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  • Writer's pictureJack Hughes

Score Relief 2021 - The Grand Finale

Hello and welcome back to the Northern Film Orchestra blog. Today we have something a little special for you all. After several months of planning and build up we are thrilled to share with you the grand finale video from Score Relief 2021, in partnership with The cue tube. Whilst many of you may have tuned in the live broadcast, we wanted to take the opportunity to recap the overall journey in making the competition happen, and share with you some thoughts and insights from our side of the curtain.

The Cue Tube initially contacted us several months ago, and we were immediately intrigued by their proposal. As an organisation that is driven by our mission of breaking down the barriers into orchestral music, we are always on the lookout for new ideas and initiatives that align with this goal, and Score Relief was a perfect fit. The format and requirements of the competition was something that evolved very naturally as ideas bounced back & forth between The Cue Tube team and ourselves. After the initial brainstorming session it was clear that a few core themes and ideas about how we wanted to competition to go down had emerged. 1. The competition must be accessible as possible, meaning no entrance fee and no prerequisite entry conditions. 2. The shortlisting process must be conducted in a fair and meticulous fashion, to ensure that all entries have been adequately screened and finalists selected on pure merit. 3. We should use the competition as a platform to raise money for a cause related to the creative community, and be a positive source of inspiration for film composers in these challenging times. Our chosen charity was the Backup Coronavirus hardship fund, which provides support and assistance to technical crew members that have experienced hardship during the pandemic through no fault of their own.

When we launched the competition it was hard for us to forecast how many people would connect with the idea and be inspired to take part. We had set our fundraising goal at £5,000, which felt optimistic but achievable. All we could do now is get the word out and sit back and watch how the community responded. Within the first 24 hours we had already received over £1,500 for the fund, which was a staggering amount in such a short space of time. The idea of the competition seemed to really strike a chord with the film composer community, and we were very quickly being flooded with entries. We were truly blown away by the scale of the participation and it was incredibly humbling to see so many great entries being submitted. It just goes to show you that the Internet can be a source of immense positivity if used correctly, and it was great to see the film composer community rallying around Score Relief and donating generously to the backup hardship fund. We eventually sailed past our initial £5,000 target and made it all the way to our stretch goal of £10,000 which is a truly mind blowing number to have reached. We cant thank everyone who enough for donating to the fund. This money is going to do a lot of good for a lot of people!

Recording the winning score After a vigorous and painstaking shortlisting process we had collectively arrived a winning entry that we were all happy with. It would be Denzican Aktas, a Turkish composer and percussionist based in Boston USA who would take home the grand prize.

After Denis was made aware of his victory, we held some preliminary discussions between Denis and our conductor Melvin Tay. These discussions were very helpful for both parties as it gave us a chance to work out some of the finer details and Denis’ score and offer Denis an opportunity ask us any questions that he had about the recording process.

The recording took place on 27thFebruary at our home venue The Stoller Hall in Manchester UK, with Denis joining us via a remote link. We recorded the score over a 1-hour session and compiled many different takes, which would then be edited together to create the final recording. The main challenge for us during this process was getting the music and video to sync correctly. This was achieved through the use of a click track for the musicians and conductor, and was aided by timecode markings in the score and on the video in the conductor’s visual monitor.

The musicians did a wonderful job of faithfully translating Denis’ score whilst embellishing it with their own expressions and idiosyncrasies. We are all really proud of the performance we were able to achieve and it was an honour for us to play a direct role in what was surely a very special moment for Denis indeed. You can view the final performance video below:

I think we can all agree that Denis has crafted a unique and memorable score that effortlessly moves the story along, and hits all the right notes! Full list of finalists 1st- Denzican Aktas

2nd - Ghostwriter

3rd – Kurt Tomlinson

4th – Oscar Loaiza Salazar

5th – Kennoniah Dean Bellie

That wraps things up for this blog post, we hope you have enjoyed reading and have found this to be interesting. Once again thanks for everyone who has taken part in this competition and for donation to the hardship fund. You have done a truly great thing!

Our next shared sessions are taking place in April so if you are interested in booking a slot then please contact via the email listed below.


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