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soar pic

In 2008 I entered the original shorter version of my modern composition Soar! in Her Majesty's Royal Marines Band Service's composing competition of the same name. Written for full symphonic wind band plus optional rock band of bass and lead guitar, and keyboards, and potentially a Corps of Drums, the piece had to be set to and complement an eight minute long film clip depicting 100 years of Naval aviation history. From an entry of some fifteen major works, Soar! was placed a magnificent 2nd to Michael 'Mac' McDermott's work 'Daedalus' the eventual winner. No mean feat as Mac is someone I admire greatly, and whom I had the pleasure of meeting at HMS Nelson in Portsmouth whilst on my Royal Navy Drum Major's course. The Staff Arranger for the band service until his retirement, Mac has written and arranged some very powerful works, including the signature tune of Exmouth Town Concert Band 'Woodbury Castle', which he wrote in memory of my good friend and mentor Keith Whittall, their former Musical Director, Royal Marine bandsman, and long serving Director of Music of the Band of the Devon & Cornwall Constabulary, who passed away on November 18th 2008.

rm bandI was eternally grateful for the assistance of Capt. Craig  Burns of CTCRM Band Lympstone who helped me considerably with the work in allowing me to spend an entire glorious morning conducting the work with his band before submitting it after listening intently to their professional criqitue and suggestions. I was also immensely grateful to my friend Steve Grant of the Devon Youth Wind Orchestra for allowing me to conduct the band playing the work at a Music for Youth day in Exmouth in 2010.

Richly deserving of a major outdoor performance of massed  bands, rock band and Corps of Drums together with light show and fireworks, Soar! is yet to receive a major public performance or be published outside of this site. This work is perhaps my personal favourite, and I have since re-worked and extended it, scored it for brass band, and have renamed the movements which now depict some of my favourite historic aircraft, including the Supermarine Spitfire, McDonnell Douglas Phantom, and the very modern Eurofighter Typhoon. I am now in the process of completely revamping the work whilst trying not to lose it's original character and intensity, and want to make it nearer 15 minutes long.

Supermarine Spitfire Mk1eurofighter typhoon

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St Michael Ley Line

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As you probably will have guessed from the titles of some of my works, I'm very interested in all things of legend, myth and mystery, including King Arthur (hence my Avalon Rhapsody), the Egyptian Pyramids, and Macchu Piccu in Peru.This interest goes a long way back, and has been a subject I've collected books and photographs about for many years, the scope of which has diversified greatly over time.

A specific interest of mine has been the maze of 'ley lines' that cover the surface of the planet, and particularly those across Great Britain. These lines of earthly power were clearly revered by our ancestors, and belief in the earthly energy (the Earth Spirit) they represent had gone into decline with the advances of modern science and technology. It is, however, having a bit of a resurgance, and not without the help of the very science that perhaps discredited it in days gone by, and those believers are apparently not seen as quite as eccentric as they might have previously appeared!

What does this have to do with Dance is With Music? Well it's my suite The St Michael Ley Line (previously called Celebration South West) of course! It seemed a fitting subject to encompass the counties of the South West peninsula in a work about the Diamond Anniversary of the SWBBA in 2006, and I have now had the opportunity to visit all three of the places I wrote about in the work.


The final movement is about Carn Les Boel which is located at the tip of Cornwall just below Land's End. It is the furthest eastern point of the St Michael line, and it is a huge slab of granite jutting out into the sea, appearing to be protected by a large boulder as you approach the cliff edge. Parking by the Minack Theatre, Catherine and I took a long summer walk there in 2011 via a rather circuitous route, but it was wonderful if not a bit of a trek! This movement has an appropriately Celtic feel to it, and I was privileged to hear bandsmen whistling this tune after the Anniversary Contest in Torquay in November 2006 - always a good sign that the piece went down well!

church of the holy cross crediton

The second movement is called Lament -The Church of the Holy Cross - the parish church of Crediton in Devon. This church has a history dating back 1100 years, and was the original seat of the Bishopric of Devon and Cornwall before this was moved to Exeter in 1050 by Bishop Leofric. Commonly dedicated to Crediton's most famous son St Boniface, the church is on the St Michael Ley Line and part of the original church was dedicated to St Michael.  I have had opportunities to play in this beautiful church with the Band of the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary, Crediton Town Band, and with Lympstone South West Telecoms Band. The movement from the suite uses the melody of the ancient hymn tune St Michael, but taken out of it's originial rhythm and turned into a type of chant.



