My first experience of the quintessential brass band experience that is The Whit Friday Brass Band Contests. Around a hundred brass bands competed this year in twenty different contests at venues scattered around the moorland villages and towns on the western edge of the Pennines. It was quite an extraordinary spectacle to see so many brass bands in the same place! The ingenuity and organisational flair to pull this off in these locations is incredible I think. Highlights included performing in a courtyard to an adjudicator behind a kitchen door, and (my favourite) the contest venue being an open field with the adjudicator listening from inside a blacked-out caravan. It was quite an amazing day. Our band was somewhat irregular, due to member availability we ended up with 6 trombones and only 1 euphonium but we had a great time.
You can find out more about the Whit Friday Contests here.
A chance to see two of my favourite performers together in one place at the same time and have a pizza aswell – amazing! Seeing musicians of this calibre is always super enjoyable and inspiring, and an opportunity to learn a little bit too. Here’s a sample of what we were treated to, You’ve Got A Friend.
It is always fun to be involved in a show and with a talented cast of young performers from the King Edward VI Schools at Aston and Handsworth it really was a treat to be playing for this production of Guys and Dolls. We may not have had Frank Sinatra but it was almost as good!
The Handsworth Community Choir was invited to participate in an inspiring event entitled Tell Me A Story which showcased a diverse mix of performances telling women’s stories through word, song and dance. The choir presented two pieces – Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell and One With You by myself, the second public performance of my choir composition.
Handsworth Community Choir’s Christmas Concert held at St Mary’s Church featured my first publicly performed choir composition, One With You. I was very proud for the choir to perform this piece, the first original work of mine to be given in public for nearly 15 years, since I was a student in fact. I will hope to share a youtube clip of the piece in future.
10th December. The City of Birmingham Brass Band presented a festive programme of brass band music to an appreciative audience at Joseph Chamberlain Sixth Form College, Highgate. A feature of this concert was the participation of disabled young people, aided to play music instruments by the One Handed Musical Instrument Trust (OHMI). OHMI is working to bring modifications to instruments to remove the barriers to music-making for physically disabled people and has formed a sponsorship arrangement with the band. Some clips made during the concert will be appearing on youtube shortly, but in the meantime here is Alison Balsom talking about the trumpet!
October saw The Nick Ross Orchestra take to the road and bring the sounds of the Glenn Miller Era to audiences in Ayr, Lanark and Blackburn. A new feature in this tour was this beautiful interpretation of the Rodgers and Hart classic song Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered. A real treat for me to play.