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Trinity Guildhall Exam Results

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Well! After all that hard work and practice, and an exhausting day last Monday at Exeter School, I'm pleased to announce that all my students passed their brass grade exams, some with merit. Well done to all of you, and thank you to the schools and parents for being so supportive - they couldn't do this without your continued support.

I'm very proud of you all - well done!

Now, stop smiling, get your trumpet out, and let's start with some long notes........!!

'For King and Country' - at The National Trust

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national-trust-logoOver the two days Thursday 11th June and Friday 12th June 2014, Dance is With Music were delighted to have been invited by The National Trust to take part in a 1st World War commemorative event called 'For King and Country' at Killerton House.

Having arranged a simple version of  'It's a Long Way to Tipperary' for wind players young and, shall we say mature, Colin was delighted to go to both Clyst Vale Community College and Broadclyst Primary School to rehearse the piece with children who were taking part in the event, and to rehearse the whole event at Killerton House with the 250 young people taking part. Colin also performed The Last Post in a poignant and moving finale.

Blessed with suitably summer weather, the event was a resounding success, and provided a 'snapshot in time' for events that occured 100 years ago that still influence our lives today. Very educational for the children, and a massive 'well done' to Eileen Dillon (Learning Officer from The National Trust) who wrote and co-ordinated the whole event - and managed to stay sane!

The march from Killerton House to Killerton Chapel whilst playing was a challenge to say the least. but nothing like the challenge our brave men faced in 1914, and the event concluded with the planting of a field of ceramic poppies the children had made, which will become a feature at Killerton during August 2014.


Lest We Forget!


Photographs by Steven Haywood, and reproduced by kind permission of The National Trust.



Summer 2014

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As the 2014 Summer Season approaches, I'm pleased to say that I've been busier than ever (how did I ever fit in being a policeman for 28 years??) - with new arrangements and compositions being published, lots of new students - many taking their Trinity Grade exams next month - and a workshop full of instruments to sort through! It all makes time fly by, and the bank balance look a little healthier!

I've been doing more new piano arrangements for Dan Callow at One Life Music, and have a whole concert of tunes to arrange for Crediton Operatic and Drama Society too, not to mention various concert perfomances, and work with Babcock LDP Music Service, the Devon Youth Wind Orchestra and the Devon County Youth Brass Band! There's also the exciting prosect of hearing professional recordings of my work by The Leyland Band after a session for MF Publications last weekend.

I deliberately haven't made this common knowledge until now, but this seems like a good opportunity to formally announce it: I've officially joined the ranks of Sidmouth Town Band on BBb Bass after a probationary period (!), and look forward to a long association with them, hopefully including performances of my own work.



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A bit of sad news for you all I'm afraid. For personal reasons I have decided that the time has come for me to leave the Lympstone South West Telecoms Band. My association with the band dates back to the summer of 1972 when I first joined the band as a spotty youth when it was still based in the Methodist Church at Topsham. The Musical Director at that time was the legendary Les Jennings, and I went to my first SWBBA Contest at the Festival Theatre in Paignton with the band playing 2nd horn! How things have changed. The then Principal Cornet David Adams is still amongst my best friends now. We've subsequently played together in the Band of the Devon & Cornwall Constabulary, and he was my Principal Cornet during my time as conductor of the City of Exeter Railway Band. The Musical Director of the Lympstone Band now - Charlie Fleming and I too have been in bands together - notably HMS Heron Volunteer Band (RNAS Yeovilton) and Devonport Naval Base Volunteer Band whilst he was a Colour Sergeant in the Band of Her Majesty's Royal Marines.

As I leave the band, it is arguably the best in Devon, sits firmly in the 1st Section, and has a thriving Training Band. I'm very pleased to have been associated with the band over such a long period of time, despite there being some lengthy gaps in that time due to my police service amongst other things. Countless concerts, hundreds of contests, many wins - including a National Final, and some not so good results too. I've played from soprano cornet to BBb bass - not for the first time in a band either!

I would like to publicly raise a glass to the band and wish it every success in future years. Those who need to know are aware of the reasons for my decision, and I have no intention of airing them here. I will most certainly NOT be giving up playing, and have several workshops to go to this year on both drums and bass, but have no plans to shift my allegiance to another band at this time.


Christmas Music!

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Hoorah! At last, I hear you say! Yes, After many problems and setbacks, I have finally found time to replace the Christmas arrangement of 'For Unto A Son Is Born' from Handel's 'Messiah' that I lost when my computer died last year. It's probably (definitely) different from the original one, but it's still scored for a brass quartet of solo cornet, solo horn, euphonium and BBb bass together with tutti brass band, and is in slightly comedic style complete with choreography! It's not easy though, and needs to be taken at the right tempo, unless your soloists are o virtuoso standard. I've also produced a warm and snuggly version of 'Ding Dong Merrily on High' that's inspired by and based on the 2010 Nigel Hess version for piano and strings from his 2010 album 'Silent Nights'. It has lovely, different harmonies, and a warm texture quite unlike the normal carol - you'll love it!

I'm also working on a 'Cavalcade of Cornish Carols' based on some old manunscripts I've acquired. Really looking forward to this one, but you might just have to wait until 2014 to hear it!

Then there's 'Wendy's Carol'. What can I tell you about this apart from it brought a tear to my eye? Having been approached by Len Jones (aged 87) who had lost first his wife, and then his daughter to cancer, he sang me this entire carol he'd 'written', which is a brief and succinct telling of the Christmas Story, and I wrote down the melody and created the harmonic structure from that. The setting is for SATB and piano.

Len is currently in hospital having treatment for cancer himself, and it is intended to have this carol (dedicated to his daughter's memory) performed at Christmas in 2013, and then recorded to raise funds for Cancer Relief UK.


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