The first movement March - Burrow Mump is dedicated to an earthen tor not far from Glastonbury (which is visible from the top) in Somerset atop which sits the ruin of a church again dedicated to St Michael for those brave enough to climb its steep slopes. The movement is in the form of a march, and was originally intended to be entitled 'The Great Western' in honour of the City of Exeter Railway Band for whom it was written. My good friend David Adams of the Railway Band, and formerly Principle Cornet of the Lympstone Band back in the 1970's and early 80's gave me a mug featuring a photo he took on a trip to Burrow Mump. This mug holds pride of place in my kitchen! Catherine and I also took a trip to Burrow Mump and Glastonbury in the summer of 2011 and climbed both tors in very windy conditions!

Rose Cottage

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rose cottage2
Without giving too many address details away, here's a picture of Rose Cottage that Catherine and I have moved into this week. It's picturesque, idyllic, hopefully inspirational for me, at least when it comes to composing, and very peaceful too.  We can hear birdsong in the mornings, and can see the stars at  night without the orange glow of light pollution there is to the west of us in Exeter. I've even seen a Kingfisher on a tree stump about ten yards away upstream in the brook that flows under our bridge which goes across to our little orchard. Apart from having to wait in all day yesterday for our sofa delivery which eventually arrived at gone 7.30pm, the move has been fairly stress-free (as moves go) and we're both looking forward to getting the repair & maintenance business going over the next two school terms, together with  our recording facility.

Lympstone Youth & Training Band

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Following the successful and graciously brief Annual General Meeting of the Lympstone South West Telecoms Band last Monday, I have been appointed as the new Musical Director of the Lympstone Youth & Training Band. band_logo_lympstone_swt1The band, previously conducted by Tim Gittins and Roger Riggs before him, with grateful assistance from senior players, has been 'on hold' for a while,  but has now been revived and will be held either on Thursday evenings prior to Senior Band, or on Saturday mornings at The Band Centre, Chapel Road, Lympstone (The Old Methodist Church).

So, if you are one, or know any budding brass players young or old - get in touch with me and I'll fill you in on the details.

Recording and Repair

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Only a month or so to go until I'm away on my Instrument Repair Course in Wales, and I'm really looking forward to it.  I've had several private maintenance jobs recently, both brass and woodwind - and I didn't know 2nd valve slides could be so muddy and grubby inside! I'm sure something was growing in there, and I am amazed that a certain instrument could still be played at all, well, in tune at least! If I ever get a chance to pick it up, I have what's described as a 'B Flat Marching Flute' (a what? See below) that needs a new spring to fix. Come back Griff - we need you!

b flat flute


And there's more! After discussion with Charlie Fleming after band practice on Monday, the negotiations about the recording business have moved on, and we will be getting together as soon as possible to iron out the snags, and so that I can be brought up to speed on how the equipment works.



I'm really excited about this, and as soon as I'm really confident about it, I'll advertise what is on offer. Keep looking back for more news.


Teaching drums

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After months of the school pleading with me to take it on, I'm now teaching drums at North Tawton Community Primary School on Tuesdays. It started out as being one or two students who were quite keen, but it's proving really popular and now I have eight enthusiastic students across the day with yet more interested in starting out. The school is fortunate enough to have been donated its own 5-piece Mapex drum kit for use in the school, and following my presentation at the start of term, demand for lessons has really taken off!



I've also let the school borrow three of my stock of hire trumpets and am  offering them brass tuition should there be anyone interested. Teaching drums one to one is proving to be very rewarding, and somewhat less stressful than the Wider Opportunities whole class brass sessions I had been doing! That's not to say that I wouldn't consider doing it again, but only if it was less than three schools and five sessions in one day.....!!

