates you until the very last moment. Some of it hilariously played out, perfectly capturing the bitterness of situations such as always being the understudy or being dumped by your girlfriend on Christmas day. Other pieces far more serious in context, with songs about the loss of a father figure after coming out or realising you’ve been in an unhappy relationship for far too long. These more serious numbers had some audience members in tears, a testament to the brilliant emotional writing and flawless acting on display.
In all, it was such an honour to play alongside these professional singers and actors at the top of their games, singing on their day off for Rob and Bob because they genuinely want to display the pairs amazing collaborative talent. Thank you for having me!
There may well be a bit of video and a few photos to follow so keep a look out on my twitter!
If you want to find out more about the duo you can follow them on twitter @eylesandgould.
On Sunday, I have the exciting opportunity to work alongside some West End singers playing the music of Rob Eyles and Robert Gould in their concert ‘I Wasn’t Thinking At All.’ Rob is a young actor/singer and composer who writes mainly for musicals and Robert is the lyricist behind the brilliant songs, together they really are a formidable pair!
We are essentially performing a showcase of all their work on Sunday 11th October at the Pheasantry in Chelsea, London. Showing their popularity, the show is now sold out!!
The set up is very simple, two violins, a cello and a piano, all orchestrated by the wonderful Hywel Dowsell.
Its set to be a wonderful night of music making and I’m really looking forward to getting this music out there for everyone to appreciate!
To find out more about the composers and their work you can find them on twitter:
So as a follow on from my last post moving from Westside Story to Legally Blonde at the Empire Theatre all I can really do is rave again about the quality of the cast. This cast had 6 months to prepare and were therefore completely polished and professional. This musical is a fun filled American extravaganza and I honestly don’t know how the cast had enough energy to plough through number after number of dance and song, especially considering their length and difficulty. I want to point out the incredible talents of a few of the main cast members: Dan Greenwood played a very sweet and believable Emmett and Sarah Dickinson played the hilarious Paulette, she totally nailed this character and really had the crowd in stitches. However, someone destined for the Westend was the beautiful and talented Ellie Clayton, our very own Elle Woods. Her accent perfect, her voice very strong and her dancing well timed and energetic she is a true triple threat and this part truly was made for her! I wish these young performers the very best in the future, there are certainly bright times ahead for you all.
Again huge thanks to MD Paul Lawton for helping the band through a tricky show and rehearsing the cast so very well. Had another incredible week, I hope I get to play for this company again in the future.
Click here for a review