|Newark Woodwind Course, Part of Lincoln College.|
Making and Repairing Course
I got involved with the scrapheap orchestra very early on in its inception. It all began with a telephone call back in June of 2010..... The call was from Alice at Love productions, she told me that they had a crazy idea for a TV program and wanted to check out with me if I thought it was possible and how things might work. I ended up producing a document on how feasible making woodwind and brass instruments from scrap would be.... it was a lengthy document but the overall feel of it was one of optimism. I did predict problems with mouthpieces on all instruments and with valves on brass instruments. At this time I was also able to produce a couple of “mock ups” as to how some of these instruments might look...... these were not playable instruments, just collections of junk that looked vaguely like an instrument. There was a trombone made from two telescopic cloths props and a traffic cone and a flute fashioned from some bicycle handlebars........
There were some meetings with various BBC people at which point I suggested that Alice contact Rob Cain at the violin school, she needed some advice with the strings....... The show was commissioned in the new year 2011 and when they wanted people to actually make the instruments I couldn’t really refuse..... after all I was the one told them it was all possible.
There were 11 of us makers in all:
Myself (Andy Wheeldon) Clarinets, Flutes & Piccolo Clarinets
Daniel Bangham Oboes & Bassoons
Andrew Taylor Trumpets & Tuba Flutes
Mick Rath Trombones
Luke & Heidi Woodhead French Horns Piccolo
Rob Cain Violins & Violas
Benjamin Hebbert Cellos & Basses Images
Peter Oxley Bows
Andrew Bellis Bows Links
Paul Jefferies Percussion
We were all got together at a recycling centre just outside Market Deeping and told we had 11 weeks to make all the instruments to be played by the BBC concert orchestra at the Albert Hall as part of the Proms season.
I had been optimistic up to then, firmly believing it possible..... We can put a man on the moon so...... 11 weeks really isn’t very long, not when you have a day job to do as well, this was in May and June when all the third year students at college were trying to finish their own clarinets and panicking about the end of their course. I had to balance their priorities with this project really quite finely. It would have been a tall order to expect me to make one clarinet from conventional materials using familiar techniques and tooling in that time but they wanted two! And two flutes and a piccolo to boot!!