Website music listings

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As you can see, I'm in the process of revamping and updating this website, and the next major job is to update all of the music listings in the Music Directory so that there is a Sibelius Scorch sample of each of my scores and an MP3 file of each work to go with it. You will need to download the free Sibelius Scorch software from the above link (even if you already have Sibelius installed). Many of the pieces listed are already up to date, but there are lots that are not, and this may take me while, so bear with me.

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The works that are already published by an external publisher, ie: Mf Publications, Sarnia Music, One Life Music, and MMI Music can be purchased directly from each publisher using the links provided, and those that are published here at Dance is with Music will soon be available from my online shop through this site - either as downloadable PDF files, or as a printed score and set of parts ordered through the site (or both). I will also obtain a supply of the externally published works so that they are also available directly through this site should this prove to be a popular option.

I just have to obtain the necessary licences or permissions from the copyright holders on some of the works to publish them here. It's all very exciting, but a steep learning curve!

Brassed Off!

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Here's some news for you! Lympstone South West Telecoms Band have been asked by Estuary Players (Topsham) to be 'Grimley Colliery Band' in a production of Brassed Off! taking place in Matthews Hall, Topsham, from 27th March to 31st March 2012! In the film, Harry is a euphonium player, and Jim and Ernie are the grumpy old bass players, but there is no 'Ernie' part in the play, hence the line 'It's a bloody Eb bass' - which does doesn't quite scan as well as 'It's a bloody euphonium'! Should be great fun, though - get and see it! Colin has taken on board sorting out all the music for the play, including a slightly easier version of 'William Tell'....!
brassed off 2brassed offbrassed off

Hot off the press - January 2012

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Having sat here all afternoon loving being able to update my website by myself (well almost), I thought it best to start the blog off properly! As you can see, I have a lovely new business card and with the arrival of 2012, I'm really excited about the card

I'm still working part time for Devon LDP Music Service fixing and shifting musical instruments across the board from brass through strings to percussion (I try not to stray anywhere too near woodwind), and find time to compose and arrangeat home fairly often. I have a lot of things in the pipeline, including some new arrangements for brass band - I hope that my latest work 'Phaeton Fantasy' will be published soon -and I am currently very excited about transcribing some interesting new things for Richard Stanbrook in the form of orchestral, brass and wind band works that I hope you'll all get to hear.

I have been very fortunate to have had a whole book of my piano and vocal arrangements published in the form of a book of inspirational songs for young people in collaboration with Dan Callow and David Anderson of One Life Music who wrote them all, and I hope their work is well supported by schools.


I'm loving being back where I belong playing BBb Bass with my good friends at the Lympstone South West Telecoms Band, and I'm really looking forward to tackling Goff Richards' Cross Patonce with them at the Areas in Torquay in March, and wish the band every success as they try and head back to the 1st Section once more.

A new develpment hot off the press today - I've been to see Gillian McKenzie and Carol  Box at North Tawton Primary School and demonstrated drums, trumpet, euphonium and trombone to a very excited hall of children aged between 5 and 10 years. They were all in good voice, and I will hopefully be undertaking some one on one tuition at the school with the next couple of weeks. Sorry if  the children were all over-excited for the rest of the day, but that's just my influence!

If everything works out as I anticipate, following discussions with my good friend Charlie Fleming I hope to also be trying my hand at a mobile digital recording service, but I have to get my head around the software first and find van to transport it all in.

I've also been fortunate to have been allocated a place on an Brass Instrument Repair Foundation Course at the Malden School of Instrument Repairers at the beginning of April, so I will definitely be able to call myself an 'instrument repairer' after that, and intend to join NAMIR (National Assoication of Musical  Instrument Repairers) afterwards.

That's all for now - keep checking back - I welcome all comments to improve my service!

Colin G Dance

First Post of the site!

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pics_conductor11Welcome to the new look 'Dance is With Music' website. The site has now been reorganised to incorporate more interactive and community based features, as well as a fresh new look and online shop integration. Soon you will be able to purchase and download music stright from the site, as well as leave comments and feedback on your own experiences of Colin's music.

Pleae leave your thoughts about the development of the site, as part of the comments string.

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Exmouth Musical Theatre Company

A quick thank you to Colin - behind the scenes of our production of Jesus Christ Superstar recently, Colin edited, re-wrote or created some terrific rehearsal backing tracks to ease the path to the show's success. Nothing was too much trouble, and the end product (I know how awkward it was to achieve) was very professional - even though we kept asking for more! He wasn't bad in the pit orchestra on the drums either! Thanks Colin.

Sounds of The Sixties

Colin's arrangements of our medleys for full orchestra from piano score were excellent, original and creatively scored, and stood up to theatre use to enhance dramatically the quality of our production - many thanks Colin!

Exmouth Musical Theatre Company

Jesus Christ Superstar

A quick thank you for Colin. Behind the scenes of our recent production of Jesus Christ Superstar, Colin produced, edited, arranged, wrote or re-wrote rehearsal backing tracks to assist our production team towards the eventual success of the show. Nothing was too much trouble, despite our requests for tempo amendments! Thanks Colin - and you weren't bad on the drums in the pit orchestra either!


A massive thanks Colin - you worked like a demon to produce the score and parts for our pantomine Pinocchio in Ilminster from scant, hand-written scraps of paper. The end product was extremely professional at a very reasonable cost - even though the trumpet player complained about the triplets! Many, many thanks.

Midnight in Moscow

Hi Colin, Thought you'd like to know, Midnight in Moscow for trombone trio has had two public airings by our band so far, and both went down very well; first in a concert, then in an entertainment contest (which we won!). Great arrangement - liked by all. Thank you! Best wishes Colin Coates

Wired @ Exmouth 2011

Hi guys - saw Wired at The First and Last in Exmouth a year or so back, and apart from loving the yellow drum kit, I thought Colin's drumming was fantastic!  He put so much into it - rather like Keith Moon of The Who fame, and lifted the whole performance as a result - very tight and very professional. I love drummers that go that extra mile - nice one Colin - and a great site too!

One Life Music (Dan Callow)

Colin Dance has worked sensitively and professionally with us over the last few years arranging scores for our recent assembly book and for one off commissions, always considering the mood or relevance of a piece and succeeding in our endeavour to keep each piece unique. He has arranged songs for piano as well as writing further parts for voice or for a particular instrument or ensemble. I would be more than happy to recommend 'Dance is With Music' services. Dan Callow

City of Exeter Railway Band

What a breath of fresh air! I witnessed Colin conducting the City of Exeter Railway Band in the Manor Gardens at Exmouth  last summer, and not only was I impressed by his ability as a musician and conductor, but also by the way he communicated with his players. He clearly put them at ease and brought the best out in them.  A lovely concert with good humour and humility - and, I might add, some seriosuly good arrangements and compositions by Colin too.

Midnight in Moscow - the sequel

Hi Colin, Thought you'd like to know we've enjoyed many successful airings of Midnight in Moscow throughout the year, including several concerts, park engagements and an entertainment contest (which we won!). Most recent was a golf club Xmas party last night - went down a storm! Thanks for an excellent piece - appreciated by all. Merry Xmas and Happy New Year from CWA Brass

Hawkes 'Clippertone' trumpet

Can I just once again say what a fantastic job you did with my ancient (Hawkes & Co 'Clippertone)' trumpet - it's very impressive indeed, and my grandson is absolutely delighted with his Christmas present. He didn't stop playing it the whole time he was here (!) and has now taken the trumpet back to America with him and will be having lessons on his return to school. I can't thank you enough. The difference in the condition in which you received the instrument to how it was when I received it back is amazing. Thank you so much -...

Harry Rossiter

Colin is a very versatile musician, composer, music arranger and musical director. As a sideline he is engaged in repair and care of brass bånd instruments and other musical artifacts. His musical direction of brass bands is second to none in my long experience of brass bands. I wish him well.

Trumpet servicing

Many thanks for the swift and professional repair and service on my trumpet (Bach Strad). I have had the instrument for a little over 5 years now and and bought it from my brother-in-law who I know looked after it very well so I was starting to feel a little guilty about neglecting it. It always seemed like too much of a chore given the apparent lack of people in Exeter who can service and repair brass instruments. The stuck tuning slide was the final straw and I was very relieved to find your website. It was all so easy...

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